How many Booker winning novels have you read?

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OK, here's the list:

2005 The Sea by John Banville
2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
2001 True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
1999 Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
1998 Amsterdam: A Novel by Ian McEwan
1997 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
1996 Last Orders by Graham Swift
1995 The Ghost Road by Pat Barker
1994 How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (co-winner)
1992 Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (co-winner)
1991 The Famished Road by Ben Okri
1990 Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1986 The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis
1985 The Bone People by Keri Hulme
1984 Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner
1983 Life & Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee
1982 Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
1980 Rites of Passage by William Golding
1979 Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
1978 The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch
1977 Staying on by Paul Scott
1976 Saville by David Storey
1975 Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1974 The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
1973 The Siege of Krishnapur by J. G. Farrell
1972 G. by John Berger
1971 In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul
1970 The Elected Member by Bernice. Rubens
1969 Something to Answer For by P. H. Newby

OK, I don't score too highly, clocking up only seven: 2003, 2000, 1999, 1992, 1990, 1989, 1988. Of those, there were some I didn't even think were very good. Vernon God Little I thought was terrible. I also tried with God Of Small Things and Midnight's Children, but I didn't reach the finishing post. Both Disgrace and Remains Of The Day I thought were great, those two would be my highlights.

All in all, I don't think that Booker list looks very representative of the best of British and Commonwealth literature of the past 35 years. Too many of them are well-known novelists with second-rate novels (both McEwen and Kingsley Amis wrote far better novels than the ones that won them the Booker, for instance. Similarly, I liked Banville's The Book Of Evidence, but flicking through The Sea, it looks like a portentous slog.) Also, there's nothing "genre" on there. No crime fiction, thrillers etc. Surely the likes of Le Carré or Rankin are as good as or better than some of these fairly second-rate "literary" novels that have won the prize. (I do admit that I haven't even heard of some of the early winners.)

Revivalist (Revivalist), Friday, 8 September 2006 13:26 (fifteen years ago) link

0

Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 8 September 2006 13:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Nine. Pretty poor.

Funny, there was a question on Mastermind[?] the other night about the 2005 prize and I had already forgotten the author's name.

Mikey G (Mikey G), Friday, 8 September 2006 13:40 (fifteen years ago) link

midnight's chldren is all.

Josh (Josh), Friday, 8 September 2006 13:42 (fifteen years ago) link

2, Possession and How Late It Was. I don't have the urge to read many of the others.

Why does my IQ changes? (noodle vague), Friday, 8 September 2006 14:05 (fifteen years ago) link

14 - The Siege of Krishnapur, Midnight's Children, The Bone People, Oscar and Lucinda, The Remains of the Day, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, How Late It Was, How Late, The Ghost Road, Last Orders, The God of Small Things, Amsterdam, The Blind Assassin, True History of the Kelly Gang, Life of Pi. (The Sea, the Sea, The Line of Beauty and The Sea are all at home waiting to be read.)

I wouldn't say they're the best books of each year, but they're nearly always worth reading. Exceptions - Life of Pi and The Bone People were both weak, and Vernon God Little, which I thought was unreadable.

Ray (Ray), Friday, 8 September 2006 14:06 (fifteen years ago) link

Totally agree about McEwan and Amis, I think the judges thought those guys should just, y'know, get a prize, regardless of current novel.

Mikey G (Mikey G), Friday, 8 September 2006 14:10 (fifteen years ago) link

The Sea is masterful - it might not have as intriguing a central gimmick as The Book of Evidence, but with Banville it's all about the prose, not the plot, amirite?

3.5, all post 1993, incidentally.

ledge (ledge), Friday, 8 September 2006 14:54 (fifteen years ago) link

The Booker Prize may portray itself as selecting the "best novel" of any one year, but that is a laughable and chimereric claim. Prizes of this sort (see: Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc.) serve an exactly analogous function to the Academy Awards; they mainly exist for publicity purposes and to increase sales. They reward merit, to be sure, but merit of a peculiarly "prize-worthy" sort.

If the selection committee's tastes clash too vigorously with those of the reading public at large, then the prize will be ignored, become irrelevant and cease to serve its function. If the prize merely serves to ratify what the public has already voted for with their money, then it becomes equally irrelevant. The sweet spot is to choose a book that is just a bit 'above' the tastes of the majority, sold respectably but not spectacularly, and was well-reviewed.

