Tag Archives: 2012

The 2012 Booker Longlist is Here…

I guessed three correctly, The Yips, Bring Up The Bodies and Umbrella. Not too shabby for a list I knocked up in five minutes.

My overall opinion of the list is mixed. It seems the judging panel went for plenty of comedic novels and stories about coming of age. This is fine, but is doesn’t make for a particularly varied list. There are, of course, many big hitting authors/novels that everyone assumed would get a nod and that were missed off. Personally I like that many of the authors are from a younger crowd rather than the old guard being relied upon. Sure, that’s going to disappoint people, but it makes sense for the future of literature that the up and coming are highlighted in such a way.

Last year I aimed to read the entire list and got through seven of them. This year I’m making no such promise. I have a few of the books already and have read two of them, but I’ll read at my own pace this time around.

So, here’s the list…

The Yips by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)

I have this sitting in my review pile and have flicked through it. It’s been on my radar for some time so I’ll definitely find time for this one.

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (Sceptre)

I’m not entirely sure why I left Beauman off of my predictions list, seeing as it’s (possibly) my favourite book of the year so far. I didn’t feel it would be an all round loved book by the panel but I’m ecstatic that Ned is listed here.

Philida by André Brink (Harvill Secker)

Philida is one that interests me and I have a copy on the way, so, I will be able to give my thoughts on it soon.

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon Books)

The blurb for this didn’t really do a lot for me. I’ll pass on reading this one.

Skios by Michael Frayn (Faber & Faber)

Sounds fun, a bit different, but I’m unsure as to why it’s on the list. I’ll be reading it very soon as I want to know much more.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)

I loved Harold Fry, I applaud the panel for choosing it for the longlist. It’s a cracking little book that explores many emotions.

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories)

This caught my eye a few weeks back when I was offered it to review for a website but it didn’t do much to tickle my reading tastebuds. I passed then, I’ll pass now.

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)

On my reading pile, I’m 100 pages in. Will be finishing it over the Summer.

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Salt)

I’m very eager to read this one. It sounds great and I’ll be hunting down a copy as soon as I can.

Umbrella by Will Self (Bloomsbury)

I guessed this one more for the fact that it’s Will Self than anything else. I’ve read some of it and liked what I read. I’ll hopefully get back to it soon, though it’s lower on my list than others.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Faber & Faber)

Heard great things about this, but the blurb did nothing for me.

Communion Town by Sam Thompson (Fourth Estate)

I have a copy of this here. I’ve read the first three chapters (stories?) and it didn’t grab me. The premise is great but the execution lacked a lot for me. I’ll be giving it a second chance, though.


Who Will Make the 2012 Booker Longlist?

Of late I haven’t been reading enough Literary fiction to really go into depth on this post, so it’s purely for fun. Below are the books I’d love to see appear on the Booker Longlist on July 25th. A few I have read, I few I have proofs of and have flicked through and some I just want there because it makes the list varied. I highly doubt that I’m anywhere near what will be chosen, but it will be a laugh anyway. I’m not sure whether I’ll try to read the list this year. I attempted it last year and managed seven of the thirteen chosen.

Have read it or Am reading (slowly)





You have to believe it will be there, surely? As a previous winner with Wolf Hall, I’d love to see Mantel get the nod. I’m not all that far in but it’s better than the previous novel.





Well, I wasn’t convinced by this book. It was a bit middling and overhyped for my liking. However it’s that hype that I think will push Capital into the minds of the Booker judges. It was tipped for Booker success before release and although I didn’t really enjoy it, I can see why it would make the list.





Love this book. I have to choose this purely for Wiles’ writing skill and ability to force a farcical story into wonderful prose and an interesting story.





Again, this is an easy pick. I actually gave up reading this as it bored me greatly. The premise was interesting but the narrative was weak and didn’t grasp hold of me. There’s no faulting the actual skills on display, though.





If Stuart Evers’ debut novel isn’t on the list I would be both shocked and angry. He deserves to be on there for the craft that goes into the book. I said in my review that he’s one to watch and it should start with a longlisting.





