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John Berger: From A to X

Before you read the book: John Berger has won the Booker before, in 1972 with G.  His infamous acceptance speech is better remembered.  Though my curiousity was leading me to read G someday, that day has just been pushed back since finishing From A to X (2008, to be published…

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Leonardo Sciascia: The Day of the Owl

Before you read the book: I had to take a break from the Booker longlist.  After reading nine of the thirteen – and really only enjoying a slim few – I wanted to read something that I wanted to read.  This is in no way meant to suggest that the…

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Linda Grant: The Clothes on Their Backs

Before you read the book: Actually, before you even read my review, I’d like to give a little plug for The Book Depository, which I found out about when I followed the link in Mark Twaite’s name in my post on Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K.  (Mark Twaite is…

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Sebastian Barry: The Secret Scripture

Before you read the book: Though it can’t be true, it felt like Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture (2008) took me longer to read than the much longer A Fraction of the Whole.  There is a lot more lurking in the prose here, so that slowed me down.  But the main force against…

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Steve Toltz: A Fraction of the Whole

Before you read the book: I was warned off A Fraction of the Whole (2008) earlier this year by people who said it was good but who didn’t believe it was worth the book’s weight, and when it was longlisted for the Booker Prize I almost decided not to read…

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Michelle de Kretser: The Lost Dog

Before you read the book: I picked up The Lost Dog (2007) once before and after about twenty pages put it down thinking, is that worth rereading so that I understand it or should I just skip this one?  I never picked it up again until just recently to march through…

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Mohammed Hanif: A Case of Exploding Mangoes

Before you read the book: Though it’s only the fifth I’ve read so far, the most historical of the longlisted titles, A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008), also turned out to be the most entertaining.  The title is less quirky and, to me, more compelling knowing the conspiracy theories surrounding the death of…

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Salman Rushdie: The Enchantress of Florence

Before you read the book: Salman Rushdie’s books are always a bit intimidating for me.  I’m not sure why since I often enjoy them and don’t find them particularly difficult.  It’s also not an effort to prolong the pleasure since I often don’t enjoy them.  For whatever reason, then, The Enchantress of…

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Tom Rob Smith: Child 44

Before your read the book: Moving quickly through the next Booker longlisted title, Child 44 (2008) – it’s a propulsive read - I am still pleased with my Booker experience this year, having enjoyed this and both The White Tiger and Netherland quite a bit.  Of course, whether this particular title deserves its place on…

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Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger

Before you read the book: I love this time of year!  While there are good books to read all year round, I can’t think of another time of year when more people are focused on the same batch of good (well, often good) books.  The collective energy is invigorating!  Plus, I always find books I never would…