BTW, I've read one of the prize-winners listed above, the Arundhati Roy book. It was (how to put this?) a perfect representative of everything prize-worthy in a novel and it didn't entirely suck. Not entirely.

Aimless (Aimless), Friday, 8 September 2006 15:14 (fifteen years ago) link

1979 Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
1984 Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1990 Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1995 The Ghost Road by Pat Barker

So, 6 read. I've got True History of the Kelly Gang, Disgrace, The Sea, The Sea, and The Sea in the to-read pile. None acquired specifically for being Booker.

Jaq (Jaq), Friday, 8 September 2006 15:16 (fifteen years ago) link

I managed some of the Roy book. I found the over-ripe prose pretty awful, myself.

Revivalist (Revivalist), Friday, 8 September 2006 15:18 (fifteen years ago) link

Five: Paddy Clarke, The Blind Assassin, Offshore, Possession, The God of Small Things (listed in order of preference).

Cherish (Cherish), Friday, 8 September 2006 15:33 (fifteen years ago) link

The lack of drooling adulation for Possession on this thread makes me sad :(

Why does my IQ changes? (noodle vague), Friday, 8 September 2006 15:52 (fifteen years ago) link

1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (co-winner)
1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

I guess 2.5, since The English Patient was merely a co-winner. In any event, I care very little for any of these three.

c('°c) (Leee), Friday, 8 September 2006 15:56 (fifteen years ago) link

4.5, as I live in the U.S. and barely read anymore.

Haikunym (Haikunym), Friday, 8 September 2006 17:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Only two; The Blind Assassin (which I loved) and Hotel du Lac (which I thought was merely okay).

Sara R-C (Sara R-C), Friday, 8 September 2006 19:35 (fifteen years ago) link

5

2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
1999 Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

of these "The Line Of Beauty" is probably the best. "Vernon God Little" is not only the worst on this list but far and away the worst book i've ever finished!

jed_ (jed), Friday, 8 September 2006 19:52 (fifteen years ago) link

fifteen

anthony easton (anthony), Saturday, 9 September 2006 01:51 (fifteen years ago) link

fifteen
2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
1999 Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
1997 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
1990 Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1986 The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis
1982 Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
1971 In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul
1991 The Famished Road by Ben Okri

anthony easton (anthony), Saturday, 9 September 2006 02:09 (fifteen years ago) link

i'm an only-midnight's children-american. although i did once get nearly 1.5 pages into possession.

for the record, starting from '69, i've read 5 national book award/fiction (gaddis x2, pynchon, delillo & franzen [which seems a horribly predictable series]) and 2 pulitzer/fiction (toole, chabon) winners.

andrew s (andrew s), Saturday, 9 September 2006 03:11 (fifteen years ago) link

2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
1997 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
1971 In a Free State by V. S. Naipaul

Just 6.

Fred (Fred), Saturday, 9 September 2006 03:14 (fifteen years ago) link

5 and 8 from the NBA/fiction and Pulitzer/fiction lists.

Ray (Ray), Saturday, 9 September 2006 06:28 (fifteen years ago) link

i've only read "the remains of the day," which i liked a lot (the only one in my class who did, apparently).

i haven't read "the ghost road," but "regeneration" (about siegfried sassoon and wilfred owen) is terrific.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 9 September 2006 07:05 (fifteen years ago) link

A Fiction (12) (
Nelson Algren The Man with the Golden Arm
James Jones From Here to Eternity
Ralph Ellison Invisible Man
Saul Bellow The Adventures of Augie March
Philip Roth Goodbye, Columbus
Saul Bellow Herzog
Thomas Pynchon Gravity's Rainbow
William Styron Sophie's Choice
John Irving The World According to Garp
Alice Walker The Color Purple
Don DeLillo White Noise
Cormac McCarthy All the Pretty Horses

Non Fiction (6)
William L. Shirer The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Gore Vidal United States: Essays 1952-1992
Tina Rosenberg The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism
Edward Ball Slaves in the Family
Andrew Solomon The Noonday Demon: An Anatomy of Depression
Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking

Poetry: (6)
William Carlos Williams Paterson: Book III and Selected Poems
Archibald MacLeish Collected Poems, 1917-1952
Robert Lowell Life Studies
Randall Jarrell The Woman at the Washington Zoo
Frank O'Hara The Collected Works of Frank O'Hara
Lucille Clifton Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000


