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The Orange Prize

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht won the 2011 Orange Prize. At 25 she is the youngest person to win the prize. Apparently the judges were up half the night trying to decide who would win, so although I didn’t pick the correct winner I was at least right about the fact they’d have trouble deciding! The Tiger’s Wife wasn’t to my taste, but if you like adult fairy tales and meandering plots then you’re bound to love it!

Bookish Links

Translator Stephen Snyder on Yoko Ogawa, Haruki Murakami, and the Business of International Literature.

Listen to The Gardener – a new short story written by David Mitchell.

Are women’s hardbacks dying?

Tourist sells 3 Euro book for 8000 Euros

A six-year-old boy has raised £17,000 for the hospital treating his baby brother by drawing things in exchange for donations. He has just got a book deal – take a look at his very cute website.

House collapsing under weight of rescued books.

Film News

We Need to Talk About Kevin film is “difficult to watch but impossible to turn away from,”

The Help trailer has been released – it looks fantastic! 

I’m looking forward to watching both of these, but while I’m sure The Help will be entertaining I am a bit worried about how We Need to Talk About Kevin will work on the big screen.

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  1. Graham says:

    I am half way through The Tiger’s Wife at the moment and definately enjoying it so far.

    1. Jackie says:

      Graham, If you like it so far then I’m sure you’ll love the rest of it. Enjoy!

  2. Steph says:

    I had a strong feeling The Tiger’s Wife would win… it just seems to be such a critical darling that I knew it would make the short list and then was confident it would go on to win. I guess this means I really have to read it now! ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, I look forward to seeing what you make of it – I can’t decide which side of the fence you’ll be on :-)

  3. Annabel says:

    I didn’t enjoy (or finish) The Tiger’s Wife. Was rather surprised when it won.

    Kevin has Tilda Swinton as the mother. That’s scary!

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, Snap! Although I’m not that surprised it won – a lot of people seem to love it.

      I’m not familiar with Tilda Swinton, but the photos of her as Kevin’s mum look like she is well cast in that role. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it is good.

  4. FleurFisher says:

    I’m not overly surprised or thrilled that The Tiger’s Wife won, but I can live with it. For me it had many great elements that didn’t quite come together. I do wonder if things might have worked out differently is the award for new writers was still around…

    1. Jackie says:

      FleurFisher, That is a very good point. I wonder if Evie Wyld would have made the short list/won if the New Writers Award hadn’t existed when her book was published.

  5. I’ve just started reading The Tiger’s Wife, and am enjoying it so far. Only 35 pages or so in at the moment, so might be too early to tell. I do like adult fairy tales though…

    Wow! 350k books?! I can’t even begin to imagine how many books that must be. I would love to have the first edition of Black Beauty though…

    As for films: I’d love to see We Need To Talk About Kevin, considering I thought the book was absolutely fantastic.

    1. I haven’t read The Tigers Wife yet but I’m really surprised it won as I’ve read some less than positive things on it. I find it interesting what Fleur Fisher said, perhaps it would be very different if the award for new writers was still around. Personally I really thought it would be between Annabel, Grace William’s say it Loud, or Room.

    2. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, I think it was about the 50 page mark that I began to lose interest in The Tiger’s Wife, but I’m not a fan of adult fairy tales so you may be OK.

      I can’t imagine 350K books either. I must have close to 10K in my house now (I sell second hand books online) and that is mad enough. Don’t think I could physically fit that many in this house, let alone try to live in it.

  6. The Stephen Snyder article is fascinating – thank so much for linking to it! I had never considered Japanese literature as a commodity and that it is potentially translated into a clearer/cheerier package for Western audiences… intriguing. Have you read Ogawa? I seem to remember you reading The Housekeeper and the Professor but Hotel Iris is also very good and less “gentle” for you; I also have The Diving Pool and been meaning to read those (novellas).

    I attended the Orange readings on Monday night and had a feeling Obreht might take it, although I still thought Krauss and Donoghue were the front-runners.

    I’m slightly amazed that you aren’t familiar with Tilda Swinton! She’s the Ice Queen in Chronicles of Narnia, for a start… Let’s just say that it is inspired casting. I’m with you though in being concerned how it will translate to the big-screen but glad it has the Lionel Shriver seal of approval. The Help should be fun; I think I’ll try to see it with my mother-in-law as she loved the book (at my recommendation!)

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I haven’t read any Ogawa yet, but have owned Housekeeper for ages. It is about time I read it, so I’ve just added it to my sidebar -right at the top of my TBR pile. :-)

      I didn’t realise that Tilda Swinton was the ice queen – I am not very good at noting which actors plays which parts – I have enough trouble trying to remember the names of people I meet in real life!

      I’m glad you made it to the Orange readings. Hopefully I’ll enjoy the shortlist enough to make the effort to go next year :-)

  7. Amy says:

    I just read in a newsletter about The Tiger’s Wife winning the Orange Prize and I wondered what you had thought about the book, Jackie. I haven’t read it and don’t know much about it. The judges certainly had a tough time choosing…I’m always curious about how & why certain books are chosen. I don’t know much about The Tiger’s Wife but I noticed reviews aren’t all positive around the book blog community although the book seems to be a critical darling.
    I don’t think the book is for me since fairy tales and meandering plots aren’t at the top of my list of things I look for in a book. The strange thing is, I haven’t been all that interested in The Tiger’s Wife since I first read about it. I guess deep down something about the title or what I read (but don’t remember!) made no connection with me!

    Thank you for the link to the David Mitchell story and the article about the film We Need to Talk About Kevin.
    The Help trailer is great!

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, It sounds as though Tiger’s Wife isn’t for you. I’m afraid I can’t answer your questions about why it was chosen – I guess that the judges just enjoyed it the most. These things are all so subjective though – all the books were of a high standard and I think all of them deserved to win this year.

      I’m glad you liked my links. Let’s hope the films are wonderful to watch :-)

  8. Bellezza says:

    I loved the Jack and his drawings! I bookmarked that site to show my class in the fall. I often wonder why we lose the ability to draw, although admittedly not quite as well as he, when we get older.

    Also, what an amazing story of the books. It’s so sad there’s no place for them, but I can see that the sheer amount would be unsurmountable. Or, un-sellable.

  9. Kathleen says:

    I’m not a big fan of meandering plots but will probably read this one at some point since it won the Orange and I’m curious about the author and her writing style.

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