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.