Pulitzer (10)
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

anthony easton (anthony), Saturday, 9 September 2006 07:32 (fifteen years ago) link

Read:
2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2003 Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
2001 True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
1998 Amsterdam: A Novel by Ian McEwan
1997 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
1996 Last Orders by Graham Swift
1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (co-winner)
1990 Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
1987 Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1982 Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
1981 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
(14)

Sitting on a shelf, somewhere in the chaos that is my apartment, waiting to be read:
2005 The Sea by John Banville
2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
1999 Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1984 Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner
1979 Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
1974 The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
(7)

I'm Passing Open Windows (Ms Laura), Saturday, 9 September 2006 07:59 (fifteen years ago) link

I consider myself quite lucky; I have only read two of these pretentious books: Midnight's Children and Schindler's Ark (Ark, not List - the film cannot be read.)

SRH (Skrik), Saturday, 9 September 2006 09:14 (fifteen years ago) link

I've actually read (most of) Life Of Pi. Screamy, I do so envy you.

Anyhoo, I've read the Coetzee books and just a few other things. Is _Paddy Clark..._ worth it? I read a few of Doyle's books a few years back. I borrowed this one from the library, but when I got home, I took two glances at it and wondered why the hell I'd picked up another Roddy Doyle book. Back in the back it went.

I am looking forward to reading _The Sea_ though.
Interesting that _Amsterdam_ is on there, as I had the impression that everyone considers it to be one of Mewanc's weakest novels.

Øystein (Øystein), Saturday, 9 September 2006 11:22 (fifteen years ago) link

oh yeah i've read " Life & Times of Michael K" too so that makes 6.

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 9 September 2006 12:10 (fifteen years ago) link

Thought I was doing well for a few scrolls with 12. I don't think 'pretentious' is a good description of "Disgrace" myself, more like gutwrenching. Thumbs up for Possession too, I marvel at how much stamina it must have taken to write it as it took a bit to read it! Paddy Clarke gotta be the fave though.

sandy mc (sandy mc), Saturday, 9 September 2006 12:34 (fifteen years ago) link

Only Possession. I've been meaning to read The Blind Assassin, though.

jaymc (jaymc), Saturday, 9 September 2006 14:04 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't think Possession's a difficult read, tho it is long. Byatt's got fantastic prose technique, concrete and beautiful all at once. And she's one of the only modern writers I know who can carry off that strong authorial voice in a George Eliot style. Possession is on a different planet to some of those other Booker winners in terms of ambition and wisdom and straight-up beautifulness.

I am never gonna watch the movie tho.

Why does my IQ changes? (noodle vague), Sunday, 10 September 2006 09:15 (fifteen years ago) link

(But I wd like to read the Banville, Hollinghurst and Pat Barker.)

Why does my IQ changes? (noodle vague), Sunday, 10 September 2006 09:17 (fifteen years ago) link

The thing I like about prizes like the Booker (which I think chooses consistently readable books), is that it's very handy for my relatives who don't know a whole huge amount about current books when they want to buy me a book as a present. My ex-mother in law used to buy me the latest Booker winner every Christmas. Fair enough, it was either that or bath salts.

8 is my total.

accentmonkey (accentmonkey), Sunday, 10 September 2006 17:54 (fifteen years ago) link

I have read four:

2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
1998 Amsterdam: A Novel by Ian McEwan
1996 Last Orders by Graham Swift
1990 Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt

And I saw three of the movies based on books of this list:

1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (co-winner)
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1982 Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

In retrospective I liked those movies better than the books. Which seems a bit strange.

Ionica (Ionica), Monday, 11 September 2006 08:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Eight The Line of Beauty; Disgrace; Amsterdam; The God of Small Things; Last Orders; Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; Oscar and Lucinda; Schindler's List . I concur about the McEwan, he's written better books, but I suspect it was a case of Buggins' turn.

