"The book trade invented literary prizes to stimulate sales, not to reward merit."
This is a quote from my dad's favourite author, old-school sci-fi legend, Michael Moorcock. Do you agree? There's certainly been a lot of discussion along these lines regarding the longlist for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, which has included a commercial crime book and a graphic novel for the first time, along with a higher then average number of debut authors, and how the inclusion of these books is all about broadening the appeal of the prize and appealing to a younger audience, rather than truly searching out the best books.
We'll be reading the complete longlist on our YouTube channel (https://YouTube.com/Bookaxe) and logging our thoughts as we go here too, so if you have opinions to share (even ranty ones!) questions to ask about the books or if you're reading along with us, we'd love to chat.
Happy reading, Booker fans!
**NOTE: We'd like to try and keep this thread spoiler free please, folks... if you have spoilerish questions to ask about the books, please do start another chat and we'll reply there instead.**
I think there is certainly truth in that statement although I would suggest that stimulating sales is not necessarily a bad thing and also not mutually exclusive; book prizes can stimulate sales of books with great merit. I follow book prizes and although I don't read all the titles they suggest by any means, I do discover books that I hadn't previously heard of but that appeal to me. I read Lincoln in the Bardo last year as a result of the Booker and it was an excellent book - although it is probably worth saying, too, that I have read books they've chosen in the past and not enjoyed them at all! This year there were also lots of titles I hadn't heard of. I plan to read The Water Cure, Warlight and The Overstory but I doubt I will read them fast enough to join in. I may also read Washington Black when it is out. I won't be reading Sabrina as it smacks of gimmickry having a graphic novel on the list, to my mind. It could be wonderful, powerful art but it isn't a comparable literary novel. I don't understand why it is there! Good video. I look forward to following your reviews.
It's nice to see a graphic novel on the list if it takes my interest I'll give it a read, I don't really read graphic novels I don't know why just doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe I need to broaden my reading material.
I have JUST read the final page of Sabrina and I truly don't yet know how I feel. As a work of art it's very impressive, crammed with deeply considered, timely and important ideas, but I don't feel like I've read a book! I need to think about it in more detail, but having read it now, I understand even more why the inclusion of a graphic novel has been so controversial.
I'm generally not very interested in book prizes because I think they're not really made for readers like me and the books I like (not that it bothers me, just a fact!) but I did pay more attention this year when they put a graphic novel on the list. I read Maus and Anya's Ghost recently and they were my first graphic novels and made me want to read more. I think it is good that prizes like the booker are trying to appeal to a younger audience and not be so pretentious. I think lots of people were excited to see a crime book too just because it is something different and people are fed up with being looked down on for reading genre fiction and not something 'highbrow' when other types of book can be really well written and emotional too.
My reviews of SNAP, SABRINA and FROM A LOW AND QUIET SEA are now on BookTube, here: https://youtu.be/aqcOT7pr0-w
Any questions, shoot! And I'd love to know your thoughts if you've read them too...
Hi Lucy. I have been following your reviews with interest and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on The Overstory by Richard Powers. It is the first one I have read and I've found it incredibly impactful. It is hugely ambitious and sweeps modern history as much as the epic environmental issues facing humanity and I wonder how - given that none of the books you've read so far seem to be getting rave reviews from yourself - it compares to others on the list in your view? It is the first Powers book I have read but I will now be seeking out more.
Hi Christine. Thanks for your comment. I'm actually on The Overstory now - pretty much at the end of the first section (Roots) and I'd say - so far - this book certainly feels the most 'Bookery' if that makes sense! You're right to say that I've been a bit lukewarm on everything I've read so far but the writing in this is a cut above the others to my mind (Warlight, aside, which was clearly the work of a seasoned pro) but I will reserve judgement fully until I've seen where he's taking the plot and characters, and how he delivers his message, when it clarifies. It isn't ordinarily the type of book I'd select to read through choice subjectwise, so the fact I'm still very engaged after 150 pages is a good sign! The review will be up next week. Please do keep your eyes peeled! I'd love to chat more.
We made it! We've read and reviewed the complete longlist; the epic, the disassapointing, the heart-wrenchingly exciting and the downright baffling! You can check out all the reviews on our BookTube channel and see our shortlist predictions, here: https://youtu.be/p-TB6X0lhC0
Hello Lucy. I have now read Washington Black, Normal People and Warlight as well as The Overstory. I doubt I will read any more before the shortlist is announced but it was very interesting to hear your predictions and I was pleased to see that The Overstory was there - I found it very impressive. I also enjoyed Normal People and Washington Black, although the second half of the latter was not as good as the first half. I was disappointed with Warlight as I see many others have been too. Excellent writing but poor storytelling. A shame!