The Man Booker Prize

Man Booker definition:

Best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK <>

So this year I thought I would have another go at reading something off the Man Booker list. I have failed at every attempt over the last eight years. I’ve barely got past the first chapter. I find them just too damned difficult. Too wordy, worthy, literary and impenetrable. In The History Boys Alan Bennett has school teacher Hector explain how he:

…wants {his students} to learn language, words, but he doesn’t want them to adore words in a reverential way, he wants them to be part of literature  <>

This is how I feel about these books. I want to enjoy a Man Booker book in the same way as I would enjoy anything else I choose to read, not feel I have to revere the novels as great works of literature.

Anyway this time The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner seemed a good choice. I was a prison librarian and this was set around a prison. I felt I had some empathy with this book. I started to read with renewed hope and enthusiasm. I really wanted to do this, but I failed again! I read diligently up to p.81 and started to flag. I swapped to skim-reading for another 20 or so pages and then gave up. By then, as with other years I had lost my appetite for the Man Booker books. I couldn’t bring myself to try another off the list.

Talking to a colleague at work she was at a function where the speaker was one of the members of this year’s panel. The selection process obviously involved a lot of reading and to get through it in the allotted time frame, it basically meant she had to read a book a day. A tortuous process apparently. This gave me hope!

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