Matt (Matt), Monday, 11 September 2006 10:28 (fifteen years ago) link

I've read 16. More surprisingly I've read 11 of the past 13 (the two I haven't are The True History of the Kelly Gang and The God of Small Things). If someone asked me to guess how many of the past 13 Booker winners I'd read, without letting me see the list, I'd have definitely assumed less than half.

frankiemachine (frankiemachine), Tuesday, 12 September 2006 16:48 (fifteen years ago) link

none! i am clearly not up on my recent (or actually any) canon.

derrick (derrick), Saturday, 16 September 2006 08:08 (fifteen years ago) link

0.

Casuistry (Chris P), Saturday, 16 September 2006 16:15 (fifteen years ago) link

That Wikipedia link for National Book Award winners just made me pout: the site has like a multi-section scroll-down page for each individual episode of South Park, and then it's all like "The Wapshot Chronicle is a book. [This article is barely a stub, even. You can help Wikipedia by recruiting users who don't spend all weekend watching Comedy Central.]"

nabisco (nabisco), Tuesday, 19 September 2006 17:01 (fourteen years ago) link

So write the article?

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 21 September 2006 06:20 (fourteen years ago) link

two years pass...

so did anyone read the 2008 winner : Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger?

Zeno, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 09:55 (twelve years ago) link

Zero. However I'd be interested in reading 'Midnight's Children' after catching a repeat of the Arena doc on the book. Maybe Ishiguro and Barker at some point.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:09 (twelve years ago) link

AUSSSIEAUSSIE

wilter, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:10 (twelve years ago) link

What a shitty looking prize:

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2008/10/15/adiga300x230.jpg

Doghouse O RLY (G00blar), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:15 (twelve years ago) link

as long as the $$$ looks nice..

Zeno, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 10:51 (twelve years ago) link

Six:
2004 The Line of Beauty - just read this, it's fantastic. Enormously recommended
2002 Life of Pi - throwaway, really, but nice enough. Points off for (I suspect) being a book that's really about storytelling
1999 Disgrace - aye, great. It must've been a cliffhanger, I remember finishing it while walking through Westminster tube station as I needed to get somewhere and I couldn't wait to find out what happened. That said, I can't remember much about it now
1998 Amsterdam - shockingly bad. Pointless, no-one in it you'd care about. The praise lavished on McEwan, while occasionally deserved and he's undeniably a great prosewriter, is going to look silly in future. Basically doesn't have much to say
1994 How Late It Was, How Late - fine, a bit bleak really, but a nice thing to win a prize like this
1992 The English Patient - excellent, a great read, full of interesting little details and memorable scenes, like Captain Corelli's Mandolin (though it doesn't seem to have won many prizes)

(I own eight of the others, to my shame)

Ismael Klata, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 17:45 (twelve years ago) link

i have read 14 but like five were because of a contemp brit fiction class i took and one other, the hollinghurst, i won as a prize in that class for a seminar i gave. the nadine gordimer novel is quite beautiful maybe my fav from that list.

i thought in the skin of the lion had won?? love that book >>> english patient.

******* (Lamp), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 19:49 (twelve years ago) link

1998 Amsterdam - shockingly bad. Pointless, no-one in it you'd care about. The praise lavished on McEwan, while occasionally deserved and he's undeniably a great prosewriter, is going to look silly in future. Basically doesn't have much to say

Sooooooooooooooo otm

Mr. Que, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 19:50 (twelve years ago) link

Columbia College Class of 1997 (and Salutatorian)

gabbneb, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 19:56 (twelve years ago) link

were u friends?

******* (Lamp), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 19:56 (twelve years ago) link

I missed some, I've read 10 actually, but none later than "Kelly Gang." I bought The Milkman and it seems great from looking at in the bookstore but just haven't gotten to it yet.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:14 (eleven months ago) link

I have never heard of J.G. Farrell and he won twice in close succession!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:14 (eleven months ago) link

Since there's been hardly any discussion here of the Famished Road let me record here that a) I thought it was amazing and b) I remember absolutely nothing about it

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:15 (eleven months ago) link

Byatt, Kelwood, seems like enough tbh

1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:47 (eleven months ago) link

lol Kelman excuse my fingers

1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:47 (eleven months ago) link

Ended up reading some of his other work, liked In The Skin of a Lion a lot too

I've never read a novel by Ondaatje I didn't like, and his poetry is quite good too. Definitely my favourite of the 'big' (anglophone) Canadian writers.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:51 (eleven months ago) link

