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I can’t keep my eyes away from Women writers book prize list!

I have been reading multiple books (6 or 7 perhaps?) at the same time and none of it I could stick well to the end. I told myself I am not going to pursue the case of the Orange (Opps) or the Women writers prize this year and then this longlist came out…..

(Red for my alert to read them as soon as possible because I have them or looks very interesting, Amber for books I am mildly intrigued, Grey for not wanting to read it anytime soon)

Kitty Aldridge – A Trick I Learned From Dead Men
Kate Atkinson – Life After Life
Ros Barber – The Marlow Papers
Shani Boianjiu – The People of Forever are Not Afraid
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
Sheila Heti – How Should a Person Be?
A M Homes – May We Be Forgiven
Barbara Kingsolver – Flight Behaviour
Deborah Copaken Kogen – The Red Book
Hilary Mantel – Bring Up the Bodies
Bonnie Nadzam – Lamb
Emily Perkins – The Forrests
Michèle Roberts – Ignorance
Francesca Segal – The Innocents
Maria Semple – Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Elif Shafak – Honour
Zadie Smith – NW
M L Stedman – The Light Between Oceans
Carrie Tiffany – Mateship with Birds
G Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen

This is the first time in many listing years, not one but THREE books with Middle Eastern theme have appeared on the longlist. Because I just got back from Middle East but also I am intrigued in all things Middle Eastern, I want to read these three books soon:

People of forever are not afraid Elif shafak honourAlif-the-Unseen 1

Shani Boianjiu – The People of Forever are Not Afraid

It’s about three girls Lea, Avishag and Yael who grew up in Northern Israel and conscripted to the army for two years. It’s a fictional account of what would have been Boianjiu own experience. I read many books from the Palestinian side of the story and would like to read one that came from the other side.

Elif Shafak – Honour

I heard so much about Elif Shafak. Elif Shafak writes about Turkish immigrant experience and has been longlisted before. Lets hope she gets a spot at the shortlist this year.

G Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen

It’s Wilson’s debut novel that straddles between the real and the unreal world.

The blurb: He calls himself Alif – few people know his real name – a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocratic Intisar, he believes he has found love. But their relationship has no future – Intisar is promised to another man and her family’s honour must be satisfied. As a remembrance, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious book. Entitled The Thousand and One Days, Alif discovers that this parting gift is a door to another world – a world from a very different time, when old magic was in the ascendant and the djinn walked amongst us.

With the book in his hands, Alif finds himself drawing attention – far too much attention – from both men and djinn. Thus begins an adventure that takes him through the crumbling streets of a once-beautiful city, to uncover the long-forgotten mysteries of the Unseen. Alif is about to become a fugitive in both the corporeal and incorporeal worlds. And he is about to unleash a destructive power that will change everything and everyone – starting with Alif himself.

I didn’t want to read anything from AM Homes, because the last time I read This book will save your life, I didn’t like it. A part of me think because Bringing up the bodies seems to appear in every award and winning them, I want to find out what the hype is all about. But first I must start with Wolf Hall. Is that right? can anyone read Bringing up the bodies without reading Wolf Hall?

Here are the judges for this year:

Women's prize 2013 judges

I have a mounting pile of books to get through but I have been known to ruin my reading plan for the Women’s prize for the past 3 years. So I’ll be watching and reading towards the shortlist.

What about you?

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

30 thoughts on “I can’t keep my eyes away from Women writers book prize list!

  1. I’m not particularly interested in most of these books, I’m sorry to say. Two books I already read and loved: Kingsolver and Homes. If you didn’t like This Book Will Save Your Life, then I don’t think you’ll like this one either.

    Posted by Leeswammes | March 13, 2013, 12:11 pm
    • Judith,
      I wanted to like Homes so much. I always have my eyes in the Orange prize, I would say half and half fell short of expectations and the other half unexpectedly good. The IFFP list looks really good too, but mostly male authors.

      Posted by JoV | March 13, 2013, 12:16 pm
  2. I ve read two Jov I have the roberts on my tbr and the one about Israeli appeals to me apart from that nothing else grabs me straight off ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | March 13, 2013, 12:30 pm
  3. I’ve read Life After Life and Gone Girl, both of which I enjoyed, and The Light Between Oceans which I loved. I have Honour on my to read pile and I would also like to read The People of Forever are Not Afraid. I think I’ll also try the Homes at some point. Hope you get chance to read some of them soon.

    Posted by Lindsay @ The Little Reader Library | March 13, 2013, 12:38 pm
  4. Jo, The People of Forever are Not Afraid really intrigues me too! I’ve also been wanting to read Gone Girl. I’ll be watching the list and may the best book win 😉

    Posted by mee | March 13, 2013, 1:09 pm
  5. I’ve read or tried half the titles listed, mostly via the library. I’ve actually abandoned quite a few of them which surprises me, I’m obviously not in rhythm with the judges! Still it’ll be interesting to read some more reviews of the books I’ve not tried yet even if I can’t hope to read them all in time for the shortlist (or even the winner) being announced. 🙂

    Posted by Alex in Leeds | March 13, 2013, 1:40 pm
    • Alex,
      I have faith in the Manchester Library (is that around where you live?) and used to love going to the rotunda of the central Manchester Library. It’s an honour to speak to someone who has tried HALF the book in the list! 😀

      Posted by JoV | March 13, 2013, 1:42 pm
  6. I’ve been meaning to read Elif Shafak for a while. One more reason to do so! The only book on the list I’ve read already is Flight Behavior, which I thought was very good and I’m glad to see on the list.

