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.