Books on my radar for 2023 (but not necessarily in this order)…
Jonathan Coe – Mr Wilder & Me
I’ve never read anything by JC (mea culpa). I could break my duck with Middle England, which won the Costa Novel award in 2019, but will instead go with this quirky homage to cinema that I heard adapted for radio on BBC R4.
Geetanjali Shree (translated by Daisy Rockwell) – Tomb of Sand
Winner of the 2022 International Booker Prize. Reason enough.
Shehan Karunatilaka – The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
Winner of the 2022 Booker Prize. Enough said.
Hilary Mantel – Beyond Black
Christmas present from Hubby. I’ve read HM’s “Thomas Cromwell” trilogy, Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light. The first two won the Booker Prize in 2009 and 2012 – the first time a female author won the Booker twice and the first time anyone had won it with a sequel. The final book in the trilogy was selected for the Booker long-list in 2020 – as was Beyond Black in 2005. Novelist Pat Barker said Beyond Black should actually have won it that year. (John Banville’s response is not on record as far as I can tell – he won the 2005 Booker for The Sea.) RIP Hilary, I’ll miss you.
Jim Crace – Continent
Another Christmas present from Hubby. I’m really excited about this. Last year I read (and reviewed) Quarantine, which won the 1997 Whitbread Novel Award. I’ve also read Being Dead, which was shortlisted for the same prize in 1999. Both books include visceral descriptions of death and degeneration. It hasn’t put me off. In fact I’d say Quarantine was the best book I read this year – and one of the best books I’ve ever read! Continent was Carey’s first novel and won the Whitbread First Novel award in 1986.
Salmon Rushdie – The Moor’s Last Sigh
Also from Hubby (I’m a very lucky woman). I’ve read two of SRs books: Midnight’s Children, which won the Booker Prize in 1981, and The Satanic Verses, which won the Whitbread Novel of the Year in 1988 – and also led to a ‘fatwa’, a death-call issued by the supreme leader of Iran. Since then Rushdie’s lived under the shadow of a threat against his life, most recently this year when he survived a knife attack. His liver was damaged, he was on a ventilator for a day, but he survived, though he lost sight in one eye and the use of one hand. When all’s said and done, he’s just a bloke who makes stuff up for a living. I understand the power of imagination – but really???
Anne Tyler – The Beginner’s Goodbye
An American author whose written loads of stuff including Back When We Were Grown Ups, which someone bought for me, my sister possibly, and I read but can’t remember much about, but it remains on my bookshelf – always a good sign – so I’m open to reading something else by AT. I ‘liberated’ The Beginner’s Goodbye from the Book Exchange at Hoylake Station. (At the time I was reading The Book Thief – I appreciated the irony.)
Homer – The Illiad
A bit of a curve ball. It was just that…
After reading Pat Barker’s Silence of the Girls, which was billed as a re-imagining of The Iliad, I thought I should read the original (albeit in translation, obvs). I”ll save it for June, when I’m lazing on a beach in Crete…
Also on my radar:
Winner of the Costa Book of the Year (announced January 2023)
Winner of the Booker Prize (announced November 2023)
Grief is a Thing With Feathers by Max Porter -been meaning to read ever since I heard the wonderful Toby Jones reading it on BBC R4
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue – after reading Quarantine how could I not be intrigued by a story inspired by the ‘fasting girls’?
The poems of Robert Frost. I told Alexa “BBC R4” and stumbled on a programme about one of RF’s poems , Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Yes, an entire programme about one poem. What’s not to love about the BBC? It’s whetted my appetite for more.
English Journey, or the Road to Milton Keynes by Beryl Bainbridge – how can I not be intrigued when a Liver-bird takes the same trip as J P Priestly but 50 years later?
That’s way more than a year’s worth. So many books, so little time…
Happy New Year to One and All!