Posts Tagged ‘booker prize winner’

13th September
2010
written by Steph

Moon Tiger won the 1987 Man Booker prize, and yet I feel like it’s a book that few people know about or think to read. That’s a real shame, because there’s a lot to like about this powerful and thoughtful novel. Provided you aren’t one who is put off by narratives that are largely reflective in nature and spend a good deal of time musing about society, history, the general nature of life (and one’s position in it), love, family, and evolution within one’s lifetime. It’s a novel of ideas and one I found very provocative and also rather mesmerizing… but those looking for lots of action and linear plot structures should certainly look elsewhere. Moon Tiger is a novel based around a dying woman’s recollections of her life. As Claudia Hampton lays dying in a hospital bed in London, she drifts in and out of consciousness and memory, dwelling on her past and how it has informed her present, determined to write a history of the world in which she is the central character. Having spent much of her life as a “popular historian” of sorts, this final endeavor is second-nature to Claudia, and as she attempts to frame the events of her own life, we are given a vivid peek into the life of a brash and determined woman as she struggles with the ever-shifting sands of the world. (more…)
16th March
2010
written by Steph

The Sea, The Sea was my first book by Iris Murdoch, and I’m not ashamed to say that I approached it with my tail between my legs.  I was intimidated.  Having never read anything by Murdoch before, I was certain I was in for a challenging and demanding read; I worried I wouldn’t be up to the task, that Murdoch’s writing would be too avant garde or erudite for my mere mortal brain.  I summoned my courage and decided to tackle it, but I was scared it would conquer me. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that The Sea, The Sea, while dense and demanding was actually pretty painless to read!  I don’t think anyone could call Murdoch an easy read, but my fears that she would be inaccessible and opaque were pretty ill-founded.  In fact, the thing I struggled with most while reading this novel was myself.  I had to keep reminding myself not to psych myself out and to keep reading, repeating to myself “You can do this!  There’s nothing to fear here!”  It’s crazy how much our preconceptions can sway us and influence our reading experiences.  I was never fully able to relax while reading The Sea, The Sea, but I did make it all the way through, and ultimately found it a rich and rewarding reading experience. (more…)
3rd February
2010
written by Steph

My only regret is that such a beautiful book had such an ugly cover!

A few years ago when my real-life bookclub was just setting out, I picked Never Let Me Go as our first group read.  I had heard such good things about it (it was nominated for the Booker!) as well as about its author, Kazuo Ishiguro (though I’d never read him before), and it was also dystopian fiction, which I tend to like, so I thought it would be the perfect book to kick things off.  In some ways, it was, because we all had A LOT to say about the book… unfortunately, most of it was negative.  I remember feeling completely underwhelmed with the story, the writing, the characters felt flat and unemotional and nothing about the novel surprised me (not even the so-called twists).  I was SO disappointed, and quite honestly, I wondered what all the hype about Ishiguro was about.  I couldn’t figure out why the book had been nominated for an award, and I couldn’t understand why people tripped all over themselves to sing Ishiguro’s prose any kind of praise. Despite my poor initial outing with Ishiguro, I felt I needed to try something else by him before banishing him from my reading life.  I decided I might as well try his, ostensibly, best-known novel, the one that actually won the Booker, The Remains of the Day (which I found at McKay’s for the hefty price of 75¢). (more…)
24th September
2009
written by Steph

This book is anything but.

Another double header! We're aiming to make this a regular feature on the old blog. This time we didn't read the feature out loud to each other (though we do have another title slated for that), nor did we read it at the same time. Steph read this and passed it along to me and we decided that we needed to discuss it with each other in order to get the most out of our readings. With out further ado... Steph’s Take Every once in a while, we as readers are lucky enough to have truly magnificent books pass through our lives, books that make us think, and even more importantly, ones that make us feel.  Often times I find that upon finishing a truly great book, I have to take a bit of a breather from reading so that time can cleanse my literary palate.  Finishing a great book results in me spending a few days thinking about what I’ve read, working through all of the emotions it has stirred up within me; in such a state, any book picked up in haste is sure to be a disappointment, my reading of it irrevocably colored by the previous Great Read, looming large in my mind.  And is so often the case with great books, they frustratingly defy description.  Disgrace, is one such book. (more…)