Yes, I know, I gush far too much about this book. But Roffey works so well at breaking down the emotions of characters and tells a sweeping and beautiful story that it deserves a place.





Controversial one here. Yes, I know it’s YA and it’s also genre fiction but it’s bloody brilliant. Mièvilles writing MUST be acknowledged and although Railsea isn’t his most literary book, it’s still better than a lot that was released in eligibility window.

Proofs I have and have browsed





Much hype, wonderful writing, previous entry was shortlisted. Why not?





What I’ve read of this is brilliant. Great writer that deserves a nod.





This book really intrigues me. I was given it a couple of weeks back and it keeps popping up in conversation for its quality.





It’s Will Self. What I’ve experienced is great. It’s Will Self. Another much hyped and favoured author. It’s Will Self.

On my radar





How can you not put a former winner on the list? Although some disliked The Finkler Question, it’s still likely to get the nod.





I struggled with a thirteenth entry, so went for one that I keep hearing good things about. This is my wild card, if you like.

That should be thirteen. They should all be eligible. Let’s see what really makes the list on July 25th. I always read Jackie’s posts about awards and the guesses are always well judged, so read it too.

Orange Prize 2012 Longlist – Thoughts

  • Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (Quercus) – Swedish; 1st Novel
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell (Serpent’s Tail) – Irish; 3rd Novel
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen (The Clerkenwell Press) – American; 4th Novel
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (Picador) – Irish; 7th Novel
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail) – Canadian; 2nd Novel
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape) – Irish; 5th Novel
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki (Headline Review) – British; 5th Novel
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon (Quercus) – American; 4th Novel
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (Bloomsbury) – British; 3rd Novel
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Faber & Faber) – British; 2nd Novel
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) – British; 2nd Novel
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape) – British; 6th Novel
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker) – American; 1st Novel
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury) – American; 1st Novel
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (Atlantic Books) – American; 7th Novel
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (Bloomsbury) – American; 6th Novel
  • There but for the by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton) – British; 5th Novel
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard (Alma Books) – British; 2nd Novel
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (Chatto & Windus) – British; 1st Novel
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman (William Heinemann) – American; 1st Novel

So, there it is. That’s the longlist for the Orange Prize in 2012. It’s an interesting list with plenty on it for everyone. I’ve read a few of them already, as you can see by the linkage above. I’ve had a good scout about and read up on all of the other novels and there are many that grab my attention. I’m not saying that I will attempt to read the list, though I may have a crack at the shortlist, but I will certainly grab some of them and dip my toe (see below).

There But For The by Ali Smith. This has been on my radar for quite some time, mainly due to a recommendation from Simon at Savidge Reads. This was then highly corroborated by Patrick Ness in his review for The Guardian and since then the plot has intrigued me. I’ve never read any of Ali’s books and this is the best place to begin. Even without reading it, this has to be one of my favourites to win the prize.

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris. Another book that came to my attention because of Simon (at least he’s good at what he does!). I like the idea of the plot though the length of the book has been putting me off (I have an aversion to long books currently, not sure why) but I really want to read it, especially if it gets to the shortlist – which I believe it will.

Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding. I have to admit, I’ve had this one on the TBR for a while now as I received a proof some time ago. It’s definitely a story that interests me and I think it has a good chance of hitting the shortlist. Seeing as I have a copy of it, there’s no excuse not to dive in, eh?!

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Greek drama? Yes please. I’ve always been enamoured with Greek history and stories so this got my excitement up. I’m definitely going to have to read this as soon as I can.

The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy. Another intriguing story but this time about a woman fleeing across the Atlantic to the UK as she attempts to escape time as a fake medium. Crime, sex and conning rich people, sounds like a great premise. I’m in.

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki. I should already have a copy of this winging its way to me (there was a pun in there!) and I’m looking forward to reading about a con man who travels the globe assuming different identities. He leaves wives and children behind as he tries to find himself. It’s the story of a broken man and I like these kinds of stories.

