General

2013 Shortlisted: The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri #4

The LowlandRating: 4.5
The Lowland
A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri
2013 /352 Pages

The scope of Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland is epic: four generations of family through five decades in India and America.

This could be a recipe for disaster, as characters become truncated and neglected in favor of pushing the tale forward. Happily this is not the case here. We become intimate with all of Lahiri’s characters: the brothers Subhash and Udayan, their parents, their (!) wife Guari, their (!) daughter Bela, and Bela’s daughter Meghna.

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2013 Shortlisted: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo #2

We_Need_New_NamesRating 3
We Need New Names
A Novel by NoViolet Bulawayo
Narrated by Robin Miles
2013 /9 hours 4 minutes (Audio)

I listened to NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names on audio.  Overall I enjoyed this book.  I would call it a light-hearted pallet cleanser more than a major literary fiction award winner.  The narration was difficult at first but after listening to Robin Miles accent, I became accustomed to it and enjoyed her reading of the book.

The bad thing about listening to an audio book is that one can not take notes and underline passages that stick out.  I finished it almost a month ago and I am just now getting around to writing the review.  My problem with writing the review is that I just can’t really think of much to write about. (more…)

2013 Longlisted: TransAtlantic by Colum McCann #2

TransatlanticRating: 3.5
TransAtlantic

A Novel by Colum McCann
2013 / 304 Pages

TransAtlantic is a sprawling, highly ambitious novel, spanning three centuries and numerous characters.

We start with great excitement, as a pair of (real-life historically) adventurers set off to fly their plane from Canada to Ireland.

We move on to a visit to Ireland by abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

We visit with Senator George Mitchell (also real) as he tried to help broker peace in Northern Ireland. (more…)

2013 Longlisted: The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin #5

The_Testament_of_MaryRating: 5
The Testament of Mary
A Novel by Colm Tóibín
2012 / 96 Pages

Full of grace

Testament /ˈtestəmənt/ noun: something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event, or quality.

At their very worst, fictional works that rely heavily on the Bible as their source material can be negatively explosive and highly blasphemous, at their best these same works can be critically acclaimed, but these accolades can never arrive without some measure of controversy. Colm Toibin’s slim Man Booker nominated novella The Testament of Mary clearly falls under the latter designation. It’s a wonderful, surprising, and moving piece of literature, but it will most certainly upset a fair number of people who read it and then seek it interpret its contents as being something greater than a piece of fiction. When the book is raised up falsely as having some factual merit and then challenged to stand up against their personal religious or spiritual beliefs it will most certainly fail. If it didn’t, then everything that they have been taught to believe could come crumbling down around their very knees. In order for it to work properly, a belief system must be infallible, and any perceived threat to its existence must be immediately dismissed in any way possible.

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A_Tale_For_The_Time_Being

2013 Longlisted: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki #2

A_Tale_For_The_Time_BeingRating: 4.5
A Tale for the Time Being
A Novel by Ruth Ozeki
Audiobook Narrated by Ruth Ozeki
2013 /14 hours and 45 minutes

 A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki is a very intricate and layered story.  I listened to the audio version read by the author.

At first glance this is a coming of age story as told through a diary of a 16 year old Japanese girl, Nao (pronounced Now).  The diary is being read by a middle aged female writer from Canada, Ruth, after she found the diary washed up on the shore presumably from the Tsunami several years earlier.

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BookerMarks

And Now For A Moment Of Shameless Self-Promotion

BookerMarksToday, we interrupt our Man Booker coverage for just a moment to let you more about each of the bloggers that are taking part in this year’s shadowing project.

For three months every year, these brave individuals risk carpal tunnel syndrome, paper cuts, and pinky blisters in order to bring you the best in Booker coverage.  That doesn’t mean that they’re lazy the rest of the year though (ahem, Mike).  If your enjoying the content that’s being published on BookerMarks, then perhaps you’ll want to check out each of their official sites for the massive amount of book related reviews, news, and interviews that happen on a steady, year round basis.  Like them on La Twitter!  Follow them on The Facebook!  All the kids are doing it these days.

This will be our one and only moment of self-promotion this year.  Well, unless you consider the “About” page self-promotion.  Then this is technically our second and not only moment of self-promotion.  “Second and not only” is now our new favorite phrase.  We’ll try to work that in wherever possible in the future.  It just rolls right off the keyboard…

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