A Brief History of Seven Killings is tremendous, surprised there isn't more love for it here.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:53 (eleven months ago) link

tbf that's the other one I want to read

1000 Scampo DJs (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:54 (eleven months ago) link

I've read sixteen of these I think including several I didn't know had won it.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:54 (eleven months ago) link

Oh I think I started Vernon God Little but it was atrocious. Howard Jacobson's Independent column was so terrible that I would rather read literally anything else on this list than even one paragraph of his.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:56 (eleven months ago) link

3. God of Small Things, Amsterdam, Milkman. I own Girl, Woman, Other but not got round to it yet. Quite a few authors that I've read other books by, though mostly boring middlebrow writers that I wouldn't read much more of (to be honest I might even be confusing Amsterdam with some other McEwan book, I read a fair few of his as a teen trying stuff out and feel like I wasted my time).

Out of the three I've read, Milkman towers above the other two (I think I said on another thread that I highly rate it, would recommend it without hesitation).

emil.y, Wednesday, 14 October 2020 21:59 (eleven months ago) link

I've read 17, but only 3 of the 21st Century ones.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 23:24 (eleven months ago) link

Rites of Passage - studied at school. Is pretty good I guess
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - read it ages ago and have completely forgotten it
Vernon God Little - I enjoyed it as a teenager, probably because that is its only demographic
The Line Of Beauty - masterpiece, there's every chance that if I read every book here it'd still be my favourite
The White Tiger - a really good & shocking journalistic exposé first, a novel second

Chip-vill-A (imago), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 23:29 (eleven months ago) link

The Line Of Beauty - masterpiece, there's every chance that if I read every book here it'd still be my favourite

Mine too. It's absolutely perfect. I've only read 7 of this updated list. Hard to imagine there's a worse book than Vernon God Little in this list. It has an awful "made-up story" quality, like something you'd invent in secondary school. The author had never even been to Texas or The South, btw, so there's a good reason it sounds made up. John Carey was the head judge that year.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Wednesday, 14 October 2020 23:57 (eleven months ago) link

I have fond memories of Last Orders - Ash scattering pilgrimage for several old geezers stopping off at several pubs on the way - but it's 22 years since I read it so I've no idea if it stands up.

Also this is a boring pick at this stage but Hilary Mantel is one of the best modern writers I've read when it comes to writing about ambition and the nature of power. (Also Imago I'm surprised you haven't read at least one of them).

I agree The Line of Beauty is one of the best in this list, certainly of the ones I've read. Didn't care for Oscar and Lucinda.

I'm quite favourably disposed towards Hotel du Lac, which tends to be held up as one of those mistakes that should never happen again but there's a quiet sadness, a desperation to it that's very difficult to write effectively.

I've had both Possession and Midnight's Children on my shelf for years now but there always seems to be something more appealing to read. Maybe this will finally be the year.

Matt DC, Thursday, 15 October 2020 07:19 (eleven months ago) link

Cosign all the Line of Beauty praise; The Ghost Road and The True History of the Kelly Gang are two others that I would stick up for. I couldn't really get with A Brief History of Seven Killings but I figured it was me not him.

neith moon (ledge), Thursday, 15 October 2020 07:42 (eleven months ago) link

I’m kind of now tempted to read some more of the list, The Line of Beauty is one I’ve heard about for a while and I already have access to so many others. And I’ve also never heard a good word about Vernon God Little, lol?

seumas milm (gyac), Thursday, 15 October 2020 08:57 (eleven months ago) link

Also I know Murdoch isn't especially popular here but I love The Sea, The Sea, the narrator is quite spectacularly awful and it contains some of the most revolting food anywhere in fiction.

Banville's The Sea is good as well. Cosign the Milkman love as well. IDK, there are lots of very good books on this list that don't really deserve the shade thrown on them by having shared a prize with outright turkeys like Amsterdam.

Matt DC, Thursday, 15 October 2020 09:12 (eleven months ago) link

i had a thing where i made a point of reading the winner

1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (co-winner)
1992 Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (co-winner)
1991 The Famished Road by Ben Okri
1990 Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1988 Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey

looks like i lasted 6 years. the Okri is sat over there unfinished...

have just this week bought The Sea The Sea (so good they named it twice)

koogs, Thursday, 15 October 2020 09:51 (eleven months ago) link

read 7 I think and another 5 sitting in the to-read pile. Not at all the best or most important book on the list, but I enjoyed White Tiger the most of those I read

thomasintrouble, Thursday, 15 October 2020 10:16 (eleven months ago) link

I have never heard of J.G. Farrell and he won twice in close succession!

