Hello everyone and welcome to another update on one of my bigger 2019 goals. Reading the entire shortlist of the 2018 Man Booker Prize. If you want some more information on this goal, you can read my first on the topic here: Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist 2019.
Anyway, this past year I have been slowly reading the 6 books on this short list and I previously shared my reading experience of the first 3 books I read, which were Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, Milkman by Anna Burns, and The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner. You can find my full thoughts on these books on my first update post called; Revisiting | Reading a Shortlist 2019. But, for the abrivated verson I will say I really enjoyed Washington Black, but was not thrilled by Milkman and The Mars Room and I was kinda starting to question this challenge/goal I had for myself. But, since I already owned two more of the books on this list, I decided to continue on. On the to the reviews and reflection!
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is going to be a really weird review. I liked the story, but the way it was portrayed irritated me. There are no ” marks, “You” is used so much, the POV was personally aggravating to read. Now all of these are personal preference and does not in any way mean that the book is bad, but it was very much not for me. Also, why do chapters have the same names? I didn’t know these things mattered go much to me until now.
If you read the first chapter of this book or a sample I feel like you will know right away if this book is for you or not.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a very interesting read for sure, I can see why it has won awards and shortlisted for others. The idea is very thought provoking, involving individuals who have a very strong with nature and more specifically the trees. At first all these stories seem unconnected, more like a short story collection, then slowly they start to come together as the need to protect the forest grows larger.
I have to say, I enjoyed the first half of this book more than the second half. The first half has so much of a personal connection with nature and trees and it was great learning about all of these families and individuals. For me it started to get less interesting when things got mushed together. I am not sure if it is because it seemed to be more “preachy” or the individual stories that drew me in kinda for the most part fell to the side and were only a plot device instead of the story. It seemed to loose the magic and the soul of the story.
With that aside the writing was done very well, I am curious to get into other works of this author.
The Long Take by Robin Robertson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I have to say that this is one of the better books shortlisted for the Man Book Prize in 2018. I really enjoyed the format being utilized, it really set the feeling of the story for me. This book really talks about a very difficult topic that many have to deal with PTSD and having known someone who suffered with it first hand, I feel like the author did a great job portraying how it can affect some people. PTSD affects many, but can affect each person differently.
This book really had a feel to it that I think sticks to a reader, I feel like I will bee thinking about it for sometime. It is encompassing and consuming in a way. I also like how the author portrays the internal feelings struggles of the main character to the external society/city. It was veery interesting to read. There are many dark topics in this novel/poem, so if PTSD, drug use, and other dark themes are something that can bother you, I would stay away. If that is not the case it is a powerful read for sure.
I feel like this second bunch of books from the short list I had a bit more success with over all. My last post I couldn’t even give star ratings to two of the books. I would say that in this group there are now two books I would recommend to people, The Long Take and The Overstory, but I would have to feel confident in the fact I know their likes and dislikes when it comes to reading. I feel like that is a pretty decent turn around. I find it ironic that I liked the books I put off more than the ones I was excited about.
That being said I would 100% do this challenge again, in fact I already added a lot of the books from the 2019 short list to my TBR and put in a wishlist at my local library. One thing I learned from this challenge is that I should get these books from the library. While there is no denying that they are well written books, I cannot say that I will enjoy the content every time. So, while I enjoy exploring new things, the library is my friend when it comes to this challenge.
Have or would you read any of these books?
Are you excited about the 2019 Man Booker Shortlisted books?