Friday, January 14, 2011

Bridget (The Illiterate Peanut) - Introduction

I've just started blogging at The Illiterate Peanut. I'm new to this world of book blogs, so I thought that the organizing principle of a reading challenge would be helpful! By very unofficial accounting, I think I've enjoyed Booker winners and nominees more than those of other prizes, so I thought this would be a great place to start. I have an MA in English Literature and am currently working in academic administration, so I miss the formal contact with reading and writing. Yes, I'm the kind of person who thrills to the sight of a good syllabus.

Booker winner/nominees that I've read:
The Sea, the Sea by Irish Murdoch (1978 winner)
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (1981 winner)
Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner (1984 winner)
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie*
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989 winner)
Jigsaw by Sybille Bedford*
Possession by A.S. Byatt* (1990 winner)
The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997 winner)
Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (1998 winner)
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (1999 winner)
English Passengers by Matthew Kneale
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002 winner)
Unless by Carol Shields
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters*
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (2004 winner)
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell*
The Master by Colm Toibin
The Sea by John Banville (2005 winner)
Arthur and George by Julian Barnes*
The Accidental by Ali Smith
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai* (2006 winner)
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
The Gathering by Anne Enright (2007 winner)
Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel* (2009 winner)


On my list of Booker winners/nominees to read this year:
1. God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam (1978 shortlist)- I just love everything she writes. The Man in the Wooden Hat was one of the best books I read last year.
2. Oscar and Lucinda (1988 winner) or Parrot and Olivier in America (2010 shortlist) by Peter Carey--I've never read any Carey and it seems about time I should start. Any recommendations?
3. Amongst Women by John Gahern (1990 shortlist)-I read a glowing review of this somewhere this year, after which I put in a bit of (failed) effort tracking it down at the library. This year I will prevail!
4. The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer (1974 winner)--Another author I've always meant to read, especially after living in South Africa (well, Lesotho) for a year.
5. In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (2010 shortlist)--This is another Lesotho-influenced selection, as the protagonist travels through Lesotho in one of the stories. Most people can't pronounce the country's name, much less write about it, so I'm very interested to see what Galgut has to say about this desolate and remote little enclave.
6. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (2009 shortlist)--To be honest, this is a pick because I found it in the "free book" pile that sits outside of our department office. It does look good, though.
7. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (2009 shortlist)--I've really enjoyed the Sarah Waters books I've read, so I might overcome my aversion to anything that tends to make me frightened to be in my apartment alone at night.

Excited to be joining the conversation!


  1. Welcome Bridget! You have certainly made a good start on your Booker reading. I like Jane Gardam as well, although I've only read Old Filth so far. And I haven't read many of the books on your 2011 reading list, except for the Gordimer, which I liked quite a lot. I am looking forward to following your reading ! Thanks for joining us here.

  2. Thanks Laura! I didn't realize I had made such good progress until writing them down! If you liked Old Filth then definitely try The Man in the Wooden Hat, which tells the story of Filth's wife. Queen of the Tambourine was also quite good.