The Complete Booker 2010 Challenge

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The Complete Booker originated in August, 2007 to bring together book lovers and bloggers interested in reading winners of The Man Booker Prize for Fiction

This year the blog is hosting a challenge – it runs from January 1 – December 31, 2010.

There are several levels of participation:

Winners Circle: read at least 6 winners

Contender: read at least 6 short listed nominees

Longshot: read at least 6 long listed nominees

Booker Devotee: choose a year, and read all 6 shortlisted works from that year

Booker Fanatic: choose a year, and read all 13 long- and shortlisted works from that year

I love the Booker prize and so I am going to try to be an over-achiever for this challenge. I plan to complete all the levels of participation!

I am going to read all 13 books longlisted for the prize in 2010 and will hopefully manage to strike off the other levels at the same time. It is going to be a challenge, but hopefully one I’ll manage.

Here is my list of the Bookers I’ve read so far.

Are there any years you’d prefer me to complete?

Which is your favourite Booker book?


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40 Comments

  1. cbjames says:

    This sounds like fun. Pick one year and read everything on the short list. I’ll have to find a good year, or at least one with nothing I have already read.

    1. Jackie says:

      cbjames, I think 2007 was an interesting year – I’ve read most books from that list though – I hope you find a good year to try.

  2. Lu says:

    Of all the Booker winners I’ve read, I haven’t found one I love. So if I join this challenge (probable), I will most likely pick the longlist category. Just because I get grouchy about who they actually pick every year. What’s a good year to choose? You said 2007, any others that strike you as interesting?

    1. Jackie says:

      Lu, I think 2002 or 2003 would make good lists to try, but I’d like to do an earlier one, as I haven’t heard much about the books from the older lists. Have you tried Oscar and Lucinda or The Bone People? I thought they were both great books and you might enjoy them.

  3. why am I so not surprised that you’re doing this? ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      J.T, I do like to be predictable sometimes!

  4. Sandy says:

    Right, this is a shocker Jackie! I’m lucky if I read one Booker (it really makes me wonder what I AM reading all year…) so I can live vicariously through you!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, I really want to read more Bookers and felt I didn’t read enough this year. Hopefully I can correct that next year and persuade you to read a few more!

      1. Sandy says:

        Oh, you make me chuckle! You didn’t read ENOUGH????? I think you read more Bookers this year than I will read in my whole life! OK, I will try really hard to read a few more this next year!

        1. Jackie says:

          Sandy, I think I only read 2 Booker winners in 2009 – I’d like to read a few more in 2010. Good luck – I hope you manage to read a few.

  5. diane says:

    You always impress me with your commitment to reading great books. Good luck; I may need to join this one as well. good luck

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks Diane! I hope that you decide to join me.

  6. Mome Rath says:

    Of the three winners I’ve read that you haven’t read yet, I liked Midnight’s Children the best, for the concept of a generation of change being born at the moment of India’s independence. Very well told story that at times is so rich in description that you wonder when the plot will move forward (but Rushdie is kind enough to put teasers in to keep readers invested). Looks like you’ve got some great reading ahead of you next year.
    Incidentally, what did you think of The Famished Road?

    1. Jackie says:

      Mome Rath, I’ve actually read Midnight’s Children – sorry forgot to update that page. I can’t say I really enjoyed it – a bit too weird for me. The writing is amazing, but I like to know what is happening a bit more!

      I loved The Famished Road! It was challenging in places, but I loved the African mythology – fantastic book!

      1. Mome Rath says:

        I can understand how you might find Midnight’s Children a strange tale; you wouldn’t be the first. I think because I’d already read both Roy’s The God of Small Things and a children’s book by Rushdie that I was prepared for how Rushdie told the story. I also found Midnight’s Children the most enjoyable of the three, though I wonder what I would have thought if I’d read The God of Small Things second.
        Hope you enjoyed the wedding over the weekend!

  7. Good luck! All levels of participation sound exciting. I don’t think there’s a particular year that jumps out at me but from the winners/nominees I’d highly recommend Midnight’s Children, Time’s Arrow, Disgrace and The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve read a few Pulitzer winners recently (reviews pending) and intend to return to the Bookers in the New Year (probably the Winners Circle).

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I hope that Disgrace will be the next Booker I read and I like the sound of Time’s Arrow.

      I do need to read more Pulitzers too. I hope that next year I am able to read more prize winning books.

  8. Beth F says:

    Hope you find some gems! Sounds like a super challenge, but I’m not joining!

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, Sorry to hear you’re not joining – hopefully I’ll be able to persuade you to read one or two though…

  9. Simon S says:

    Love the idea for this challenge as we discussed earlier in the year we are both very keen to read all the winners. I wont personally join in this one because I have found challenges demotivate me, I start to feel like I have to read certain books which takes the fun out of it for me personally. Good luck though.

    1. Jackie says:

      Simon, I love challenges as I like a bit of motivation to read things – sometimes random choices leads to apathy. I don’t put any pressure on myself though, I will be happy if I don’t quite make it – as long as I read a good number.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Crap–another challenge I want to join! I think I will probably complete the Winner’s Circle, because quite a few books I want to read already are Booker winners: Wolf Hall, The Sea, The White Tiger, The Gathering–to name a few.

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, You have a mixed bag there – some I loved and some I didn’t. I look forward to finding out what you make of them.

