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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jill's Journey through the Man Booker List: Part 3

Posted by Jill S.

The Man Booker long list was announced on July 23rd, so I decided to read through the long list to see what the judges deemed as the 13 best novels written in English this year.   These are my personal thoughts only - not literary book reviews.   As we all know, personal preferences vary greatly, and that is part of the magic and mystery of reading.  Some books touch you and some are written for others!
I am using the Goodreads scale:  (1) I did not like it, (2) It was ok, (3) I liked it, (4) I really liked it, (5) I loved it
On September 9, 2014 the short list of 6 was released .  I have noted Short List next to the title if the book made the first cut. The winner will be announced October 14, 2014.

Be sure to also check out part 1 and part 2 in this series.

History of the Rain by Niall Williams (5 out of 5 stars)
Summary: Ruthie Swain, the bedridden daughter of a dead poet, tries to find her father through stories -- and through generations of family history in County Clare.

Jill: This book told a beautiful story in lyrical prose, but it certainly had a meandering storyline.  I loved the story of Ruth and her father, and I enjoyed reading it slowly and savoring it.  Some people, however, I understand do not connect with it.    Ah – the beautiful mystery of reading……..

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris (3 out of 5 stars) Short List
Summary: After noticing his identity has been stolen and used to create various social media accounts, a man with a troubled past, dentist Paul O'Rourke begins to wonder if his virtual alter ego is actually a better version of himself.

Jill:  I liked this book but am surprised it made the short list.  It made me laugh out loud at times, and I certainly flossed my teeth a lot more than usual while reading it.  There are certainly funny parts, but there are also too many theological passages in the second half of the book about the fictional Ulms and their religion to be enjoyable for me.  The New York Times review states that it hits a high-water mark in the literature of dentistry, however limited that may be.  Exactly! 

Us by David Nicholls (3 out of 5 stars)
Summary: A novel about love and family, husbands and wives, parents and children.

Jill: An enjoyable charming easy read which I liked more than I expected to.  I felt engaged with the story and the characters. I liked it more than One Day, but I don’t think it is Man Booker worthy. 

Considering the books that I have read that made the short list, my vote for the winner of the Man Booker Prize would go to....

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

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