Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ali's Introduction

As I recently but briefly explained in a recent blog post over on my wordpress blog, heavenali I do rather love the Booker prize – although I can’t explain why. These days I read far more older novels, than I do contemporary fiction, and yet I still keep a keen eye on the prize – and try to read at least a couple of the long list and shortlist each year. This year I am intending to read all six of the shortlist. Laura recently told me about The Complete Booker – and I have decided to become a contributor here too.  For a number of years I have been working my way through the list of previous winners – although I have to admit I only decided to do this when I realised I had already read a number of them.  Unfortunately most of those were read in the days before I blogged – or later when I wrote tiny piddling little reviews. (All my old reviews were transferred across from livejournal when I decided to move to Wordpress at the beginning of the year – but they make pretty poor reading).  
So anyway these are the ones I have read so far – it’s a pretty long list now.

2011 The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes
2010 The Finkler Question – Howard Jacobson
2009 Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
2008 The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
2007 Anne Enright – The Gathering
2006 Kiran Desai,  The Inheritance of Loss
2005 - John Banville, The Sea
2004 - Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty
2003 - DBC Pierre, Vernon God Little
2002 - Yann Martel, Life of Pi -
2001 - Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang
2000 - Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
1999 - J M Coetzee, Disgrace
1998 - Ian McEwan, Amsterdam 
1997 - Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
1996 - Graham Swift, Last Orders
1995 - Pat Barker, The Ghost Road
1993 - Roddy Doyle, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
1992 - Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
1992 - Barry Unsworth, Sacred Hunger
1991 - Ben Okri, The Famished Road
1990 - A S Byatt, Possession
1989 - Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
1988 - Peter Carey, Oscar and Lucinda
1987 - Penelope Lively, Moon Tiger
1986 - Kingsley Amis, The Old Devils
1985 - Keri Hulme, The Bone People
1984 - Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac
1983 - J M Coetzee, Life & Times of Michael K
1982 - Thomas Keneally, Schindler's Ark
1981 - Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children
1979 - Penelope Fitzgerald, Offshore
1978 - Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
1977 - Paul Scott, Staying On
1973 - J G Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapul
1971 - V S Naipaul, In a Free State

Of those I have yet to read – I have three currently resting on my TBR shelves – Nadine Gordimer’s ‘The Conservationist,’ William Golding ‘Rites of Passage’ and Bernice Rubens ‘The Elected Member’. Sometimes I have the feeling I have only those left to read that I’m not sure I want to read – but I have been pleasantly surprised by Booker books before. I put off reading A Life of Pi for years thinking it wasn’t for me – only to find I loved it. I have liked far more of them than I have disliked, although I have to admit to not having liked The Booker of Bookers Midnight’s Children, and I really disliked The Finkler Question, some were tough going like The Siege of Krishnapul and The Sea by John Banville. Others however remain books I will always love; they live in my memory even those I read years ago, ‘The English Patient,’ ‘The Bone People’, ‘Wolf Hall,’ ‘Staying on’, ‘Offshore’ among others. With so few left to read on the list though I have to keep going, hopefully the enthusiasm of other Booker readers will keep me going.
You'll all be relieved to hear that I don't intend to post reviews of all those that I have read, but I will put up reviews of a few.


  1. Welcome Ali! You've made great progress on reading the winners. I enjoyed all three books on your TBR. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts as you work your way through the list. And don't forget the short- and longlists! :)

  2. Thanks Laura, the shortlists and longlists mean I can keep going for years I suppose.