    Posted by biblioglobal | March 13, 2013, 2:32 pm
  7. I haven’t read any of these yet but I’m really excited by several of them – mainly Alif The Unseen and Lamb. I’m going to treat myself to a copy of Alif The Unseen very soon, I think.

    Posted by Marie | March 13, 2013, 6:40 pm
    • Marie,
      I read Butterfly Mosque by Wilson 2 years ago and love it. This is her first novel and I must say she writes very very well.
      I am reading it now and the hardback is such a beautiful copy, it is a must-own. If you get the UK edition, it’s purple in colour and looks like classical copy of Arabic books.

      I look forward to hear what you think about it!

      Posted by JoV | March 14, 2013, 9:39 am
  8. Great to see Elif Shafak on the list and I hope she gets shortlisted. I enjoyed Life After Life and The Light Between Oceans and looking forward to trying a few new authors as well as Barbara Kingsolver’s new book. Like you I haven’t read Wolf Hall or the sequel and not really inspired to yet, way too much publicity, I’m slow reading a book she wrote 20 years ago about the French revolution instead, it’s much quieter. 🙂

    Posted by Claire 'Word by Word' | March 13, 2013, 6:47 pm
  9. Alif the Unseen is the one that intrigues me most. It just sounds so original!

    In theory you should be able to read ‘Bring up the Bodies’ without having read ‘Wolf Hall’ but everyone I’ve discussed it with says you have to read Wolf Hall first -that is my main gripe with Bring up the Bodies winning so many awards for which it should work as a standalone.

    I look forward to comparing notes on the longlist titles you decide to read – enjoy!

    Posted by farmlanebooks | March 13, 2013, 7:12 pm
    • Jackie,
      I am reading it now and it is very atmospheric and fast paced. A lot of techy jargons but I am sure you will be fine with it. I love the hardback book cover of the book, it looks like a cover of a classical Arabic books. I look forward to comparing notes with you too!

      I agree with what you said about Bringing up the Bodies, it should read as a stand-alone, otherwise what’s the point? “Read Bringing up the Bodies, but to appreciate it to the fullest you must read Wolf Hall first!” I wonder how this would work on judging criteria?

      Posted by JoV | March 14, 2013, 9:43 am
  10. Honour is on Netgalley, or was a while ago when I got a copy. I’m excited to read it now!
    I think the list looks great this year, I’m hoping to read at least half of them.

    Posted by Sam @ Tiny Library | March 13, 2013, 7:53 pm
    • Sam,
      Yes lets read Honour together because I got it from Netgalley too. I am requesting “People of forever are not afraid” so lets see if it gets approved soon! I’m with you. I will try to read this 3 and pick a few more on the shortlist.

      I look forward to hear your thoughts on these books!

      Posted by JoV | March 14, 2013, 9:40 am
  11. Great, publish this list just when I am thinking about reading the list for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. 🙂

    Like you, I have six or seven going, none of which are sticking. Plus, Jodi Picoult’s House Rules is taking forever. I’m a little bogged down, while I listen to Proust’s Swann’s Way in the car…

    From your list, I’ve only read Gone Girl and Flight Behavior; the later was my favorite of the two.

    Posted by Bellezza | March 13, 2013, 9:22 pm
    • Bellezza,
      Yes more list! 🙂 So many good words on Flight Behaviour Bellezza. I tried Lacuna few years ago and gave up. Perhaps this time I will read Flight Behaviour.
      I hope at least one or 2 books stick soon. because I am so distracted!! All the best.

      Posted by JoV | March 14, 2013, 9:44 am
  12. Can I recommend bumping Where’d You Go Bernadette up a level on the interested scale? I wasn’t particularly interested in it either, but a friend lent me his copy and said I had to read it, and I ended up enjoying it a lot. It’s such a dear book. It’s funny and charming. You should read it! Honestly. It’s good. And it’s a really fast read so if you aren’t enjoying it you won’t be stuck with it very long.

    Posted by Jenny | March 14, 2013, 12:07 am
  13. You haven’t read Gone Girl? I did not like that one! I know I am the only one on the planet who didn’t. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.

    Posted by Ti | March 14, 2013, 2:03 pm
  14. We’ve got similar books on the to-read-soon list. I wish I could recommend something but I’ve not read any of these books! However, while I did enjoy Wolf Hall (like I’ve enjoyed pretty much every book I’ve read of Mantel’s), I am somehow reluctant to pick up Bring Up the Bodies!

    Posted by olduvai | March 14, 2013, 2:20 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

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3 = A good read.

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5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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