Hello and welcome to my first check in for my Read a Shortlist Challenge for 2020, you can find more details in my post, Reading Goals | 2020 Edition. In this post I am just going to be talking about the first two books I have read off of the shortlist of the Man Booker 2019 edition. In this installment I am going to be talking about my thoughts on Ducks, Newburyport and Girl, Woman, Other. This challenge is one of my favorite I do each year because it exposes me to books I would not have read otherwise and I always find a gem of a new author to read. Without further delay, onto the reviews!
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
This is a book I would have never tried to read if it was not on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. Saying that, you can most likely see I ended up giving this book 1 star. While the idea of this book did sound very appealing as soon as I started to read it a red flag for my personal reading tastes went up. The first few pages was just a never ending list with commas, never a period. The book was being told by someone who is just rambling on and on, which I can see is most likely a choice to get the feel for how thee narrator is feeling about life.
For me, this was so stress inducing for a few reasons. I felt like I was reading the equivalent to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder movie) taking the winners down the chocolate river through a tunnel. It was just getting more and more intense because I was reading faster and faster just trying to find a period. I. just wanted a natural stopping point to put the book down. The second being, I personally dislike stream of consciousness writing.
Mainly due to the formatting and how the author choose to write this book, I did not like it. But, thesee are mainly personal reasons and if any of these don’t bother you I say give it a go. Like I said the idea of this book is great, it was just ruined for me based upon the formatting.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Another book on my quest to read all the 2019 shortlisted books! I am pleased to say that reading this book was a very different experience than reading the previous book I read in this challenge. I truly loved the writing style of this book and how it was set up. The is a collection of short stories where all of the characters are connected in one way or another. I personally have never read a collection like this, but it made all the difference for me.
Every voice in this book has a powerful story to tell, each perspective is of an individuals who is minority in the Britain. Each one of the authors story was wonderfully written, their writing talent is truly something of wonder, their voice is strong and confident, which I truly enjoyed. As I read I was invested in the characters even though we were not with them the entire book. I tend to have difficulty doing this in short stories since we spend so little time with characters. But, the quality of these stories really elevated my reading experience. Also, really liked how the author discussed huge topics such as feminism, racism, different forms of abuse, love, and many more. I am thankful that this book was on the shortlist, because sadly this book is not talked about otherwise and it truly is a shame. I honestly think she should have been the only winner as well.
There you have it, my first two reviews for my read a shortlist challenge. One a personal dud and the other a wonderful and powerful read by an author I need to read more of ASAP. This often is the case for the Man Booker Prize, there are always books I end up hating and others I end up loving. At this point the score is 50/50 and I hope the loving score keeps going up.
Have you read either of these books? Are either of them on you TBR?
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