The Booker Prize 2019 - Longlist (& Plan of Action!)

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

“If you only read one book this year, make a leap. Read all 13 of these. There are Nobel candidates and debutants on this list. There are no favourites; they are all credible winners. They imagine our world, familiar from news cycle disaster and grievance, with wild humour, deep insight and a keen humanity. These writers offer joy and hope. They celebrate the rich complexity of English as a global language. They are exacting, enlightening and entertaining. Really – read all of them.”
Chair of the 2019 judges, Peter Florence

The stroke of midnight on July 24th brought book buzz galore, both enthusiastic and not-so, when the long-anticipated Booker Prize 2019 long-list was announced. Erring on the side of the former, it is an annual favourite of mine, no matter how testing I sometimes find some of its selection, because to read them is to read the best; to stretch your imagination, to stop for a moment to take in what constitutes a novel in that particular year.
And boy, oh boy, this year it is going to be big.
Because, if you (somehow!) missed the announcement and the ensuing cacophony, the books that I (and many, many others like me) will be reading are:

Do you see what I mean? Big!
Of the announced Booker dozen, I have already read three: My Sister, the Serial Killer, Frankissstein and Lost Children Archive; a collection of books that garnered reviews across the board. From the very best (Braithwaite's debut, a riptide of dark bite that I awarded four-star) to the absolutely abysmal (a probably stretching it two-star drawn-out family road trip that favoured pseudo-intellectualism and whole heaps of narcissism instead of actually drawing attention to the lost children it was supposedly on the hunt to find), for me at least, it has been a rather shaky start to this year's longlist.
But, I have hope! After-all, I am trying to not let my overall optimism and high hopes for the prize in its entirety, falter at this early stage. I mean, with the announcement of the winner not happening until October, the whinging and the moaning and the sighing will probably have its chance later on.
Or, it may not. It might be the best long-list ever. We shall see.

The Testaments
Ducks, Newburyport
The Man Who Saw Everything
An Orchestra of Minorities

Yes, yes, yes to all of these. If the hype is real, I am going to be in for very good few months.

Night Boat to Tangier
Girl, Woman, Other
The Wall

I have not heard a single thing about any of these three. I mean, literally - I do not even recognise their covers. But, maybe even because of that, I am rather enthusiastic about delving into these books and seeing what they have to offer.

Dreading It
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World

Whilst it is getting rave reviews, my aversion to books about death/dying makes the Shafak book more than welcome, uneasy addition to the dreading-it pile. But, if anyone can promise me that I am not going to fall off that cliff into a depressive spiral, that would be great and I may actually give it a shot. The Rushdie joins it because of stronger and more steadfast opinions - unlike everyone else in the living world, I have not actually read a book by Salman Rushdie and honestly, the newest addition to his bibliography, does make me any more eager to pick up a book by him. I mean, a modern-retelling of Don Quixote? Babe, no.

I mean, who knows, right? I am literally judging all of these books by their covers, their synopses and the little I have heard of them, but let us just hope that I adore each and every one of them. I mean, that'd be a perfect world, right?
Let me know which books you think are the highs and lows of the longlist, and if you are planning to try and cram all thirteen into the next three months like I am.

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