Last year, I challenged myself to reading the entirety of the long-list for the Orange Prize. Needless to say, I failed miserably (I think I got up to 12 in the end), but I read some fantastic books, including the eventual winner, Madeline Miller's Song of Achilles. So I was excited at the announcement of this year's long-list in the week and whilst I'm not going to challenge myself or put myself under any kind of pressure to read all of them, I hope to get through a decent number. Here are my thoughts on the titles selected:
1. The Innocents by Francesca Segal - This is a rewrite of Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence' set in an insular Jewish community in London. This title was already on my wishlist as I love to read about Jewish culture/history, so I went ahead and reserved it at the library. I'm number 17 on the list, so I could be waiting a while.
2. N-W by Zadie Smith - I don't know how I haven't read this book yet as 1) I love Zadie Smith and 2) I'm from London, although the North East part rather than the North West. I'm number 1 on the reserve list for this title, so expect a review shortly. I'm expecting this to make the short-list.
3. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver - I'm a Kingsolver fan but something about the plot of this one (rural Appalachian mountains, young mother trying to find herself) doesn't appeal to me as much as her other stories have. But I will read it (I'm number 18 in the list) as I'll be mighty shocked if this isn't short-listed, given that Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna were.
4. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - So excited for this book, lots of bloggers I trust have published early reviews stating that it is wonderful. Who hasn't thought about getting a second chance at life? My library has a copy on order but the reserve list is ginormous, so I've treated myself to the kindle edition. I'll be reading this soon.
5. A Trick I Learned From Dead Men by Kitty Aldridge - This is supposedly a sad yet funny story centered around a funeral home, but it doesn't really appeal to me. I'll probably give this one a miss.
6. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - This is the one book on the list I've actually read, and I didn't like it. But then, I didn't really like Wolf Hall either. Mantel has won so many prizes now I would like to see someone else get a look in.
7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - I know this book has had rave reviews State-side, but it doesn't appeal to me as I'm not a thriller reader.
8. The People of Forever are not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu - This is about three friends conscripted into the Israeli army. I've requested it from Netgalley, fingers crossed I'm approved.
9. The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber - A novel in verse about Marlowe actually being Shakespeare - yes please! I'm number 2 in the reserve list for this, can't wait!
10. The Red Book by Deborah Copaken Kogan - I'd love to read this story of a Harvard college reunion, but unfortunately it's not in my library system.
11. May we be Forgiven by A. M. Homes and 12. How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti - I won't be reading these titles.
13. Ignorance by Michele Roberts - I've read too many world war two books to be overly excited by this one set in France. I will read it if it makes the short-list.
14. The Forrests by Emily Perkins - This appears to be a book people love or hate. I've reserved it so will get to find out soon for myself.
15. Lamb by Bonnie Nadzam - The subtitle of this one is 'Tommie is eleven, David Lamb is fifty-four. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?' It's not in my local library system yet.
16. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman - Another book that was already on my wishlist thanks to rave blogger reviews. I'll be reading this soon.
17. Honour by Elif Shafak - I already have a Netgalley copy of this story of a Turkish family living in London. I'm going to be reading this with Jo.
18. Where'd you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple - Like Gone Girl, this has had a big impact in the USA. I will probably read it at some point.
19. Alife the Unseen by G.Willow Wilson - This is unlike any other book on the list as it's about Arabian hackers. Therefore, I'm looking forward to reading it!
20. Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany - I would be mightily shocked if this made it to the short-list. I'm giving it a miss.
Have you read any of these books?
Do you intend to?