Umbrella

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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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.

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Jeet Thayil’s Narcopolis (Review #6)

Rating: 3.5
Narcopolis
A Novel by Jeet Thayil
2012/292 Pages

When the Man Booker long list was released, I eagerly read the synopsis for each book and then listed them number one through twelve on a sheet of paper in the order in which I wanted to read them. Bringing Up the Bodies and Garden of Evening Mists topped my list of books I could not wait to read. Narcopolis was the very last book on my list. From the cover art to the description of the book, nothing attracted me to this book. I did not want to read it for any reason – ever; yet, it made the short list, so as part of the Bookermarks project, I would have to read it.  (more…)

Book Review: 2012 Short Listed: Will Self’s Umbrella (Review #6)

Rating: 2
Umbrella
A Novel b
y Will Self
2012 / 416 Pages

How do you write a blog about a book that:

1.  You have not finished and don’t want to finish?
2.  You did not like?

Well, that is what I am going to attempt to do in this blog.

Will Self has written a very difficult book for the reader.  In fact he states that he does not write for the reader and he does not care if he wins the Man Booker prize for his book Umbrella.

Umbrella is a very tedious book about a psychiatrist, Zach, who works in a mental institution and discovers a population of individuals that have been in a coma in the institution for some 50 years. Zach focuses his attention on one of the patients,  Audrey Dearth.  The book then weaves the story of her life into Zach’s more current story.  What happens? Who really knows?  I did not feel like plodding through the maze to figure it out and the Cliff Notes version of Umbrella has not yet been released!
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Podcast #1: Will Self’s Umbrella

UmbrellaAs promised we’ve begun our podcasting!  We couldn’t think of a more fitting way to kick things off then to open up the group discussions with a chat about the novel all of us felt rather “eh” about, Will Self’s Umbrella.

In this premiere episode, Mike compares reading the novel to listening to a classic Monty Python sketch, Karli wonders what a movie adaptation would look like, Michelle plays a round of “spot that song,” Penny chews a piece of tripe, and Jackie reveals that she does in fact have a penis catalog, but that sadly it’s retired.

Over next several weeks well continue podcasting about each of the titles that are short listed for the 2012 Man Booker award.  Look for us to tackle Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies sometime next week.

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