A few years after being accused of dumbing down in its selection of books, the Booker Prize is back and kicking! Expanding the prize from British and Commonwealth writers to include all fiction written in English and published in the U.K. was a stroke of genius (courtesy of the Folio Prize, I might add), and has made the list that much more adventurous.
Haven’t heard of her either? At least this year, there might be a reason for it. Unusually, the winner is a writer of mostly non-fiction. Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich has documented the life stories of suffering in the Second World War, during and in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster and the Soviet War in Afghanistan. Her books are based on interviews with thousands of people who have lived through these events as explained by Alexievich herself:
The Man Booker Prize short-list 2015 is out with what looks like interesting books on a wide range of themes – child abuse, technology, immigration – and geographic settings – Nigeria, Jamaica, Sheffield. Take your pick!
A good literary prize brings to light books that you’ve not necessarily heard of before. This year’s Man Booker Prize longlist is an eminent example, pulling together a selection of 13 books from all corners of the world: Jamaica, New Zealand, India, the US, Ireland, Nigeria and the UK.
Reviews of the most anticipated book of the decade, Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the unpublished chronological sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, have been trickling in over the past few days in the lead up to its publication on the 14th July. There seems to be surprises in the book, which was actually written before the 1960s classic, but never published. Apparently, Atticus Finch, the defence lawyer, champion of suppressed blacks and the moral beacon of To Kill a Mockingbird, shows a darker side as a racist!
I’ve just started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, a novel set amongst the pine trees and turquoise waters of the Riviera in the 1920’s, and realised how a summery summer read can make summer even better. To get you into the mood, the Guardian has made a list of books that will bring you right into the spirit of summer.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the summer holidays to begin. They’re just around the corner, so perhaps it’s time to start thinking about which books to read? We have loads of ideas on Bookstoker from light beach reads about Russian oligarchs to non-fiction books about death and poo (!). The blue links are to Bookstoker’s full reviews or snap judgements while the green links are to outside reviews.
While piling up summer reading for yourself, make sure you throw in a few books for your kids too. Summer is the time to make them love reading as much as you do, while there’s no homework and eons of time. I’ve been trawling the internet for good children’s summer reading lists and here’s what I found.
Have a look at this series of photos from the most beautiful bookshops in the world. El Ateneo bookshop in Buenos Aires, a converted theatre, looks pretty impressive, although Atlantis Books in Santorini (below) is still my all time favourite.