Booker 2019 Longlist Reaction

It’s here, pals – the Man Booker 2019 longlist has been announced!

The full list from the Booker website, with links to Book Depository:

So, let’s go through this:

Already read: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite and Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli.

The two Women’s Prize titles.  I’ll start with the one whose inclusion befuddles me the least: I predicted that Lost Children Archive would make the cut and it comes as zero surprise.  I had a mixed experience with it (review here), but I do think it’s a very accomplished book and I completely understand the love that others have for it.  My Sister, The Serial Killer… is actually the book that I liked more, of these two, but looking at some notable snubs (Ocean Vuong! Jan Carson! Colson Whitehead!) I can’t say that I understand why it made this list, other than that it appears to be the literary prize darling of the moment.  Make no mistake, I think it’s a good book.  But, good enough for the Booker, and better than On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous?!  Hm.

Will definitely not read: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann.

I’m one of those heathens who actually hated The Handmaid’s Tale, and I also hate sequels/prequels/spin-offs of things that were originally imagined as standalones (I loved The Hunger Games in college but I have no interest in the new book; I still haven’t read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, etc), so nothing about The Testaments appeals to me.  I’ll admit that I’m curious about Ducks, Newburyport, but not curious enough to read 1000 pages of like, four sentences or whatever it is, especially over a number of other books I’ve been wanting to read recently.  Of these two I’m more likely to read Ducks, Newburyport eventually, but certainly not by October.

Will definitely read: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry, Lanny by Max Porter, Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson.

Night Boat to Tangier sounds so up my alley it’s not even funny (it’s the only Irish book on this list, and I’ve heard it compared to In Bruges, which is my favorite film – say no more), UK booktube has been raving about Lanny for months and I’m not convinced that I’ll love it but I’m curious enough to give it a try, and I’ve been wanting to read Jeanette Winterson for ages, and I love Frankenstein so this seems like a good place to start.

And… the rest.

Of these I think I’m most likely to read The Man Who Saw Everything.  I’m kind of curious about Girl, Woman, Other, but it’s a bit long so I’ll wait to hear some more assessments of it before making my decision.  Apparently An Orchestra of Minorities has something to do with the Odyssey, so I should probably be excited about it, but I’ve heard a few too many lukewarm things.  But, maybe.  Sci-fi/dystopia isn’t my thing, so The Wall isn’t at the top of my list, but who knows.  I didn’t even know there was a new Salman Rushdie, which makes me feel like I’ve been living on another planet, but at a glance I can’t say I’m terribly interested by it.  I think the Elif Shafak sounds kind of terrible (I’m really, really not into ‘in the moments before they die’ stories), but I could probably be convinced to read it if I read enough rave reviews.

So, overall?

Needless to say, I will not be reading this entire longlist, which I’m actually really happy about.  I’ve already publicly pledged my allegiance to Women in Translation Month, and I’m really looking forward to my TBR.  I was so nervous that I was going to see a list of 13 titles that sounded super enticing to me, so I’m selfishly pleased that that’s not the case.  (Also, apologies if you follow me specifically for my Booker coverage – but for my own sanity, I can’t do this every year.)

But once I take a step back from my selfish happiness over not loving this list, I must confess to being disappointed.  This is certainly a list of literary heavy hitters, which makes a radical departure from the 2018 list which was filled with debuts and genre fiction, but honestly, I found myself much more inspired and intrigued by the freshness of last year’s list.  This list is… about what I was expecting.  There’s nothing egregiously awful about it at a glance, but there’s nothing that really excites me, either.

Also, moment of silence for The Fire Starters, hands down the best piece of fiction I’ve read so far in 2019.  I guess the Booker couldn’t do Troubles Lit two years in a row?

What are your thoughts on the Booker longlist?  Which titles are you most and least excited to see her?  What are you planning on reading?  What do you think was snubbed?  Let’s talk in the comments!

66 thoughts on “Booker 2019 Longlist Reaction

  1. I also did not love The Handmaid’s Tale. Every time someone tells me it’s disturbingly plausible I find myself shaking my head. I am a little curious how the timeline for nominations for the Booker Prize works, because it’s not published yet I don’t think. Not curious enough to actually look into it, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The thing (one of the things) that irritates me about The Handmaid’s Tale is that people claim it’s possible for the future when it’s something that’s already happened, for centuries, to women of color?!

      Thankfully the answer isn’t too complicated – since the winner is announced in October, anything that’s published in the calendar year between Octobers is eligible.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Weird, because if they publish in September they could still, like, make changes and stuff.

