Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced Today


The Man Booker Prize might be my favorite of the big literary awards… don’t tell the National Book Award or Pulitzer Prize committees!  I suppose I still look to the Mother Country for some important things, such as royal babies, fabulous boy bands like One Direction, and great picks in literature.  In years past, the Man Booker Prize was awarded to the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.  This year, there’s been a huge change:  now any book written in English and published in the United Kingdom may receive the award.  It’s been called a “game changer” for the Award and has generated no small amount of controversy.

For excellent summaries of each nominee, plus author profiles, see the official Man Booker Prize website.  I’ve reviewed two of the books – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler, Nashville’s All-City Read this year, and To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, by Joshua Ferris.  I’m only going to link to the second review, because I think it’s definitely more fun to read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves without knowing quite so much about it.

Without further ado, this year’s nominees are:


cover134.Neel Mukherjee-The Lives Of Others  coverTo Rise Again At A Decent Hour cover - Copy











83.Ali Smith-How to be both jacket132.Richard Flanagan-The Narrow Road To The Deep North cover129.Howard Jacobson-J cover


  1. It’s interesting to me that you love the Booker Prize winners — I’m much more of a Pulitzer Prize girl myself. It’s interesting to me how the various prize committees (and the books they value) are truly different. I find the Booker winners tend to have a much less linear storytelling style — there’s often a mystical, dreamlike quality, or an unreliable narrator, or a circuitous structure. Given a choice, I always choose the Pulitzers. But if you recommend We are All Completely Beside Ourselves, I’ll try it. And I’m going to go back to the Hilary Mantle books — I couldn’t get into them, and abandoned the first one 50 pages in, but so many people I know adored them, I’ll give them another shot.

  2. I think that for me, reading a Booker Prize winner often feels comfortably exotic, if that makes any sense. Plus, I guess it has often given me my cross-the-Pond fix. I’m a casual Anglophile, easily satisfied. I always mean to get more serious about that. I do think it’s worth it to slog through Wolf Hall. Once you get used to the voice, it reads a little easier – a lot like Dickens, I think. I’m sure you’re aware that Bring Up the Bodies is an easier and better read in some ways – the prose style at least – but the story just isn’t as compelling. I would love to know what you’re reading right now, Sara!! Thank you so much for your comment and please do let me know! xo

  3. ” I suppose I still look to the Mother Country for some important things, such as royal babies, fabulous boy bands like One Direction, and great picks in literature.” – classic, Jennifer! I’m rooting for We are Completely Beside Ourselves, and have already pegged Rise Again at a Decent Hour based on your review, but I have a backlog. I don’t know how you do it. I have about 6 book reviews to write (don’t have a blog for it but vowed that this year I’d write Goodreads or Amazon reviews for everything I read, as a way to keep track of it for myself) and can’t get around to it.

  4. Sine, you are always so kind and encouraging. I really appreciate you following Bacon and commenting! And I love it when JoBurg Expat arrives in my mailbox! I look forward to your book signing for Kilimanjaro Diaries at Parnassus on September 23d and hope to see you up at school before then.

Leave a Reply