Thoughts: The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist

I love the Women’s Prize for Fiction. I mean, I love book awards in general but this one in particular delights me. I do love fiction written by women, so obviously this is my jam.

As usual, I have some thoughts.

But first, here is the longlist in all its glory:

  1. H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker (William Heinemann)
  2. The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Jonathan Cape)
  3. Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon (The Borough Press)
  4. Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig (Grove Press)
  5. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Corsair)
  6. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker)
  7. Sight by Jessie Greengrass (John Murray)
  8. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Collins)
  9. When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy (Atlantic)
  10. Elmet by Fiona Mozley (Hodder & Stoughton)
  11. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton)
  12. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Tinder Press)
  13. A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert (Virago)
  14. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)
  15. The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal (Viking)
  16. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury Circus)

I will not attempt to read the longlist because a) I am so very bad at TBRs (the fact that I still haven’t read Home Fire or Elmet even though I tried to read the Man Booker longlist is the perfect proof for that) and b) there are a few books I am not so sure about.

I have already read three of the books on this list:

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar and See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt and they have one thing in common: I rated them all two stars. Now, to be fair, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock I struggled with rating and here I can definitely see what makes it a great book for the right person. Which is why I don’t mind it being on the list. The other two (especially Manhattan Beach) I totally disagree with. They cannot possibly be two of the best books written by women this year. While I have seen some rave reviews for See What I Have Done, literally no one I follow thought Manhattan Beach was a masterpiece. And still, here it is. (I do love that literature is this subjective, I just like grumbling.)

I have also DNFed The Ministry of of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy. I just could not get into it at all.

A couple of the books I already own:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie  both sound absolutely brilliant and I really should get to them soon now. I own Eleanor Oliphant on audio and loved the narrator’s accent (I do miss Scotland dearly sometimes).

Newly added to my TBR:

H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker, Sight by Jessie Greengrass and When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy. Those sound stunning and I cannot wait to get to them.

As for the rest: I am sure they are all very brilliant books but they just do not speak to me. Especially the Jesmyn Ward book has been praised by pretty much everyone but for some reason I am fairly sure I won’t enjoy it (I might be wrong about that). If it goes on to win, I will reconsider.

Overall, I am super intrigued by the list and the different genres and kinds of books on it. It looks like a good mix of famous authors and new authors, buzzed-about books and books that flew under my radar. Super exciting stuff.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on reading the longlist? Is there a book on there that I should still consider reading? Is there a book you would have liked to be on the list?

2018 Book Haul #1: I bought too many books

Oh boy, it has been a while since I have done one of these posts and well, let’s just say, I bought way too many books. Which on the one hand is super cool because I like books and I like owning them and looking at them, but on the other hand, I am not making it any easier for me to choose which book to read next. I have also recently written a blogpost about the novellas I bought. I obviously feel like reading genre fiction and memoirs more than anything else.

These are the (physical) books I have bought:

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

34666764Blurb: I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell.
It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?

Why I Bought This: I have been wanting to read this FOREVER and was declined for an ARC more than once. But, now I own it, and it is pretty, and I cannot wait to read this.

Continue reading “2018 Book Haul #1: I bought too many books”

Tag: 100 Books to read in a lifetime.

Thank you baking_thad for tagging me!

How many books have you read from Amazon’s list of 100 Books to read in a lifetime?

How to Play:

  1. Include the link to Amazon’s List
  2. Tag the creator of the meme (Perfectly Tolerable)
  3. Tag and thank the Person that tagged you
  4. Copy the list below and indicate which ones you have read
  5. Tally up your total
  6. Comment on the post you were tagged in and let them know how many you read
  7. Tag 5 new people! (And comment on one of their posts to let them know you tagged them)
Title Author Read?
1984 George Orwell Yes
A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah
The Bad Beginning Lemony Snicket Yes
A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L’Engle  Yes
Selected Stories, 1968-1994 Alice Munro
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll  Yes
All the President’s Men Bob Woodward
Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir Frank McCourt
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Judy Blume
Bel Canto Ann Patchett
Beloved Toni Morrison  Yes
Born to Run Christopher McDougall
Breath, Eyes, Memory Edwidge Danticat
Catch-22 Joseph Heller
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl
Charlotte’s Web E. B White
Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese
Daring Greatly Brené Brown
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney
Dune Frank Herbert
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury  Yes
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn
Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brow
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond Ph.D.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling Yes
In Cold Blood Truman Capote
Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri  Yes
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware
Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain
Life After Life Kate Atkinson  Yes
Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Wilder
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov  Yes
Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez  Yes
Love Medicine Louise Erdrich
Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Me Talk Pretty One Day David Sedaris
Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Michael Lewis
Of Human Bondage W. Somerset Maugham
On the Road Jack Kerouac
Out of Africa Isak Dinesen
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Marjane Satrapi  Yes
Portnoy’s Complaint Philip Roth
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Yes
Silent Spring Rachel Carson
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut  Yes
Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon  Yes
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Malcolm X
The Book Thief Markus Zusak Yes
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz Yes
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
The Color of Water James McBride
The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
The Devil in the White City Erik Larson
The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank Yes
The Fault in Our Stars John Green Yes
The Giver Lois Lowry Yes
The Golden Compass Philip Pullman Yes
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood  Yes
The House at Pooh Corner A. Milne
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins Yes
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot  Yes
The Liars’ Club Mary Karr
The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan Yes
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Lawrence Wright
The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien Yes
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat Oliver Sacks
The Omnivore’s Dilemma Michael Pollan
The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster  Yes
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
The Power Broker Robert A. Caro
The Right Stuff Tom Wolfe
The Road Cormac McCarthy  Yes
The Secret History Donna Tartt
The Shining Stephen King  Yes
The Stranger Albert Camus  Yes
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle Yes
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
The World According to Garp John Irving  Yes
The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee Yes
Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand
Valley of the Dolls Jacqueline Susann
Where the Sidewalk Ends Shel Silverstein
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak Yes

I have read 34 of the 100 books which I think is okay, especially when you consider that there is only one book by a German author on this list. Quite a few of the books are on my “will get to that at some point”-list and some I am not at all interested. I don’t think I will read the children’s books I haven’t read yet and I am also really not interested in reading anything by Jonathan Franzen or Dave Eggers. (Is that unfair? It probably is.)

I do like these kinds of list but by design they will always miss books. There are some dubious choices here and some books are just – missing. I mean, no Tolstoy? Or Bronte? Or Goethe? Or Steinbeck? Or Shelley? But, I do like feeling well-read and this list definitely accomplished that (and maybe that is the plan).

I won’t tag anybody but if you choose do this, please let me know because I am interested to see your results!