Friday, March 07, 2014

Comments on The Baileys Women's Prize longlist

First of all I don't read something just because it is on one of these lists. But if I'm trying to decide whether to read a book a list like this may tip the scale--or not. This list has a few I've read, a few I've already rejected, I few already on my TBR list, and some I know little (or nothing) about.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Fourth Estate)
  I've been considering this one, still not sure about it
Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (Bloomsbury)
  Part of a series? I haven't read the others...probably won't get to this
Suzanne Berne, The Dogs of Littlefield (Fig Tree)
  I'm drawing a blank. Must look into this.
Fatima Bhutto, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (Viking)
Claire Cameron, The Bear (Harvill Secker)
  Wavering because of a couple of iffy reviews. I'll probably give it a try
Lea Carpenter, Eleven Days (Two Roads)
   The first I've heard of this one.
M.J. Carter, The Strangler Vine (Fig Tree)
   Another unknown to me.
Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries (Granta)
   Someday I'll probably read this.
Deborah Kay Davies, Reasons She Goes to the Woods (Oneworld)
   Uhh? Why haven't I heard of these books. 
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things (Bloomsbury)
   I loved this book!
Hannah Kent, Burial Rites (Picador)
  Maybe I'll read.
Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers (Harvill Secker)
   Read a description, several reviews, thumbed through it at library. Decided it's not something I want to read.
Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (Bloomsbury)
   I read part, didn't like it, set it aside, won't go back to it
Audrey Magee, The Undertaking (Atlantic Books)
  Another blank.  Will investigate.
Eimear McBride, A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (Gallery Beggar Press)
  What is this? the title sounds coming of ageish. Will follow up.
Charlotte Mendelson, Almost English (Mantle)
   Another blank.  Is it because I'm in the USA?
Anna Quindlen, Still Life with Bread Crumbs (Hutchinson)
  Been meaning to read this one.
Elizabeth Strout, The Burgess Boys (Simon and Schuster)
  I really liked this. Enough to checkout and read some of her other books.
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (Little, Brown)
  Worst book I've tried to read this year. Made it to page 200. 
Evie Wyld, All The Birds, Singing (Jonathan Cape)
  Want to read.

So.  Seven I never heard of, two I read and loved, two I tried to read and rejected, one I consciously decided not to read, and eight I've been considering. This is pretty typical of my experience with long lists for prizes.

Humm...I just read in The Guardian that only four of these (Carter, Davies, Mendelson, and Wyld) are British authors. That accounts for three of the seven that were unfamiliar to me.

I like this list but I don't choose books by the gender of the writer.  I won't choose one of these just because the author is a woman, but I'm glad this list is drawing attention to these titles. 

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