        You know, I admit I had not once thought of The Handmaid’s Tale from that perspective before, and you are completely right, but that is *not* what Margaret Atwood was going for (I’m like, 99% positive). Huh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • VERY true. Since I started working for a publisher I realized just how many last minute changes are actually made to ARCs – a lot of it stylistic, but definitely not all of it. That’s really aggravating.

        I totally agree, definitely not what she intended – or at the very least I should hope not! But it’s one of those things that strikes me as something no one would have batted an eye at in the 80s, but the fact that this book is STILL held up as a feminist bible of sorts is… concerning!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. Colson Whitehead was a snub, I agree. I am glad to find another person who is not excited about “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood. I really liked “The Handmaiden”, but I will not be reading Atwood’s latest book because, like you, I hate sequels and prequels. I am also looking forward to “Night Boat to Tangier”.
    I also believe that “10 Minutes and 38 Seconds” and “Quichotte” should be really good. The latter re-imagines Cervantes’ classic in a curious way and think it can be both witty and moving. I read only a few pages of Shafak’s latest, but was very impressed.

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    • I haven’t read the Whitehead yet but I’ve heard NOTHING but amazing things. I’m honestly shocked not to see it here. The Testaments is such a transparent cash grab, I really don’t understand why so many people are excited about it?!

      I’ve heard that Shafak is a brilliant writer, it’s really just the subject of this one that doesn’t appeal to me. But I could definitely be convinced to read it. Quichotte, I’m not so sure, I feel like I should actually read Don Quixote first?!

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      • I think one reason why Whitehead was not included is that it is a little to simple in terms of structure and style. I just read an interview with him, where he noted that his past book John Henry Days was too dense and long and he wasn’t interested in writing books like that. But the Booker, notoriously, loves long, dense, experiments in structure. The Nickle Boys just does not fit into that wheelhouse. Loved it personally and shocked that it was snubbed, but also makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not disagreeing, but if that’s the logic they’re using, how on EARTH can they make an argument for My Sister, The Serial Killer?!

        I’ll still be reading the Whitehead at some point in any case, everyone seems to adore it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alex Kerner, I remember when they nominated the simple – yes, simple, in my opinion, and unoriginal, also in my opinion, “Washington Black”. What kind of an “experiment” it had to deserve the nomination? The fact that it mentioned – very very briefly – some flying object or made a former slave in the plot to travel? The language was ok, but it was the dullest book I have ever read – it took something from Jules Verne, something from David Copperfield, perhaps – set in the style of Solomon Northup – very predictable and completely straightforward – and yet a short-listed one. At least, Whitehead’s book makes an impact, I am sure. I remember “Washington Black” was devoid of any insight or impact (apart from maybe re-stating that a life of any slave is a hard one).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can honestly say I agree with you Diana – but I am kind of looking forward to Alex’s reply, as he is the biggest Washington Black fan I can think of.


      • Rachel, you do? Thanks! I am already afraid of the reply from Alex then 🙂 But I honestly want someone to tell me the merit of that book, maybe apart from its vivid voice. It did feel like a book I read so many times before. That is not a good sign for any book, in my opinion.

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      • I’m sure Alex has some smart things to say about it. But I agree, I was incredibly underwhelmed. For a premise that promised excitement, I was very bored.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL…I definitely liked Washington Black. I thought it was very unique look at Black genius in the midst of historical moments that muffles such genius. I thought there were inconsistencies in the writing, but also found it quite beautiful at points and was sincerely moved. That said, I understand the criticisms, it is slow (took me a long time to finish it) and I think it could have explored the magical elements a little more (that beautiful cover was totally misleading!)

        I also would just pipe in that I loved Nickle Boys. I really thought it was brilliant, better than UR. But the Booker as of late has not wanting to embrace this kind of style. Not to mention, maybe there was a bit of a push back against American authors this time?

        Liked by 2 people

      • All very good points!! Ugh, the covers did WB zero favors. The UK and Canadian covers were so misleading, and the US cover was just awful.

        I haven’t read UR either, but it’s on my shelf – I should get to that… eventually. I definitely agree that the scarcity of Americans on this list feels very deliberate.