The win for Troubles was actually the 'Lost Booker' that was awarded by public vote in 2010

anyway, you should read Farrell. He's great

Number None, Thursday, 15 October 2020 12:05 (eleven months ago) link

The Ghost Road and The True History of the Kelly Gang are two others that I would stick up for.

wait! i was thinking of 'regeneration'. 'the ghost road' was the follow up and i wasn't into it as much, or the third one which i read anyway.

neith moon (ledge), Thursday, 15 October 2020 12:13 (eleven months ago) link

this RTÉ radio documentary on the last 149 days of JG Farrell is amazing.

Fizzles, Thursday, 15 October 2020 12:28 (eleven months ago) link

I’d never heard of JG Farrell either, but the colonialist stuff is hugely rtmi, so I’m getting his two books and The Line of Beauty

seumas milm (gyac), Thursday, 15 October 2020 13:00 (eleven months ago) link

Go on then, I'll admit it - zero. Although I have read 9 Hugo winners from over the same time period, so that's something.

logout option: disabled (Matt #2), Thursday, 15 October 2020 13:16 (eleven months ago) link

eleven or twelve - i can't remember if i read both of the hilary mantel books or just the first one.
i've read "troubles" and "the siege of krishnapur" and thought they were both great.

na (NA), Thursday, 15 October 2020 13:32 (eleven months ago) link

i can't remember if i read both of the hilary mantel books or just the first one

Was Anne Boelyn alive or dead at the end? (Apologies for the spoiler for everyone else, but she gets beheaded).

Matt DC, Thursday, 15 October 2020 13:52 (eleven months ago) link

Fuck you DC! I'll never read them now!

Chip-vill-A (imago), Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:11 (eleven months ago) link

Nah I should, and will

Chip-vill-A (imago), Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:11 (eleven months ago) link

i really can't recall, it was too long ago. feel free to round my total down to 11 for purposes of booker cred points

na (NA), Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:58 (eleven months ago) link

one month passes...

https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/november/letter-from-america

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 26 November 2020 14:36 (nine months ago) link

It isn’t so much that Scotland has achieved a grown-up reckoning with its social history (warts, booze, paedophiles and all), as that these wounds have become a source of cultural and political capital. Can't wait to visit, on the way to Vatican City! Classick clickbait, and of course no consid of the text atall; has he even read it.

dow, Thursday, 26 November 2020 16:48 (nine months ago) link

Think it was more a report focusing on Scotland attitudes to it's literary culture.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 26 November 2020 17:03 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, but I read it as tainting the book by association with/"enabling" those people over there, who seem reduced: is it not possible that some may be nationalist significantly in terms of being anti-Brexit, anti-Tory for considerations that can be concerning beyond those who want to wear haggis and eat kilts and etc.? I mean, since he brought it up. The premise (they're going from one extreme to another) is worth developing, but stopping where he does seems like a dick move.

dow, Thursday, 26 November 2020 17:59 (nine months ago) link

This whole thing of reduction, conflation, sideways inflation is irritating: like on ilx, we'll soon see the annual kneejerk reaction against pollwinners because those people over there like them for the rong reasons/so much/at all, also on ilm I've seen Cardi B compared to Trump because she brags, a New Yorker writer compared Post Malone to Trump, said he pretty much is Trump, rather than another miserable little parasite (which he even looks like he knows he is, on some level)

dow, Thursday, 26 November 2020 18:08 (nine months ago) link

Nothing vs. you for your choice of link, but that's my caffeinated think.

dow, Thursday, 26 November 2020 19:31 (nine months ago) link

I must admit I have prejudged this book. it does sound like frank mccourt transposed. social realism in thatcherite Glasgow does sound on the nose and not necessarily what I want from a contemporary Scottish novel. having said that I really wish that it wasn't made to stand as an artifact of cultural devolution and in a normal country you would be able to write a grim social realist novel without having that kind of baggage attached.

