The Booker Prize is as old as me, having been founded in 1969. It was formerly known as the Booker Prize for Fiction, and then the Man Booker Prize and is the leading literary award . It recognises the best book written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year and whittles down a longlist of around a dozen books to a shortlist of six. It’s definitely a highlight of the literary calendar and announced every autumn.
I have talked before about my love of books and the joy I get from just curling up with one on the sofa for an afternoon with a mug of tea so wondered if alongside that I could set myself another challenge this year. My book buying and reading is always a bit hit and miss and I thought the challenge of reading all the books that are shortlisted this year would give me a bit more structure.
But why pick The Booker Prize shortlist for my challenge? Well, apart from being the same age as me I like the criteria the judges set:
the best novel in the opinion of the judges.
It really is pretty much that simple. No criteria for the author having to be one sex or the other, a particular age, a debut novel, tied to a particular publishing house with a million quid marketing team behind it, left handed…. just a damn fine book. And I love that. Judged on the merits of the book itself which is what reading should be about.
This is also about me reading books I would not normally choose, because yes we do judge a book by its cover, don’t we? Or we know the author’s other works so think we will love this latest offering. Or indeed have hated every other book and therefore avoid it. Maybe the subject matter in the blurb makes us shy away from it. I can honestly say that most of the books I see shortlisted on these types of things are not what I would usually grab. They are set in times I don’t really understand or feature scenarios that I feel might be a bit “too heavy” which is a real shame because clearly they are judged to be some of the most extraordinary books of the year.
Its going to be an interesting month of reading. I really hope I do get through them all and can pick my own winner.
Have any of you read any of them?