good books

How do you choose your books?  I have a bunch of different methods, but I always like to peruse the long and shortlists for the Booker Prize.  The Booker Prize is a prestigious literary award given to a writer who writes in English.  It used to be only for members of the Commonwealth but has since been expanded to the world.  Since the expansion, it’s been disproportionately dominated by Americans.

What I think is interesting is how little variety there is on the list.  The same authors get nominated over and over.  For example, Margaret Atwood was nominated for the Booker Prize for The Handmaid’s TaleCat’s EyeAlias GraceThe Blind Assassin, and The Testaments.  Now, Atwood is an amazing author, and The Blind Assassin is one of the best books I’ve ever read, but I felt The Testaments was mediocre to good.  In no way was it the best book of the year.  Why does the same person win over and over?  Why not mix it up a bit?

On this year’s list, we have NoViolet Balwayo, who has been nominated in past, and Karen Joy Fowler, also nominated in past, Graeme Burnet, nominated in past, and Elizabeth Strout, nominated in past.  In fairness, there are several new authors as well.  I think, though, once you’ve won the Booker once, you should be done.  Give someone else a chance.

I think I feel kind of the same way about people running for president.  If you’ve been a party’s nominee and lost, you should be done.  If you’ve run for your party’s nomination twice and lost, you should be done.  Give someone else a chance!

Book recommendations for the day: The Secret River  by Kate Grenville and The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld.

7 thoughts on “good books

  1. becca

    The only “list” I consistently use to try to read books from is that I try to read the annual Hugo (scifi) nominees every year because I like to vote on the winner and I feel guilty unless I have read all of them.

    I have favorite authors, and I always read their newest books.

    And then I tend to read books people are talking about (though frankly often a year late). For instance, next on my vacation list is Crying in H Mart. Or like sometimes the newspaper will run things like “best books of the summer” or “you should be reading this” and if something catches my attention I add it to my list. Or if someone (like you) recommends something.

    I occasionally read books off other lists, like the Booker Prize. Sometimes they are too “literary” for me to really enjoy but its good to mix things up.

    I’ve gotten very good at using Libby through my library so I usually just put whatever books I want to read on hold and read them in whatever order they become available. I

  2. admin Post author

    I should check out the Hugo nominees. Who are your favorite authors?

    I thought Crying in H Mart was good but not great. It’s about the death of her mother – not light reading.

    At least 90% of the books I read are from the library, so I do tend to read whatever pops off hold. Many books are on hold for weeks or months before they become available and I usually can’t remember what led me to put that particular book on hold in the first place.

  3. admin Post author

    By “from the library” I mean eBooks from the library. I’ve given up paper books completely, which makes me a little sad.

  4. becca

    Of authors still actively writing books, for scifi/fantasy, I always read John Scalzi, Becky Chambers, N.K. Jemisin, Brandon Sanderson (though recently he’s had a couple bummers). I tend to read anything new from Michael Lewis (though not sure he’d qualify as a “favorite” author) and Erik Larsen.

    For the Hugo list, I have barely made progress the 2022 list, but so far my favorite has been A Light from Uncommon Stars – which is about a spaceship captain, a runaway trans teen, and a violinist who sold her soul to the devil, and was delightful. The most disappointing was The Galaxy and Ground Within, which is part of a series I otherwise loved, but seems to have been inspired by the most boring parts a pandemic quarantine.

    From the 2021 list I love the Murderbot Diaries, the Lady Astronaut of Mars Series, and Piranesi. The first two are totally pulp scifi, the last one is more literary.

  5. becca

    (also, anything from John Scalzi is delightful! Its just fun traditional scifi. Its basically total brain candy. I recommend starting with Old Man’s War. Though his most recent book which is about a nature preserve for godzillas was pretty entertaining.)

  6. becca

    (also I didn’t realize Crying in H Mart was serious… sigh.. its next on library list. I am just finishing Empire of Pain, also serious. Needs some beach reading.)

  7. admin Post author

    Crying in H Mart is not a light read in any way. For a beach read, I recommend In An Instant. Or anything by Liane Moriarty.

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