Sunday, March 30, 2008

An introduction from me

Hello -- I'm Mel, a newly-joined author of posts to The Complete Booker blog.

I joined after I accidentally came across the blog on the Internet. I'm retired, my wife and I are "snowbirds" who spend seven months a year in SE Florida (the remaining five in NE Ohio), and among my "retirement skills," in addition to tennis, travel and bridge, is reading, something I've loved doing ever since I first learned how to read as a young child.

About 4-5 years ago, I discovered the books that were awarded the Booker prize (plus those that were nominated for the long- and short-lists every year), and for my fiction reading (which comprises about two-thirds of my reading), I normally turn to the "Booker" books. Overall, I find them to be intelligent, creative and highly entertaining. (Other, non-Booker books -- by, say, American authors, I obtain and then read after I've perused The New York Times annual best books list, and from the latter list I've recently read Richard Ford's "The Lay of the Land" and Denis Johnson's "Tree of Smoke.")

My non-fiction tends to revolve around history and politics, and I've just finished Thomas Ricks' "Fiasco," one of several critiques of the American presence in Iraq that I've read during the past several years.

Booker Award winners that I've read include: "Possession: A Romance," "Life of Pi," "Disgrace," "The Blind Assassin," "The Line of Beauty," "The Ghost Road," "Amsterdam," "How late it was, how late," and "The Inheritance of Loss." (That would make me a 9-Booker-Award-winner reader, with, as of this writing, 32 still to go!)

However, one of the many great things about reading books that are in contention for the Booker is that all -- well, perhaps most -- of them are also great reads, and, in my opinion, were also quite worthy of receiving the award. Case in point: the 2004 Award went to "The Line of Beauty," a great read, but had either "Cloud Atlas," "The Master" or "The Electric Michelangelo" been given the Award, Booker followers would have been well served just as well.

A similar situation was true last year; although I've yet to read "The Gathering," which took first-place, "Mister Pip" (I felt) was outstanding.

So -- winners or not, here's to great reading and more wonderful novels worthy of the Booker Award designation.



  1. Mel, it's great to have you with us! I look forward to reading your thoughts as you work your way through the list. I will be posting a review myself shortly and have two more Bookers on my reading list for April!

  2. Of all the prize winners that I follow, I usually find the Bookers to be my favorite for reading enjoyment. I haven't undertaken to read the finalists yet, but with all the good stuff I read about them -- like in posts like yours -- I may have to add them to my every-growing list.

    Oh, and I also loved The Lay of the Land. Richard Ford is one of my favorites. I really liked the first two books in that series as well.

  3. Thanks to both of you for your comments.

    Glad to be part of a group that values the Booker Award winners (plus the short-list finalists -- don't overlook them.)

    Currently, I'm about 90 pages into "The Bone People." (I read your review of it, Laura.) I selected that after I had read -- somewhere, probably in a Web site sponsored by or pertaining to the Booker Award -- that they were considering a "Best of the Booker Awards Award." A number of people answered that announcement with suggestions on what book might earn that distinct honor -- and I kept seeing "The Bone People" among those suggestions. So far, it's a challenging read.