Politically homely (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 26 November 2020 19:47 (nine months ago) link

I know I read Life of Pi and Bone People
THink I may have read The English Patient, know i saw the film or it might stick out better but i do think I read the book too.
THink I read Oscar and Lucinda if it's the one about the glass house on a boat, saw film too. Read a few of his around then

have a few of the others of the original cited list lying around the flkat unread.

& have read Wolf Hall, should have read Bring Out the Bodies by now since I found the prose of Wolf Hall really delicious.

only just realising that Bone People was a Booker winner looked like an interesting read when I found it i a Dublin charity or cheap book shop[ in the early 90s. Liked it at the time. Maori interactions and things, I think a maori woman trying to make it i more Western society, but that was like 28 years since i read it.

Stevolende, Thursday, 26 November 2020 20:06 (nine months ago) link

I've read 15 of that list.

Stand outs would be:
The Ghost Road
Moon Tiger
Disgrace
The Life & Times of Michael K
Hotel Du Lac

I loved The Bone People at the time but I'd be terrified of re-reading it. I went with my now wife to Keri Hulme's home, er, town, when I was in NZ. Okarito, population 8*, on a lonely fly-blown tear of the west coast. We got dropped off up the road and walking in, a fella stopped in his car and offered us a lift. He said he was 'having a bath' that night, in his garden under the stars and we'd be welcome to come along. We didn't go and I think about it all the time.

*she wasn't there, so population 7, I guess.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 26 November 2020 21:07 (nine months ago) link

John Banville, winner of the 2005 Booker Prize, has suggested that he could not win it now because he is a straight, white male https://t.co/hNT70dug1Z

— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) December 1, 2020

Number None, Wednesday, 2 December 2020 14:21 (nine months ago) link

well i for one am shocked that Banville would come out with this

Carry On Scamping (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 14:25 (nine months ago) link

I suggest you are a prick and wouldn't win it because everyone has seen through your overwritten shite.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 16:30 (nine months ago) link

i like some of his overwritten shite but yeah, huge prick energy

Carry On Scamping (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 16:38 (nine months ago) link

Also he's pissed away the last 20 years writing dour, pointless and tedious crime novels, plush a cash-in fake Raymond Chandler, so he's not exactly churning out the masterpieces these days.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Wednesday, 2 December 2020 22:28 (nine months ago) link

nine months pass...

Hotel du Lac is lovely! A small, extremely earnest thing ('somewhat Sparklike but more modern and lost' was my immediate response, which also puts it in Rhys territory tbh) that nonetheless pulls a number of sly games en route to terminus. Probably fits in second behind TLOB for me now, a book to which this makes a decent counterpoint, perhaps.

he ain't perfect but fuck me he's a rheillee (imago), Tuesday, 7 September 2021 20:28 (one week ago) link

I've read

2004 The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
2002 Life of Pi by Yann Martel
2000 The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
1999 Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
1992 The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (co-winner)
1989 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1986 The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis

And that's it. I didn't adore any of them, really... the Coetzee in particular seemed to have a thesis that I instinctively thought was weird and bad even when I read it in my early 20s.

Exception to this, of course, was "The Line Of Beauty", which I'm unashamed to state is one of my favourite novels of all time... not just as an effective work of AIDS-related art, and a commentary on Thatcherism, but such an effective skewering of the bourgeois shittiness of "gay" on the whole.

Yeah it really stands clear, my previous post notwithstanding

he ain't perfect but fuck me he's a rheillee (imago), Tuesday, 7 September 2021 21:07 (one week ago) link

Since 2005 I've increased my tally from one to six and I thought most of them were fine, but the fact of their Booker Prize was totally irrelevant to my choosing to read them. My participation in I Love Books has been far more influential in leading me to good books.

it is to laugh, like so, ha! (Aimless), Tuesday, 7 September 2021 21:08 (one week ago) link

Re what Banville said above, just in the last ten years Howard Jacobson, Julian Barnes, and George Saunders have all won. Is he mad that three women and a gay man won in a row after Saunders?

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 8 September 2021 00:15 (one week ago) link

the Coetzee in particular seemed to have a thesis that I instinctively thought was weird and bad even when I read it in my early 20s.

― what's fgti up to these days? nothing. she's fake (flamboyant goon tie included), Tuesday, 7 September 2021 23:00 (ye

What's the thesis you didn't like?

abcfsk, Wednesday, 8 September 2021 11:45 (one week ago) link


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