I was a little disappointed by not seeing Eowyn Ivey on the list for The Snow Child, but of course we don’t know what the judges are looking for from the novels. I also expected to see Katie Ward’s ‘Girl Reading’ feature on the list. I still think it’s a great list and it has brought many titles to my attention that would otherwise have slipped past me. The shortlist is announced on 17th April, so I look forward to seeing what the judges highlight and move up.

Around The Stack In How Many Ways – A 2012 Book Challenge

There seem to be so many book challenges about on a regular basis and as we approach 2012 I wanted to take part in one. But, none really nailed what I wanted to accomplish and that is to become more well read. Since rediscovering my love for reading this year I’ve found genres that have surprised me and classics that have passed me by. So, it made sense to just create a challenge myself.

After some emails and tweets to one of my favourite book bloggers, Emma from Book Monkey we’ve decided to team up to launch the challenge “Around The Stack In How Many Ways”. The idea is simple – to read as many different genres as possible through the year. The challenge will start on January 1st 2012 and run right through to 31st December 2012.

I’d love to see other bloggers take a chance and jump on board with this one. I’m using this challenge to scale Mount TBR and discover new loves. If you want to take part, feel free to grab the banner below and pop it in the sidebar of your blog. If you want to sign up, click the Mister Linky below and leave your details.

The genres we are using, are as follows:

  1. Crime/Mystery – Sherlock Holmes, Rebus, Lincoln Rhyme.
  2. Thriller – Lee Child, Dan Brown.
  3. Romance – Anything that has a love story at its centre.
  4. Fantasy – Can be anything from Lord Of The Rings to The Dark Tower.
  5. Sci-Fi – Space Opera, China Mieville, Gollancz Classics.
  6. Literary – Just look at the past Booker lists. Read a winner for bonus points.
  7. Young Adult – There’s plenty out there, scour your local bookstore.
  8. Historical Fiction – Wolf Hall, Conn Iggulden.
  9. Dystopian – Never Let Me Go, Margaret Atwood.
  10. Steampunk – Boneshaker, Affinity Bridge.
  11. Comedy/Black Comedy – Michael Chabon, Nick Hornby.
  12. Horror/Ghost Story – Stephen King, Clive Barker, Susan Hill.
  13. Adventure – Treasure Island, Jamrach’s Menagerie.
  14. War – Birdsong, My Dear I Wanted To Tell You.
  15. Gothic – Poe is a perfect example.
  16. Poetry – Research something that grabs you.
  17. Drama – Graham Swift, Ishiguro, The Help.
  18. Kids – Harry Potter, Narnia.
  19. Graphic Novel – Anything from Marvel and DC to Jonathan Cape stuff.
  20. Classic – As it says on the tin, pick a classic book from Dickens to Haddon.

It’s up to you how you define the book you want to read into what genre, but I’ve given some suggestions of the books I’m considering, above.

The Rules:

  • If you’re a book blogger, you can use review copies as part of the challenge.
  • You have to review the book if you are a blogger, even if it’s just a paragraph.
  • Feel free to use books from other challenges, if you like.
  • Sign up in the comments thread at the bottom of this post. Leave your name and blog address and I will add them to this post.
  • Feel free to add more genres if you need to, the above is just to start you off.
  • You DON’T have to be a book blogger, but it would be nice to see people blogging about their reads.


  • Hiker – Up to 5 genres
  • Backpacker – 5-10 genres
  • Traveler – 10-15
  • Palin-esque – 20+

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books Of 2012

Now the nights have drawn in and we can see Christmas on the horizon, which means we’re gaining on a new year, bringing new books. I don’t have many more 2011 titles taking hold of me, so now is the best time to reveal my ten most anticipated books of 2012 and then, in the coming weeks, I will announce my Top Ten books of 2011. There are a few continuations of series’ that I’m enjoying and a few new authors I’ve never read.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin – Orion Books, July 2012

The second part of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic series, following on from The Passage. I loved the first part of this series, despite its vastness (and slight bagginess in the middle). It gripped me for a solid week as I devoured over 900 pages and journeyed with some great characters. The first part is a book that I’ve been heavily pushing towards friends and I can’t wait to do the same with The Twelve.

