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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jill's Journey through the Man Booker List: Part 2

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 the first installment in this series.

We are all completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Jay Fowler (3 out of 5 stars) Short List

Summary: Coming of age in middle America, eighteen-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.

Jill: The storyline with the family and the integration of the chimp was very interesting and left me wanting more about Rosemary& Fern,  but the other surrounding storylines and characters didn’t interest me and I ended up skimming through some of these sections.  In my opinion, a Man Booker nominee should also be written beautifully.  I like to be awed by the writing as well as the story itself. Many times I find myself stopping to re-read sentences because of the way the author chose his/her words.  I didn’t feel that with this book, but I liked it.

The Dog by Joseph O’Neill (2 out of 5 stars)
Summary: Distraught by a breakup with his long-term girlfriend, a young man leaves New York to take an unusual job in the strange desert metropolis of Dubai at the height of its self-invention as a futuristic Shangri-la where he struggles with his new position as the "family officer" of the capriciJillous and very rich Batros family.

Jill’s Opinion: This was my least favorite of the list so far.  Run-on paragraph-long sentences about an empty character with an empty life living as an ex-pat in Dubai.  This book did not make the short list. Enough said!

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (3 out of 5 stars)

Summary: Following a terrible fight with her mother over her boyfriend, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her family and her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: A sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as the radio people. Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly love even the ones who are not yet born.

Jill:  I was very intrigued for the first third of the book, but then I felt as though things began to spin out of control rather aimlessly.  The most interesting parts of the storyline were dropped.  David Mitchell writes beautifully and weaves a story with so many threads that it takes your breath away at times, yet there were too many sections in the last half of the book that I had to drag myself through.  I kept waiting for the end which would make it all worth it, but I was left unsatisfied. Even so, I loved Cloud Atlas and am still a fan.  

Part 3

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