So the winner of the booker prize has been announced, it was Hilary Mantel with Wolf Hall, which I have to say even though I haven’t finished it and there is one book I haven’t read yet, is my favourite.
My least fave book was Summertime, by J M Cotzee (I’m not sure I’ve spelt that right). The book is written as a sort of biography, it follows a fan of JM Cotzee interviewing people as he hopes to compile the biography.The book just didn’t interest me at all, I didn’t find it enjoyable and the way that the book portrayed the author was very one dimensional and made him extremly unlikable. This was the first book I’ve ever read by the author, and I wonder if that’s possibly why I didn’t like it, it was also supposed to be the 3rd book in a biography set he’s written, and I do wonder if maybe I’d read those then it would have made a difference to how I felt about summertime. There was some discussion at the meet up just before the winner was announced that this was quite a clever book. The man doing the interview’s is a huge fan of the author and believes he can do no wrong, where as the interviewd people often didn’t think that highly of him, showing that authors aren’t always these great people. Still I did not like this book.
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer, this book follows the story of essentially a house in Czechkoslovakia, that has a glass room from the 1930’s and on during the war years. Its a bit of an odd story I did find it interesting, but also very clinical, I guess that could be because the author is trying to fit it into the theme of the glass room. It’s a story of 2 halves, the first half following the family that built the house, before they leave because of the Nazi’s and the 2nd half the Nazi’s use of the house and after the war is over the use of the house as a place for physiotherapy for children. It made the book feel quite disjointed in a way, and makes you hvae to get used to a whole host of new characters in a short space of time. I found this book kind of interesting but at the same time a bit silly, pretty much everyman present in the book was a two timer. I don’t think this book was fantastic but I do feel it is worth a bit of a read.
THe Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds – This follows pretty much true events of a mental asylum where the poet John Claire was, at the same time it is also the place Alfred Tennyson putting his brother into care. I did find this book interesting but at the same time I found it too short. It was snapshots of events that happned over about a year and a halfs worth of seasons, and I kind of wanted to see a bit more of the big picture. So all in all a good book but too short.
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – This story for some reason I am finding the hardest to talk about. I did find this a very good story, well written and after discussion at the meeting there are several possible things that could have been behind the events that played out in the story. I wasn’t for some reason that drawn into the book, even though it is a good book. I think for me there just wasn’t enough excitment in it, I think I’m too used to reading sci-fi/fantasy where there is often more up down tension in a book.
The children’s storybook by AS Byatt – I haven’t read this one yet, though from what I’ve heard it does sound like a good book. I’m looking forward to being able to read it.
And finally Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – This is a weighty tome and I have to say that lugging this to work and back was a real pain. But it is a fantastic book (of which I still have to read 200 pages or so), its written in a stream of conciousness which does at times make it a little hard to follow, you can’t always be sure who said what. The book follows Thomas Cromwell as he rises through King Henry VIII’s court. There’s not really much else I have to say about this as the book just really draws me in, in fact one of the owners of the book shop who set this whole thing up said that he stopped reading it because he felt that having to speed read it in time to read all the other books just didn’t do it justitce. To which I do agree. A book that is a must read, although maybe wait untill the paperback is out! 🙂