The Little Stranger

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The Notables: 2009

This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out. At 100 titles, the list is more of a catalog of the noteworthy than a distinction. Sticking with the fiction exclusively, it appears that we touched upon a few of these books as well: The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker (a most anticipated book) Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (my review, Millions Top Ten book) Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (a most anticipated book, The Millions Interview with Dan Chaon, Best of the Millennium Longlister) Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (a most anticipated book, The Kakutani Two-Step) Do Not Deny Me by Jean Thompson (Jean Thompson on Edward P. Jones) Don't Cry by Mary Gaitskill (Best of the Millennium Longlister) Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Wells Tower's Year in Reading, a most anticipated book, my review, Best of the Millennium Longlister, Millions Top Ten book) A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore (a most anticipated book, Edan's review) Generosity: An Enhancement by Richard Powers (a most anticipated book) In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Manil Suri's Year in Reading selection, National Book Award Finalist) Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips (National Book Award Finalist) Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (a most anticipated book, my review, National Book Award Winner) The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (Booker Shortlister) Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Lion, The Witch and Ishiguro) Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead (a most anticipated book) The Song Is You by Arthur Phillips (Anne's review, Arthur Phillips' Year in Reading, Arthur Phillips on Kelly Link) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Booker Prize Winner) Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (a most anticipated book)

Booker Shortlist Heavy on Big Names

Some of the biggest names in literature got the nod from the Booker judges for this year's shortlist including J.M. Coetzee, A.S. Byatt, and Hilary Mantel. Co-favorite of the oddsmakers, Sarah Waters, made the cut, while the other favorite, Colm Toibin did not. The longlist was offered here with some excerpts less than a month ago, but since you might not have gotten around to them then, we'll offer the same with the shortlist below. The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt Summertime by J.M Coetzee (excerpt) The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (excerpt) The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (excerpt pdf) The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (excerpt pdf)

Booker Prize Odds and More

The Booker longlist was announced yesterday. Going over the list, I noted that it didn't seem very multi-cultural. One of the interesting things about the Booker is that any author from the Commonwealth of Nations or from Ireland is eligible. This means that any of 54 countries might send a writer to Booker glory. This year, however, the judging committee is keeping things geographically constrained, with only three countries represented among the 13 finalists:England, 9 (Byatt, Foulds, Harvey, Lever, Mantel, Hall, Mawer, Scudamore, Waters)Ireland, 3 (O'Loughlin, Toibin, Trevor)South Africa, 1 (Coetzee)Moving on to less serious matters, the Booker betting odds are now out (and subject to change as punters put their money on the line). The bookmakers like Toibin and Waters to win, but James Lever is putting in an impressive showing with his mock memoir of a chimp.4/1 Colm Toibin - Brooklyn4/1 Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger5/1 Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall6/1 J.M. Coetzee - Summertime8/1 James Lever - Me Cheeta10/1 A.S. Byatt - The Children's Book12/1 William Trevor - Love and Summer14/1 Ed O'Loughlin - Not Untrue and Not Unkind14/1 Simon Mawer - The Glass Room16/1 James Scudamore - Heliopolis16/1 Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze16/1 Sarah Hall - How to Paint a Dead Man16/1 Samantha Harvey - The Wilderness

The Booker’s Dozen: The 2009 Booker Longlist

With the unveiling of the Booker Prize longlist, the 2009 literary Prize season is officially underway. As usual, we have a mix of exciting new names, relative unknowns and venerable standbys. The big names that will stand out are J.M. Coetzee, a two-time winner of the prize, A.S. Byatt, William Trevor, Colm Toibin, and Hillary Mantel. Also an eye-catching nominee is James Lever whose fictionalized autobiography of a movie star chimp made the cut. My one other observation is that this list feels somewhat less multi-cultural as compared to prior years. Several of the books named appeared on our "most anticipated" lists for the first and second halves of 2009. All the Booker Prize longlisters are below (with excerpts where available): The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt Summertime by J.M Coetzee (excerpt) The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey (excerpt) Me Cheeta by James Lever ("I'm the real Cheeta") Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (excerpt) The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (excerpt pdf) Not Untrue and Not Unkind by Ed O'Loughlin Heliopolis by James Scudamore (excerpt) Brooklyn by Colm Toibin (excerpt) Love and Summer by William Trevor (excerpt) The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (excerpt pdf)
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