  3. Not surprised AT ALL to see Lost Children Archive on the list… I really should read that one, but I’ve heard mixed things. Disappointed to see The Testaments, which to me just seems like a money grab on Atwood’s part. If I could change one thing, I’d definitely swap out Atwood for Whitehead!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lost Children is definitely worth reading. It’s good, but frustrating. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on it. I’m shocked not to see the Whitehead on here! Haven’t read it yet but I would GLADLY swap it with the Atwood. It’s such a transparent cash grab, I really don’t understand all the genuine excitement for this book!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Me neither! HANDMAID’S TALE did not need a sequel in the least, so it’s unbearably frustrating to see everyone so excited about it!! And NICKEL BOYS is great but I feel like it’s not Booker material… as much as I would like to see it on the list. I think you’d like it, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I KNOW! I hate hate hate standalone books getting sequels. Hate it. And that’s fair – I did think Whitehead might have a leg up since Underground Railroad was nominated. I’m really intrigued by it in any case, so I’ll definitely still pick it up!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. As you know, I agree! Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys very unfairly omitted, it’s IMO better than The Underground Railroad. I haven’t read it, but I’m disappointed not to see Marlon James’s latest – the Booker continues to ignore SF/fantasy. I’m so pleased to discover another non-fan of Margaret Atwood and I also won’t be reading Ducks.

    Similarly, I can live with Lost Children Archive on the list but what is up with My Sister, The Serial Killer? I don’t think it deserves any literary prizes, even though I enjoyed reading it.

    Finally, I struggled with both Porter’s and Obioma’s previous books so won’t be rushing to buy these ones. So yes, the only book I’ll probably read from this shortlist is the Evaristo… which I had already planned to read. Such a disappointment, Booker judges.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still haven’t read The Nickel Boys (or The Underground Railroad – the shame!) but I have heard nothing but amazing things so I am really shocked not to see it here, especially as he’s such an esteemed writer!
      I’ve heard enough about the James to convince me that I will probably hate it, but you’re right, if that one wasn’t longlisted it is not looking promising for literary SFF where the Booker is concerned.

      Agreed, I’m fine with LCA even though I didn’t love it. What is up with My Sister, indeed. Super fun book, and deeper than one might expect, but… not deep enough for this?!

      I didn’t love Grief is the Thing With Feathers at all, and I’m not convinced that I’ll enjoy Lanny, but it’s short so what the hell. Do let me know how you get on with the Evaristo! I’m curious about that one, but I don’t know if I’m curious enough to commit at this point. I am DYING to read the Kevin Barry so that’s the only title off this entire list that properly excited me.

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  5. I have been feeling kind of smug that I correctly predicted Ducks to be on here – even if I mostly thought it would be hilarious. If the reviews are any good, it might actually work for me? I don’t know. The told in one super long sentence thing doesn’t bother me so much (that might work! Also, it has commas, so it should be absolutely doable) but in what world does any book need to be 1000 pages long?!
    I am kind of happy to be disappointed in a way? Because I now I won’t feel bad about not even reading the women on the list. Although I did just request the Levy on NetGalley (the whole not requesting any arcs any more is going very well, obviously).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I had done an actual predictions post, because according to my gmail draft I actually guessed a fair few (Ducks, LCA, Atwood, Lanny, Night Boat, Girl Woman Other).

      I just think if I’m going to read a one-sentence novel, it has to be Solar Bones. I know I will love that book. Maybe I’ll read Ducks eventually, but I do need to warm up to that idea.

      I’m also happy I’m disappointed. #WITmonth here I come. But, I also requested the Levy on Netgalley, obvs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The idea of Ducks is growing on me. Maybe I would actually like it? I don’t know – the reviews are super positive and I do like pretentiousness. But then again – 1000 pages. I’ll read it when it is inevitably nominated for the Women’s prize next year.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I NEED you to read Ducks because 1) you can tell the rest of us if we should read it and 2) breaking your romance streak with a 1000 page literary book with only 8 sentences would be the funniest thing ever.


  6. I also hated The Handmaid’s Tale – hooray I wasn’t the only one! Plus a cynical part of me wonders if Atwood would have written The Testaments if it hadn’t been for the huge success of The Handmaid’s tale tv show. Seems a book made for money than literary merit.
    Also surprised My Sister… made it. It has been one of my favorite books of the year so far, but never imagined literary prize judges would take to it the way they have. Also I will have to check out Lost Children Archive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank god!!! I’m getting a lot of Atwood haters in the comments and it’s giving me life! Imo it was 100% a cash grab move. Ditto the Call Me By Your Name sequel, but admittedly I’m a little more curious about that one as it’s not being treated like a Serious Literary Accomplishment.

