Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Judging Panels

I've no great intellect, I'm a lightweight really but I do like to read what I term 'quality books'. Okay, occasionally I've read chick-lit - although I once began a book by Penny Vincenzi that someone had given me and could not make it past page two. I've mildly enjoyed the odd Marion Keyes, think the Stephanie Plum saga is a load of twaddle and have never read a Jeffrey Archer or a Danielle Steele.

I've just read Arthur & George, a superb book by Julian Barnes. It was on the short list of last year's Booker award. I know nothing about the judging panels of these prestigious things. I don't want to know quite frankly. I can't imagine what their criteria might be.

Let me expand a moment. A couple of months ago I read The Sea by John Banville. This was last year's winning Booker book(what a bizarre phrase that is). It was I suppose a 'good book'. It was quite short. A book about loss and memories of youth. I didn't give it a second thought once I'd finished it. Now I'm wondering why Banville got the prize and Barnes didn't. Arthur & George works on so many different levels. I won't rehash the plot but it is a fictional book based on a true story. That of Arthur Conan-Doyle trying to get to the bottom of a miscarriage of justice.

Maybe the judges gave it to Banfield because they were so fed up with reading big books and his book was on the shorter side. Maybe they wanted someone Irish to win. Maybe Barnes has upset one or two of them. Who knows? Anyway, I'm now about to order all the Julian Barnes books that I've never read.


natural attrill said...

Well that's funny, someone lent me a Vincenzi book, and I couldnt read it either. I told this person I liked reading about people, and wanted somthing not too difficult, she lent me her book, but it was just such rubbish! (in my opinion), I couldnt concentrate on it at all.
I bought The Sea, not read it yet though.
For 'light' reading, I like Joanne Harris books, have you read any of hers?

French Fancy said...

Nope, not read any of hers. People keep telling me how good Agatha Christie books are but I've never read any. What about you?

natural attrill said...

Do try Joanne Harris, 5 quaters of the orange is good, set in France. I like all her books that I have read so far.

Agatha Christie, I read when I was a teenager, not really my sort of thing now, but we do watch Miss Marple on tv sometimes, Toby likes them.


French Fancy said...

I've never fancied any Agatha books but I have a very good friend who has written quite a scholarly tome about her which recently got published. Since my friend is my intellectual benchmark for how good a thing is considered, then I reckon I might be missing quite a good literary structuralist. (can't you just tell I've recently become a student!)

marc aurel said...

Arthut and George: I hardly ever read fiction. I have a slightly highfelluting (sp?) boss who says things like the book being so much better than the film. Anyway he said I should read the Barnes and there it was at the airport. The flight across the Atlantic was one of the best ever and a very rainy holiday in England made delightful. Also I own and love the video of Metroland. Then, on the way home, I picked up the Golden Compass and am still engrossed in The Amber Spyglass. I am a very slow reader, so my pleasure spins out.

French Fancy said...

I didn't know Metroland had been made into a film. I must check it out, thanks for that Marc.