The Wind Through The Keyhole by Stephen King – Hodder and Stoughton, May 2012

This is a book I have been waiting for, for quite some time. A new part of The Dark Tower series is almost upon us and as a huge fan of the franchise I am clamouring for any information on this new part. It takes place between Wizard and Glass and The Wolves of the Calla and fills in the missing time as the group ride on Blain the train. I cannot wait to see what King does with this part, I’m even bloody excited just typing this!

Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch – Gollancz, an imprint of Orion, March 2012

Another continuation of a series, although you could easily read the Peter Grant novels as standalones, Whispers Underground is the third novel to come from Ben and follows the policeman Peter Grant as he studies magic. The first book of the series was great, but the second was far better. I’m hoping that Ben can push it even further with the third instalment.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak – 2012

I know very little about this novel, in fact I found out what I do know from the ever lovely Emma over at Book Monkey. I know I’m in safe hands with Zusak, though, as I took a punt on The Book Thief and it is now one of my favourite books. I’m sure whatever comes out will be fantastic… don’t let me down!

The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruis Zafon – Orion Books, May 2012

I’m relatively new to reading Zafon’s work, having only read The Midnight Palace and The Shadow of the Wind, both of which I enjoyed. His writing is simply stunning and his imagination exists as one of the best out there. I’m hoping between now and the release of this that I can catch up on more of his work.

Mr G by Alan Lightman – Corsair, imprint of Constable and Robinson, May 2012

I’d never heard of this book, nor its author, until I opened the latest Constable & Robinson catalogue and saw it in there. Mr G is a “playful” take on the story of creation as narrated by God himself. If that isn’t a hook to want to jump in and read, I don’t know what is. The premise is basic, leaves room for profound statements and some tongue in cheek commentary. I’m eager to read this, but I hope to read Lightman’s other novel ‘Einstein’s Dreams’ as a prelude.

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff – Pan MacMillan, June 2012

A dystopian steampunk novel set in feudal Japan. What a description, those are some of my favourite things in the entire world. Kristoff sounds like a maniacal genius for attempting to combine these things and I applaud him for it. As an author who describes himself as 6’7” with approximately 13,870 days to live and he can order whiskey in almost a dozen languages… I’m onboard.

Advent by James Treadwell – Hodder and Stoughton, February 2012

Yet another trilogy for me to jump on with, Advent states simply “The magic is returning”. A boy, Gavin, alone, rides a train to Cornwall, nobody meets him. That’s mysterious enough to snag me and as someone very taken by an interesting cover, I’m liking what I see. Bring on another trilogy to keep the fires stoked.

Silver by Andrew Motion – Jonathan Cape, imprint of Random House, April 2012 

I think to sell this book all that needs to be said is… Sequel to Treasure Island. There just aren’t enough books about Pirates out there and a sequel to one of the best is something I need in my life. I’m intrigued as to how Motion pulls it off and whether it accompanies the original novel well. Just reading the words Long John Silver made me grin and April better hurry up so I can read it. Now, where’s my copy of Treasure Island, then?

I’m Never Coming Back by Julian Hanshaw – Jonathan Cape, imprint of Random House, March 2012 

“I’m Never Coming Back is a collection of surreal, comic and mournful interweaving tales travelling across three continents. In each destination we zoom in on unusual lives and remarkable situations, each tale unknowingly impacting on the next.” Mysterious, quirky, a little humour in the cover, okay I buy into this. The idea of entwining tales is always something that interests me and I’ll look forward to what Hanshaw does with it.

Special mentions must go to Laini Taylor and the second part to follow Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Hollow Pike by James Dawson, Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher and The Forbidden by F.R. Tallis.