      My Sister was great, but looking at some of the books that were left off this list, I do not understand its inclusion at all. Lost Children Archive is worth reading – it frustrated me but it’s good!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have not read ( !!! ) The Handmaid’s tale because dystopia is not my genre. But after all the raving about it and the Testaments making it to the shortlist , I was actually thinking of getting both . Now, I am thinking of getting the copies from library after your confession . Maybe it’s not a crime to have not read that one. . . Some people actually make it sound so . .
      Read My Sister . . . & Elif Shafak ‘ s book . I see My Sister . . nomination as more of a tokenism move . . As for Shafak ‘ s one I wish she had not written the second & third sections . . Without them , the book would have been in an entirely different league . . . I am thinking of picking up Lanny even though it did not make it to the shortlist . . .

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      • The Handmaid’s Tale is definitely worth reading, and probably a good idea to use the library if you’re on the fence about it! I understand why it’s so beloved, but it was an incredibly frustrating read for me that I don’t think has held up particularly well over the years.

        I just started Lanny the other day and it’s intriguing so far!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This sums up exactly how I feel on all fronts. The only difference is that I’ve already read Lanny. I must say, I’m also relieved to feel comfortable passing on this year’s longlist. I’ll get to the ones that intrigue me as and when the notion takes me, but I’m far more excited to commit to Women in Translation Month instead!

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    • I’m excited about Lanny! Even if I don’t really think I’ll like it. It’s short so what the hell. I have FOMO.

      Relief is the perfect word for how I feel about this list. It’s #WITmonth time babes!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m excited to see what you make of Lanny! In a lot of ways, it’s not my cup of tea at all, and yet something about it just worked for me. I’m not mad at all to see it make the cut! Some of the others, however…

        I can’t wait! I feel like this month has dragged so much because I looked out my WIT books to make my TBR, and they’ve been sitting in a pile tempting me for the last few weeks 📚👀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m excited too! I’m like, 80% sure I won’t like it but 20% ready to be unexpectedly wowed.

        I feel the same way. I’m not one to wish that summer would hurry up, and yet…

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  8. The Shafak isn’t worth it. The first half is just about okay; the second half lets it all down by descending into a buddy romp whose tone sits very uncomfortably with the solemnity and thematic heft of part one. I think Shafak is one of those authors I’d like to like, but somehow can’t.

    Ducks Newburyport is just a blatant challenge and I want to read it so much. The Evaristo is also less long than it looks – the formatting on the page takes up a lot of space but it’s a reasonably-sized book in terms of story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve never read any Shafak and I feel like I should, but I do wonder if this isn’t the best place to start. The summary just sounds god-awful to me. I’ll wait for some more reviews to roll in before I make my decision on that one, but I do value your take highly.

      I have such morbid curiosity about Ducks but I am NOT letting myself throw all my other immediate reading plans out the window for it. But maybe I’ll give in eventually. And thanks re: Evaristo, I am fickle and easily misled by page counts.

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  9. I’ve never actually followed the longlist for the Booker, choosing my readings in the past mostly by the winner, so I’ve no idea if the longlist was better before. What do you think? Should I check the short/longlist of previous years?

    Also I’m even more confused about 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, now. It sounds like it could be interesting but it’s also so vague and no one read it, so…?

    This seems to be a brilliant literary year only for Irish Lit, frankly. WP at least sounded interesting in the beginning and slowly disappointed, but this one doesn’t try to pretend to be interesting at all. What is up with 2019??

    I’m baffled by My Sister, the Serial Killer being there as well. I wonder if I missed some stroke of brilliancy? Because it seemed like a good but not outright BRILLIANT…

    My experience with Jeanette Winterson is with Written on the Body, the first time I’ve ever seen a book treating gender and love so fluidly. It was such a mind-opening experience and I’m glad to have read it – but somehow Frankissstein sounds just weird to me?

    Also kudos for making me add a book by a MAN to my TBR, truly an accomplishment. Just added The Wall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ok AS I WAS SAYING. I think looking at past longlists is always fun! But maybe that’s just me being a weirdo. But I’d definitely check out last year’s longlist and see how that compares – it’s SO interesting. Last year was like, all debuts and genre fiction and this year is all Big Established Names. Obviously the panel is different every year so it’s hard to expect consistency, but it’s still a really interesting departure.

      I’ve heard mixed things about 10 Minutes…! I’ll certainly keep you posted if I end up reading it.

      And seriously, I agree. Most of my faves this year have been Irish – otherwise, I have remained uninspired.

