Sunday, 13 July 2008

Belated Best of the Bookers

Well, I had the best intentions. But then I always do . . .

Sorry to tell you this, fellow readers, but the Best of the Bookers has been voted on and announced . . . and we missed the boat. Salman Rushdie, a two-time winner with Midnight's Children has swept the boards again. (According to the official vote count, less than 8000 people bothered to vote. Well, the website doesn't exactly trumpet the "less than" bit, but personally I think that's a low voter turn-out.) Since I've never gotten around to reading Midnight's Children, or for that matter, four of the other books on the short list, I don't suppose my vote would have counted for much. It certainly wouldn't have been an educated or well-considered vote -- but since when has that stopped anyone? Still, it's a bit of a let-down that my reading intentions fizzled out this way.

When I read about The Best of the Bookers awards, it seemed like the perfect spur to motivate me to read some of the great books on my to-read shelf. I also really liked the idea of an on-blog reading group. We started out so well, too. I read Disgrace; Brave Sir Robin read Cloud Atlas; Nimble Pundit/Jenine read Fingersmith; Bitty, Anne, Jenine and I read Blind Assassin; Debski Beat started the The Enchantress of Florence, but then realized that it was the wrong Rushdie book . . . but never mind. Unfortunately, sometime soon after the "Short List" was announced I started to lose interest. Maybe it was due to the dullness of the short list, (I've read other snarky comments -- and not just from my friend, Heartsease), but I just couldn't be bothered with prescribed reading anymore.

I guess that I have to read Midnight's Children now, though.

Maybe in August . . .


Bitty said...

I was just thinking about this this morning and wondering when the announcement would come.

I also read Disgrace (it depressed me), and I'm still working on Oscar and Lucinda, but hoping not every word of it is going to be about the disastrous effects of extreme religiosity. I get quite enough of that in my everyday life as an American.

So Rushdie goes on my "someday" list.

As he has been for years.

Seriously, guys, I need some uplifting yet not lightweight reading. Suggestions?

Bee said...

I know what you mean about Disgrace. I admired it a lot, but yes, it is a depressing read. (Did you read my review of it?)

BSR started it, but I'm not sure if he ever finished it.

Ditto your comments about "extreme religiousity."

I'm hoping to pick up some fun new reads on my holiday. Usually I load my suitcase down, but this year I'm travelling light -- well in terms of books, if not clothes. (I will probably succumb to the lures of the airport bookstore.)

I'm looking forward to checking back in with you on this one!

Anne said...

I am actually in the middle (well, the early part of the middle) of Midnight's Children... and have been for about a month now. I needed something familiar for the nights when I could barely even focus my eyes (I didn't feel that I was getting much out of M'sC when I was that tired--and frankly, I, like you, wanted to read something that wasn't prescribed), so I pulled out my well loved copy of Pride and Prejudice. I will get back to M'sC, I just need to find a bit more time for reading.

Bitty said...

Bee, I didn't read your review of Disgrace. I'll look for it later. In a related development, however, this on CNN today:

Still depressing.

Nimble said...

I was thinking it was time to find out about the old Booker. Thanks for the report.

Yay! Midnight's Children -- Yay! Okay, my cheerleading is done. I hope you'll get through enough of it to start feeling the fun of it.

Oscar and Lucinda was an interesting read. It was more grim than I expected. But luminous and not depressing even at the end. I felt like I learned more about Australia than I expected to. It is skillful, passionate writing. I was left wondering a bit what I was supposed to have learned. (Perhaps it was that whole Australia thing. Room for passion and the warping of obsession, but at a cost.)

I have read one other of his novels, Jack Maggs a Dickensian piece. I liked that one very much but not much of it has stayed with me.

Bee said...

Yes, sometimes "comfort" reading is what is called for. There is nothing better than a bit of Jane Austen.

I'm afraid that I can't handle any hard news about Africa right now. The Zimbabwe situation is truly awful.

I wouldn't mind reading Oscar and Lucinda again, actually. Speaking of Australia, I was reading an article about the upcoming Baz Luhrman movie of the same name and I got really excited!

Brave Sir Robin said...

Bee -

No, I haven't gotten back into Disgrace. I wanted to wash after reading the first few chapters, and I haven't picked it back up. But I will.

I actually purchased Midnight's Children, so I will read it. I'm just not sure when.

Anil P said...

It's a remarkable book, no less. Possibly the only Rushdie book I can say that for.