  11. Okay, now I’m certain that you’ve lost your marbles somewhere ;) Well, I hope I can help by discouraging you to read Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (such a good writer — has written such a lousy book).

    The Gathering is… good. The Inheritance of Loss… didn’t do much for me (I had a hard time staying focussed). Life of Pi… GREAT! Even though I thought I wouldn’t like it beforehand ;)

    Maybe I’ll get back to you with some other recommendations!

    1. Jackie says:

      Gnoe, I’m afraid I’ve alread read Amsterdam and agree with you. At least it was quite short!

      I loved The Gathering and Life of Pi. Hopefully I’ll get round to The Inheritance of Loss next year.

      I’m sure I’ve lost my marbles!

      1. Stewart says:

        Shame. I often think Amsterdam gets such a poor rep is because it’s not Atonement. Which is silly.

        It’s hard to know where Gnoe is coming from in calling it ‘a lousy book’ without qualifying it, as it doesn’t really reveal anything.

        1. Hm, well Jackie has read it and agrees ;)

          Amsterdam came before Atonement so that’s not the reason why I dislike it. As far as I can remember (it’s 12 years ago!) the thing that bothered me most was that it depicts a situation which could *not* really happen, but is *exactly* what foreigners fear & hold against our euthanasia policy. Yes, I live in Holland ;)

          It is hard to find the right words since English is not my native language. But I believe that McEwan could and should have done better with an important topic like this. The outcome could have been the same but at least it should have been believable for Dutch people ;) Still being vague because I don’t want to give anything away. I hope I haven’t already :\ That’s why I didn’t expand, also because I did not want to write several reviews in the comments of Jackie’s post. Because you didn’t ask why I liked The Gathering and Life of Pi. Nor did you comment why you think Amsterdam *is* a good book.

          1. Stewart says:

            Thank you, Gnoe. I never said Amsterdam was a good book. I was just interested in why it was lousy. I’m not the biggest McEwan fan anyway, having (to date) only read Amsterdam (after two attempts), Saturday, and On Chesil Beach. Nice prose, but never incisive enough and hooked more on the idea than the possibilities. I actually remember nothing but the merest whiff of Amsterdam, even though I was receptive to it. So I’m afraid I can’t say much, if anything. I think I will revisit it this year: why not?

            Truth be told I was just caught by Jackie’s agreement that it was a lousy book, but was willing to bet the reasons for thinking so were different. :D

          2. Jackie says:

            Stewart/Gnoe, I remember very little about Amsterdam and I only read it 18 months ago! I think the characters just failed to engage me. I always seem to feel distanced from McEwan’s books and I like to form strong emotional attachments to the characters I read about. I think the fact I don’t remember much about what happens is proof that this book wasn’t powerful enough to make more than the slightest impression on me.

  12. Stephanie says:

    I will probably be competing at all levels also. I would recommend reading The Sea, The Sea and The Remains of the Day for the winners circle. As for a year, I think I’m going to select 2002, as I enjoyed the Life of Pi and absolutely loved Fingersmith, so I figure maybe that was just a good year. I only have thirteen Booker Winners left to go, mostly the early winners. What did you think of The Elected Member and G.?

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, 2002 looks like a great year, as I loved those 2 books too. I’m going to try to complete a year from scratch though, so need to find an earlier year.

      I loved The Elected Member, but thought G was terrible. G was packed with sex and I think it was just trying to be contraversial. It isn’t shocking nowadays, just seems stupid.

      Good luck with your challenge!

  13. Stephanie says:

    Oops, sorry for the double post, I thought it didn’t go through the first time.

  14. I’ll probably be doing six winners, or six shortlisted. Would be great if I could do both, but, I doubt I’ll be able to.

    Favorites on the shortlist include: Fingersmith, Never Let Me Go, Mister Pip, Family Matters, Atonement, Numer9Dream, A Fine Balance… it goes on and on!

    Favorite winner would be Schindler’s Ark. There’s no “or” there.

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, That is a great selection of books! I’ve loved all the ones you mention, but need to read Never Let Me go and Family Matters soon. I haven’t read Schindler’s Ark yet either – hopefully I’ll fit that in next year.

  15. Stujallen says:

    I ve reafd about 30 of the list of shortlists including this years ,some of the older ones may be hard to find and out fashion , got amis jake thing have try read that ,got my own challenge next year but will do the shortlist again as that was interesting this year just hope there a bit shorter this year ,good luck ,stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stujallen, Bookers can be hard to find, but I’ve been collecting them for a few years and so now own about 50 – 75% of them. They often turn up at jumble sales!
      Good luck with your challenge – I hope that they are shorter this year too!

  16. Laura says:

    Well I’m really late to this post — I don’t know how I missed it in my Google Reader! Thanks for joining the challenge! You’ve set a really ambitious goal and I’m looking forward to following your progress!!

  17. This sounds like a great challenge, Jackie and I’ll probably attempt it.

    Just a couple of questions:
    1. The Winner’s Circle – is that 6 winners from the same year, or various years?
    2. Are crossovers from other challenges allowed?

    Thanks for a great blog!

  18. This is a fantastic challenge! I love the idea of completing it, but I don’t know how realistic it is for me … I’m thinking about it …

    Good luck to you, in any case; enjoy your reading!

  19. Kimberly says:

    I just heard about this challenge and am so excited to get started! I’ve only read “White Tiger” (2008) so far, so I have a lot of work to do!

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