      I agree completely about My Sister – good, but not brilliant enough to show up on the most prestigious literary award. I sound like such a snob! But, I just don’t understand what about this book recommends itself over so many others that arguably should have made the cut.

      Oooh Written on the Body sounds fascinating, thanks for bringing that one to my attention. Frankissstein does sound pretty weird, but I’m a big Frankenstein fan so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy the way Winterson plays with it!


      • Pressing the send too soon = relatable.

        Me too! Unfortunately I’m so out of the loop I normally get to know the longlist novels only if I come across them by accident or my looking into the longlists themselves… so the likelihood that I’ll have read any of those is very low. So getting excited over a list where I know none of the books is really hard, especially because literary works are such hit or miss.

        It’s so wild to me that a different group of people will choose entirely different books. Goes to show that taste is a personal thing – but also worries me that this gives such a bias towards people’s personal feelings, things they like reading, their cultural preferences etc.

        I think I’ll re-read My Sister. Because this award-nominated book people are talking about is not exactly how I remember it… but now it’s been A While since I read it so maybe nowadays I get a different impression?

        Yesss I got to know Written on the Body on a Feminist Literature class!!! Got some nice feminist readings from that. Unfortunately I had to drop out because it was so hard to keep up (I didn’t read very fast in English back then) and say Literary Opinions, especially having been so new to feminism back then. And not being a literature student. But I’m glad for the book recs I got.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely – much as I love discovering new books through literary prizes, it’s even more exciting to see a list full of books you were planning on reading anyway.

        The whole concept of judging panels fascinates me – I really do not believe that popular vote is the best way to go for prizes like this, but the fact that it comes down to 5 people’s personal reading tastes is… a little concerning?? I wonder what a panel of like, 20 judges would look like – but if you widened it that much, consensus through discussion would be practically impossible and it would come down to popular vote of those 20 anyway? So I really don’t know if there’s a solution here but it’s fascinating to think about.

        Ooh I hope you do re-read My Sister and let us all know your thoughts!!!

        A feminist lit class sounds amazing, but I completely sympathize re: taking literature courses in your second language. In Italy I took a class on contemporary Italian poetry, and when I showed up for the exam (in Italy it’s always oral exams one-on-one with the professor), the professor immediately was like ‘your Italian is awful, how are we going to take an exam in Italian literature if you don’t speak Italian?’ So THAT WAS TRAUMATIZING.

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      • Oh my gosh your Italian professor sounds like an a-hole. So sorry you went through that, hope it didn’t shake you too badly! I spoke nearly fluent English by the time I studied in the US and it was really hard sometimes (especially this Lit class), so I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you!

        As for literary prizes vs judges vs popular vote… I can’t come up with a reasonable, fair and unbiased way to choose winners, either. The nature of the quality of books, reading tastes and literary works is based on subjectivity. What makes a book good? The fact that several highly educated people say so? That’s an odd thing for me (and elitist).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thankfully I survived the experience but I was SO NERVOUS after that start and tripping over my words the entire time – at the end he said, and I quote, ‘well, you miraculously understood the material, but since your Italian was so awful I can’t give you higher than [the equivalent of a B-]’. If you aren’t happy with your grade you can retake the exam in Italy but there was no way in hell I was putting myself through that again lol.

        And yes it’s true – it’s really difficult to straddle that line between informed and elitist. Because I do want the Booker panel to be informed – there are a ton of other literary awards based on popular vote – but I also think saying ‘they’re educated, they know best’ is really dismissive of everyone else’s opinions who may disagree with a longlist. So, I just don’t know!


  10. I always feel like a bit of a fraud in the book community because I don’t get into any of the literary prizes. I see everyone posting about it and may read one or two of the books that interest me, but I don’t get into it. You have, however, reminded me that I want to read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. I’ve heard such wonderful things about that book. So that’s one to add to my reserve list at the library!

    The only one on this list I’ve read it Lanny and I actually enjoyed it much more than I was expecting! It was extremely emotional. I have no idea how I’m going to write a review about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Super late reply, sorry!!

      Honestly I commend you for resisting all the book prize hullabaloo. I find them super fun and addicting, but simultaneously incredibly frustrating. I have a fun time whenever I decide to read a longlist, but then part of me is like… why am I spending all this time on these books I don’t care about when I could be reading books that have been on my shelves for years?! But the community aspect of book prizes is always what draws me in – it’s like a community-wide bookclub and I find it so hard to resist the books everyone else are talking about.

      I hope you love On Earth…! I thought it was brilliant.

