On November 25, 2016
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The challenge within the challenge. Trying to read 52 books in a year is proving to be a toughie. I’m not including Harry Potter or Ug, I’m not including work books, I’m not including kindle singles. Just ‘proper’ books.
No challenge is complete without interim goals though – I decided to tackle the Booker long list. Genius idea! So this is the most Bookerish update by far.
The Sellout, which won the prize, was my last book from the previous update. I loved it, I even said I hoped it would win. Aren’t I clever.
35 The Many Wyl Menmuir
This reminded me of Magnus Mills (read this if you haven’t). Entirely matter of fact descriptions of a slightly skew-whiff world. I was surprised this didn’t make the shortlist. I liked it.
36 Eileen Ottessa Moshfegh
Thoroughly unpleasant stuff happening. One of those ‘very good, but hard to enjoy’ books.
37 His Bloody Project Graeme Macrae Burnet
This is great. Being Scottish it’s been all over the Waterstones I walk past every day for months. Puts the idyllic crofters life in a slightly different light.
38 The North Water Ian McGuire
Whale fishing. The death throws of an industry in the northern seas, demise of which was caused by a new source of energy becoming commercially advantageous, making those brave men who go to sea redundant and in need of a new life… Hmm… Also brutal. Four books on a trot making it clear that the world is a dark, dark place.
39 All That Man Is David Szalay
Not sure about this one. I like a short story. This was basically the same short story repeated a bunch of times. The stories all mash into one after a few weeks, which I’m sure is intentional, but feels like a fail, which likely makes it very clever.
40 Hot Milk Deborah Levy
I mostly read on the train. This is, I think, the book with the most ‘girly’ cover that I’ve read so far. I’m sure the jellyfish are symbolic. Of what I’m in the dark. IQ>EQ and all that.
41 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot David Shafer
As a break from the Booker list, and because the prize was announced which took the fun out of the race a little, I pulled a techno thriller out of the stack. A break from the death and doom to read a fictionalised account of how Google and the NSA ownz us. Just as Trump wins and Theresa May starts logging my visits to goodreads and amazon in case I’m a threat to society.
42 My Name Is Lucy Barton Elizabeth Strout
Back to the Booker list, and another one I thought should have been shortlisted. More weird families stuff. Lovely writing, I’d have got through 80 books by now if they all flowed so nicely. Nearly missed my stop.
43 We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
I won’t say anything about this one. If you know, you know. If you don’t you should read it. Alexei Sayle mentioned this on Book Shambles while I was reading it. Which was spooky. Don’t panic. I don’t listen to podcasts while I read.
44 Do Not Say We Have Nothing Madeleine Thien
I’m in the middle of this one at the moment. It’s the last of the Booker shortlist ones. Enjoying it so far. It’s fun when they jump around in time a bit, and I don’t know nearly enough about Chinese history.
So by the end of Do Not Say I’ll have got through all 6 of the Booker short list, and 9 of the 13 long list books for 2016. I kind of picked the winner too.
It’s nearly Mythmas and I have 8 more books to get through. The race is on.