It’s one year since I joined my first reading challenge. I was reeled in by the Award Winners Challenge, the idea being to read 12 award-winning novels in 12 months. I had stacks of bookers, pulitzers and daggers, costas, edgars vying for my attention. So I signed up and a reading challenge addiction was born. (See the sidebar for all the proof you need.)
Never one to do things by halves, I completed this challenge two-and-a-half times instead! My final tally was 30 books read, 28 books reviewed.
1 Gone With The Wind (1936 Pulitzer Prize)
2 Sacred Hunger (1992 Booker Prize)
3 The Lizard Cage (2007 Orange Debut Prize)
4 The Boy and The Sea (2007 Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year)
5 Consolation (2007 Toronto Book Award)
6 Mister Pip (2007 Commonwealth Writer’s Award)
7 The Tenderness of Wolves (2006 Costa Book of the Year)
8 Joseph Knight (2002 Saltire Book Award)
9 The Trick Is To Keep Breathing (1989 MIND/Allen Lane Award)
10 Foreign Parts (1994 McVities Scottish Writer of the Year Award)
11 A Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam (2006 Long Barn Books First Novel Award)
12 The Shoe Tester of Frankfurt (2004 Georg-Buechner Prize)
13 Restless (2006 Costa Novel of the Year)
14 The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955 Authors Club First Novel)
15 Set In Stone (2006 Costa Children’s Novel of the Year)
16 The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox (2007 Good Housekeeping Novel of the Year)
17 What Was Lost (2007 Costa Debut Novel of the Year)
18 The Bower Bird (2007 Costa Children’s Novel of the Year)
19 The Stone Diaries (1993 Governor General’s Prize for English Fiction / 1995 Pulitzer)
20 Fall On Your Knees (1997 Commonwealth Debut Writer’s Award)
21 The Road (2007 Pulitzer Prize / 2006 James Tait Black Memorial Prize)
22 The Great Victorian Collection (1975 James Tait Black Memorial Prize / Governor General’s Award for English Language Fiction 1975)
23 The Secret River (2006 Commonwealth Writers Best Novel)
24 Death In Rome (1993 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation)
25 Fault Lines (2006 Prix Femina)
26 Pack of Lies (1989 Carnegie Prize)
27 The Oxford Murders (2003 Planeta Prize)
28 The Blue Flower (1997 National Book Circle Critics Award)
29 The Lost Honour of Katherina Blum (1972 Nobel Peace Prize)
30 The Colour of Blood (1988 Canadian Authors Association Prize)
Perhaps a quick word about the two books I didn’t review.
Geraldine McCaughrean’s Pack of Lies was as inventive and entertaining as The White Darkness. However, I listened to the unabridged audio at a time when the driving trips were particularly short and therefore, the listening experience very disjointed. So I didn’t remember the detail at the end, particularly as I performed no emergency stops to take a note when something particularly pleasing had occurred. I do remember thinking I wish I still had a small child to share this with. That’s as good a recommendation I can make regarding a children’s book.
Kate Greville’s The Secret River, an enjoyable read but lacking a certain edge to make it truly brilliant. It was a book group read. Our main criticisms were that the London section had been done before and much better by a certain Mr Dickens. The Australian sections never truly lived up to the menace. We couldn’t see that the tensions between the aborigines and the settlers would take so long to truly ignite. Yet when they did, some of the group felt that it was all too brutal. We are a demanding group, we want cake and then we want to eat it too! But there are 20 of us. Which way can you cut a cake to keep us all happy?
Anyway back to the original challenge. I had as much fun exploring the awards themselves as I did the books. My choices representing a staggering 28 different awards. All of which puts me in a good position for Award Winners II, which restricts the readers to only two novels from any one award list. That won’t be a problem – I have a number of translated fiction titles from around Europe lined up and I also intend visiting the Edgars and the Daggers this time around. Very much looking forward to this. If you want to join in the fun, you can do so here.