Booker Prize Other Pulitzer Prize

The Bookworms Carnival # 26: Book Awards and Prizes

Michelle from 1morechapter has done a great job in compiling the latest edition of the  Bookworms Carnival. The theme this time is book awards and prizes. I was lucky enough to have my article Booker or Pulitzer? accepted to the carnival – Thank you Michellle!

Please go and have a look at all the other great articles in the carnival!



Booker Prize Other Pulitzer Prize

Which prize do you prefer – Pulitzer or Booker?

I love reading prize winning books, and often try to compare them, to decide which prize produces the best novels.

The Pulitzer v. Booker prize is probably the most debated combination, and it has added rivalry of being American authors against Commonwealth ones.


There are many different ways to analyse the prizes, but I thought it would be interesting to compare the winners for each year. I have listed them for the past ten years, and highlighted my favourite of the two in bold. I have to admit that I haven’t read all twenty of the books below, so where I haven’t read both books I have awarded it to the one I think I’d prefer.

1999 – Michael Cunningham v. J.M. Coetzee
2000 – Jhumpa Lahiri v. Margaret Atwood
2001 – Michael Chabon v. Peter Carey
2002 – Richard Russo v. Yann Martel
2003 – Jeffrey Eugenides v. DBC Pierre
2004 – Edward P. Jones v. Alan Hollinghurst
2005 – Marilynne Robinson v. John Banville
2006 – Geraldine Brooks v. Kiran Desai
2007 – Cormac McCarthy v. Anne Enright
2008 – Junot Diaz v. Aravind Adiga

The results show that I prefer the Pulitzer in seven of the ten years, and in the three years that the Booker produced the best one, I think the result was so close, that if asked the same question on another day I might change my mind! Looking back further into the history of the awards it appears that the Pulitzer generally seems to be the more interesting book, although I have read less of them, so it is harder to tell.

I think the reason that I have found the Pulitzer prize winners so much better is that they tend to have more complex plots, and often a powerful social theme underlying them. It is this thought provoking moral message that often leads me to remember the book vividly months, or even years after I have finished reading it.

In many cases I have found the winner of the Booker prize to be very disappointing. The Bookers tend to be less plot driven, and more character based. The language appears to be given a higher priority than any storyline, so they often have beautiful sentences, but the book as a whole is disappointing, and instantly forgettable.

The main problem with all the prizes is that they are so subjective. Unless you find a prize where the judge has the same taste in books as you, and this judge doesn’t change each year, then you are always going to find that the winners will vary in how much you love them.

My favourite book is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. This was short listed for the Booker prize in 1996, and I’d love to hear an explanation from the judges as to why it didn’t win. A Fine Balance did win the Giller Prize, but looking through the list I haven’t read any of the other Giller winners. Perhaps the Giller Prize is the best one out there, and it just hasn’t had enough publicity. I’ll have to read a few of them to find out!

Do you prefer the Booker or the Pulitzer prize?


More awards!


Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This! has honoured me with this proximidade award. Thank you so much Sandy! If you haven’t visited her blog before, then I recommend you go and take a look now, as her reviews are always so informative, and I love the way she includes her children in reviews of  books for younger people.

The Proximidade Award is described in this way: “This blog invests and believes in the Proximity – nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!


 Beth from Beth Fish Reads has also presented me with the Zombie Chicken Award. I love Beth’s blog; her reviews are always well thought out, and i love her audiobook recommendations. Here’s what the Zombie Chicken Award is all about:

“The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…”

I’d hate to find out what zombie chickens do when they’re cross, so I’d like to nominate the following blogs for this unusual award:

B&B Ex-Libris



Rebecca Reads

Stone Soup

All of the above have entertained me with great book related postings over the past month. Thank you!

Please don’t feel you have to blog about the award – I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your hard work.


March Summary

I can’t believe March is over already – it has flown by so quickly! I read a total of 12 books, plus my first graphic novel, and one audio book.  I also completed my first challenge  The Victorian Challenge.

My March Reads

My first graphic novel: Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
One audio book: Getting Rid of Matthew – Jane Fallon

It was a very mixed bag for me. There were a few amazing books in there, but also some terrible ones! I look forward to reading some more great books in April.


Buy a Friend a Book Week – Giveaway!

I’ve just discovered that it is Buy a Friend a Book Week. To celebrate I’m going to give away a well-loved copy of Ingenious Pain by Andrew Miller.

The book is set in the mid-18th century and follows the central character,  James Dyer, through England, Europe and Russia. James Dyer is a fascinating character, who is incapable of feeling physical pain. This is a gripping book that questions whether it is better to feel pain, or never know what it is like to experience it. It is one of my favourite books, but you don’t just have to take my word for it, other people think it is amazing too –  it won the James Tait Black Memorial prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1997.

This is an international giveaway.

In order to enter, just leave a comment below AND one somewhere else on my blog before midnight on Wednesday 8th April.

Good luck!


Time….for your thoughts!

Simon from Savage Reads challenged us to answer these time related questions, so here are my answers:

What time do you find the best time to read?
I generally read all evening; once my boys are in bed I have a few hours to relax, have a bath and read until it’s time for bed.

What are you spending time reading right now?

Gone with the Wind is taking up most of my time now. I’m really enjoying it, but the type is tiny!

What’s the best book with time in the title you have read?
The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, I can’t actually think of any others, but as this is in my top 25 I know it is the best.

What is your favourite time (as in era) to read novels based in?
I like reading about periods in history that I know nothing about. The more obscure the country, or time the better.

What book could you read time and time again?
I’m afraid I don’t like reading books more than once, so I’d have to say something like my favourite cook book: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage Meat Book

What recently published book do you think deserves to become a classic in Time?

A Fine Balance (see below) or Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

What book has been your biggest waste of time?
Lord of the Rings – I really tried to like it. I spent months trying to read it, but only made it to the end of Fellowship of the Ring. I’m afraid it just wasn’t for me. 

What big book would you recommend to others to spend time reading if they haven’t?
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth’s Children)by Jean Auel is a very big book, but is well worth reading. The research that has gone into this book is phenomenal. If you want to experience what like was life for early man then this book is the best I’ve found.

What’s your favourite read of all time?
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. The characters are well drawn, the plot is amazing, and it is packed with emotion. I can still remember is all vividly. Please read it as soon as you can!

Who is your favourite author of all time?
This is a difficult one, as it involves all the books they’ve published. I think it would have to be David Mitchell, as he is one of the few authors I have read, and enjoyed all his books. I can see Sarah Waters or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie joining the list soon though.

I’d love to see your answers to these questions, so if you have the time please have a go, and let Simon know too!