Swimming Home


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.



Bookermarks: 2013 Edition

Has it been a year already?  I feel like it’s only been a few weeks since we finished recording our final podcast, crossed our fingers in hopeful anticipation, and then openly wept when Deborah Levy lost the 2012 Man Booker Award.

Okay, fine.  Only one of us wept.

Still, the main thing we all agreed on at the end of the day was that any victory over Will Self would be enough to satisfy us.  Now here we all stand, about to unite for the second year of what is quickly becoming our annual tradition of passing judgment on all things Booker.  I’ve got a few new streamlined “rules” that we’re applying to this year’s proceedings that I need to get you up to speed on, but before I do, perhaps I should take a moment to catch you up on what each member of our crack team has been up to over the past year, and of course, introduce you all to our newest collaborator.


Podcast #6: Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home

Swimming_HomeYou thought that after the announcement of the winner we’d left the building, but it turns out that we’re not quite done just yet! The sixth and final episode in our podcasting journey is now available.  Listen in as we discuss Deborah Levy’s shortlisted novel Swimming Home (well, all of us except Karli, who was busy crafting custom swag based on the novel!).

In this episode Aaron compares the novel to the HBO series Six Feet Under, “Meh!” cries Michelle, Penny can’t seem to escape her “challenged” comment, Mike reveals just how much Facebook porn he’s actually collected, Elizabeth admits that she fully expected to hate the novel, and Jackie reminisces about her very first period.

This is it folks!  We’ve had a lot of fun these past few months and we hope that you’ve enjoyed the reviews, the commentary, and of course these podcasts.


Book Review: 2012 Shortlisted: Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (Review #6)

Rating: 4
Swimming Home
A Novel by Deborah Levy
2012/157 pages (115 on the Nook)

At a mere 115 pages on my Nook, I was expecting Swimming Home to read like a short story.  It didn’t.  I was expecting the characters to be largely glossed over, because truly, how much depth can you offer a cast when the novel is so fleeting?  They weren’t.  I was also expecting the story to be overly simplistic, with quick conversations and rapid-fire situations.  It wasn’t.

In short, Swimming Home might be my biggest surprise on the 2012 Man Booker Shortlist.


Book Review: 2012 Short Listed: Deborah Levy’s Swimming Home (Review #5)

Rating: 2.5
Swimming Home
A Novel by Deborah Levy
2012 / 157 Pages

And then Laura changed the subject and asked Isabel if she thought Kitty Finch might be a little … she searched for the word … ‘touched’? The word stuck in her mouth and she wished she had another language to translate what she meant, because the only words stored inside her were from the school playground of her generation, a lexicon that in no particular order started with barmy, bonkers, barking and went on to loopy, nuts, off with the fairies and then danced up the alphabet again to end with cuckoo.

Swimming Home is a very short book. Short on pages, short on characters and short on catching my interest.