It’s now clear that I do not have a glittering career ahead of me as a bookmaker, since the only book I predicted to get on this year’s Man Booker Prize shortlist, was nowhere to be seen.
A number of newspapers have commented on the absence from the longlist announced today of past winners Margaret Attwood and JM Coetzee. The 13 titles on the list do contain some surprises (3 debut novelists and four titles that haven’t even been published yet). But my favoured candidate Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi failed to make an appearance with Americanah. It’s actually no bad thing that big names don’t automatically get onto the list – it means there is a chance for some lesser-known authors to come to our attention.
I’ve not read a single one of the titles on this list though I do have Column McCann’s Transatlantic sitting in my e-reader so I can at least get around to reading one of these before the short list is announced in mid September. I suspect some brave souls will be trying to read all 13 novels by then (luckily there is one that is only just 100 pages long although there is another which comes in at a whopping 1,000 pages). I won’t be one of them – there is no way I can read that fast nor do I want to feel like I’m racing against a clock. These authors sweated long and hard to write them so I want to do justice to their work by giving them time to wow me.