Eleanor Catton

Booker_Conversations

2013 Booker Conversations: And Our Winner Is…

Booker_ConversationsThe 2013 Booker Conversations is a series of in-depth, spoiler-free discussions between BookerMarks bloggers about this year’s nominated titles.

Today, we all join forces one final time to weigh in on who we’re each pulling for to win the prize tomorrow and we reveal who our collective winner is, as calculated by our shortlist standings rating system.

Aaron Westerman is Opinionless. Except of course when it comes to books or movies. He’s the co-founder of Typographical Era where he blogs on a regular basis about the latest in translated literature, foreign cinema, and more.

Karli Cude, co-founder of Typographical Era, is an avid reader and former bookseller. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in English Literature in 2010 and recently received a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences.

Michelle Williams is an avid “reader” of books and a “rider” of bicycles. When she is not cycling you can catch her reading and when she is not reading, well, she is probably pedaling about somewhere. Her blog, A Reader and A Rider journals her reviews of literary fiction.

Penny Kollar is 1/3 of the Literary Hoarders that works in research administration by day and dreams often of reading and working amongst books full time.

Jackie Hirst is a book freak and a Duran Duran enthusiast.  She’s also 1/3 of the Literary Hoarders.

Elizabeth Polachok is 1/3 of Literary Hoarders, and works in television.  She’ll still tell you to shut off the TV and pick up a book though.

Mike Cohen sometimes sails historic ships in New York Harbor, jockeys a computer other times, and blogs nearly never at 40gigsandamule.com.

Jennifer Fliss is The Well Read Fish.  She’s an avid reader, writer, runner, and has been known to do the flying trapeze (completely true). In addition to literary treats and reviews, The Well Read Fish likes to pair like books with like books, be it by subject, style, setting . . . The Well Read Fish is a New York fish living in Seattle, loving it and occasionally struggling with it.

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2013 Shortlisted: The Lumniaries by Eleanor Catton #4*

The_LuminariesRating: 2*
The Luminaries
A Novel by Eleanor Catton
2013 / 848 pages

So several years have passed by. I’m still sitting in my paisley moth-eaten rocking chair, my eyes are resisting sleep, but they are growing leaden and I may have to succumb.

I am certain more excitement and intrigue will come, but for now, and for what feels like the past ten years, I’ve been in this chair of mine reading and reading and reading Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. Our protagonist, Walter Moody (so similar to Walter Mitty, I can’t help this is intentional) is still in the barhall where he has, one blustery night at the beginning of the novel, unwittingly walked into and disturbed a clandestine meeting, where suspicion is the drink of choice that evening. The seemingly diverse group is  discussing a series of recent crimes. Naturally, when Moody blows in, they are suspicious and go about a tremendous show to simply ask of his origins and pretend they are simply bar-goers, including the priest in the corner. Moody has arrived in New Zealand in 1866 to make his fortune in gold. He harbors serious anger towards his father, who had left him and his mother in a situation less than ideal (according to him). When he discovers his own brother was part of the ruse, Moody decides he is going to show them what’s what. He is cocky and elitist and views his situation as such, you can’t help but dislike him.

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The_Luminaries_US

Podcast #10: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The_Luminaries_USAs promised, here’s our second podcast of the week!

We’re making up for lost time.  We’re good like that.  And this year we might just fit in all of the podcasts BEFORE the winner is announced.  Crazy, I know, right?

In this episode Michelle dubs The Luminaries the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, Aaron wonders why Jesus is such an asshole on Penny’s behalf, Penny expresses her love for mutton chops of all shapes, sizes, and colors, Jackie admits that once again she hasn’t quite finished the book, and our special guest star Carole calls the damn thing pretentious.

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2013 Shortlisted: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton #3

The_Luminaries_USRating: 3 (3.5)
The Luminaries
A Novel by Eleanor Catton
2013 / 848 Pages

Over on the Literary Hoarders site, you may have noticed on our side bar to your right that what I was “Currently Reading” was The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. It must have been showing I was “currently reading” it for well over a month, perhaps longer. For me, straight up and honest, it certainly felt like I was chained to this book for many, many months. Indeed, I easily and readily found a great number of times to put it aside and read other books all the while, four (4!) to be exact, and contemplated two others.

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Harvest

2013 Shortlisted: Harvest by Jim Crace #3

HarvestRating: 4
Harvest
By Jim Crace
2013 / 224 Pages

The promise of a man

It’s a curious thing, the way one can attempt to trace the threads that bind together each batch of six novels that are annually shortlisted for the United Kingdom’s prestigious Man Booker Prize.  Sometimes, like last year, the connections are devastatingly obvious:  Harold Fry, Futh, and Kitty Finch are all restless, misunderstood souls?  You don’t say!

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The_Luminaries_US

2013 Longlisted: The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton #2

The_Luminaries_USRating: 5
The Luminaries
A Novel by Eleanor Catton
2013 / 848 Pages

Underneath, is there a golden soul?

In which Aaron learns to never judge a book by its cover, not to be swayed by first impressions, and marvels over the wonder of self-imposed story-telling structures.

Set in 1860’s, at the height of the New Zealand gold rush, Eleanor Catton’s impressive sophomore effort is so much more than the sum of its visual parts. Weighing in at a massive 848 pages and featuring an absolutely horrendous dust jacket that screams “Need more Jane Austin-esque Victorian romance in your life?” far more than it does “Here’s an intricately layered, complex murder mystery for your brain to devour!,” the way in which The Luminaries is packaged and presented by both its UK and US publishers doesn’t beg one to instantly read it so much as it dares them to even bother with opening its cover in the first place.

OPEN IT.

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