      Good to know about Lanny! I’m really not sure what I’m going to make of that book, but I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be as enchanted by it as most people have been.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for not thinking I’m a complete book blogger fraud haha! Yes, I definitely couldn’t be one of those people who reads an entire longlist. I can’t imagine wanting to read every book on a longlist (unless they ever create a literary prize that caters to my tastes entirely, which would be rather grand!). I pick books up depending on how I’m feeling and what interests me in that moment, so longlists and shortlists are just too restrictive for me. And if I start forcing myself to read a book I fall into a reading slump and I don’t enjoy those.

        The community aspect of them does seem so lovely though. And I’m glad that there are those of you out there who do get into the literary prizes, because it means I get recommended loads of books which I love! I’d never have read The Glorious Heresies, or the Portable Veblen, or Lanny, or several other books if it hadn’t been for the prizes and people posting about them. And your way of following the prize but only reading the books that intrigue you, definitely seems like a good approach to a longlist. I hope you enjoy some of them!

        I hope you find Lanny as captivating as I did. I was apprehensive going in to it, but got sucked into it. It has an actual plot woven through it, which kept me hooked. And when I was reading it at work on my break I got so involved in the story and felt its emotions so intensely I had to leave our staff room so I could read it alone outside. I did not want to be disturbed! Hopefully it won’t let you down!

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      • Honestly my favorite blogs and booktube channels are the ones that go slightly against the grain so imo you’re doing just fine!! For me reading a longlist is something I view as a challenge rather than a totally relaxing activity, but it can still be fun if the longlist is something I’m like, 75% interested in? If less than half of the books appeal to me there’s no way in hell I’m going to do it.

        The Glorious Heresies is one of my favorite books ever! I haven’t read The Portable Veblen but I’ve heard such great things about it, I should really get to that. I know what you mean though, even though there’s inevitably so much crap to wade through with literary prizes there are always a few real gems that make the whole thing worth it.

        And that’s great to know re: Lanny. The books that are able to transcend their premises are the best. I have a library hold on it now – I’m excited!


  11. The more I think about it, the more I want to read Ducks. At first I was horrified at the thought of spending DAYS reading a single sentence, but my curiosity is definitely growing.
    I’m also planning to read your “for sure” three, so it will be fun to compare notes! Otherwise I am not planning to read the entire list and am looking forward to taking it easy and just picking up what interests me.
    Re: Atwood- I liked Handmaid’s Tale enough that I’ve been planning to check out The Testaments for months, but I am definitely wary about it. It’s certainly a cash grab, but I’m too curious to pass it up. I would much rather have had the extra nudge to read the Carson, Whitehead, or Vuong though, since I was going to pick up Testaments anyway!

    In any case, I’m looking forward to your reviews for any longlisters you decide to pick up!

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    • Late reply, sorry!!

      I really want you to read Ducks and report back to the rest of us! I’m morbidly fascinated by that book but I’m not going to let myself get sucked into the hype at the moment, especially as I have been reading at a rather slow pace lately.

      I’m excited that we’ll be reading the same ones!! I can’t wait to compare notes.

      I do sincerely hope that The Testaments has more to offer to the world than just padding for Atwood’s bank account. I know I keep calling it a cash grab, which I do think it is – but that doesn’t necessarily mean the quality will be awful! I have my fingers crossed on your behalf.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No problem, of course!

        I have by now made the full transition from “hell no” to “definitely reading,” so I guess I will be the guinea pig this time. 😆 I do have plenty of other commitments on my plate for August so I’m not planning to get to it in a rush, but I just can’t pass it up. It certainly does look like a Commitment though!

        I’m definitely looking forward to your reviews!


  12. The only ones I’ve read are Lanny (which I loved) and Orchestra of Minorities (which was ok but I didn’t love it). I’m not an Atwood fan in general (I guess I’m a bad Canadian) and I share your feelings on unplanned sequels. I think I really need to read My Sister, The Serial Killer though.


  13. Oh , I did not know that My Sister The Serial Killer is the darling-contender this time for the judges . I had given it a 3 . 5 star rating with a somewhat negative review . If they are going to pick up a crime fiction anyway , couldn’t they have picked a better one ? Well , I guess I am in the minority now .

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a bit inexplicable to me as well. I really enjoyed it for what it was, but the fact that it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize, won the Tournament of Books, and now has showed up on the Booker longlist is just baffling to me. To be fair I think it has a lot more to offer than last year’s crime pick, Snap, which was pretty atrocious, but I still don’t think it’s really deep enough to justify its place here…


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