Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Booker Prize Winners

I am doing the rounds of this particular list only now.

Of course, I am ashamed to admit that I have only recently gone about this scientifically, as it were. Earlier, books fell into my lap, and it just so happened that some of them were Booker Prize Winners. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Roddy Doyle) was discovered in this fashion – rather it was discovered after I read Doyle’s The Snapper, (a book, incidentally that I regretted borrowing, but only for the first fifteen pages).

Disgrace (JM Coetzee) was lent by a friend – who I found out, later, was an avid Bookers’ follower. Which meant that in spite of my innately random approach to reading, I was indirectly following the Bookers.

Of course the first one I read, (consciously, knowing that it was Booker Prize Winner) was Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things. It’s quite the fashion to revile it now – but it is one of the most readable and poetic things I had come across then, and I still remember my excitement mounting page by page.

One reason why I’ve taken this approach is that Booker Prize fiction, by and large is of good quality. I loved Possession (AS Byatt) for instance. The Line of Beauty, not so much, but it was still better than your run of the mill book and quite thought provoking. Though it’s about the 80s, it reminds me more of the early 90s, when India was still perhaps in the 80s. Life of Pi actually disrupted my sleep for two days. Vernon God Little had me laughing and drawing parallels with American life.

What I mean is, for every five or ten Booker Prize winners you read, you’ll find one that’s just unforgettable. And so now, I’ve actually taken a printout of the winning novels. Though I still pick at random from within this list, as fancy takes me – I now have a purpose to my reading and I feel as though I’ve a struck a secret deal with someone.

1 comment:

Jay said...

I guess the Pulitzers are also worth following..