The Count Down

In just eight days – EIGHT DAYS – Man Booker Prize judges will announce their long list of finalists.

Can I tell you that this is better than Christmas?

It totally is.


If you don’t know, Man Booker is a literary prize awarded to a British author each year. On July 25 the committee of judges announces a “long list” of finalists. In 2011 there were 13 books on the long list. On September 11, the judges reveal their short list,  from which  — ta da! – they choose the big winner. The winner is announced October 16.

Last year, I and my lifelong friend Dan Campbell read every long-list finalist we could get our hands on. The result was some of the best, most entertaining reading I experienced in 2011. So this year, Dan and I are going to do it again.

I cannot wait.

So join us.

If you join us, you will understand why I was so pissed when the American Pulitzer committee could not come up with a single book good enough to win its fiction award. You will see that there are scores of good books published in England – enough to produce a list. And you will wonder, why doesn’t the United States have enough books to receive a single Pulitzer Prize?

And you will suspect that of course, it does. You will decide the Pulitzer Committee is simply lame. Lame. Lame. Lame.

So join us – and by us, I mean me and Dan Campbell — on our literary odyssey, reading the best literature the United Kingdom has to offer.

A couple things to know:

  1.  Not every book on the list will be available in the United States. This seems very, very stupid — anyone heard about that Global Village thing? — but that is reality. So we’ll only worry about books you can get in this country.
  2. Last year, the winning book, “A Sense of an Ending,” was not available in the United States.
  3. It was worth waiting for. Still, how could we make our selection of the best book when the best book of the year was unavailable? It completely throws off the betting.

As soon as the list comes out (in EIGHT DAYS! Did I mention that?), we’ll announced which book you should begin reading. Then, it’s up to you to tell us what you think. If you don’t, well, we’ll have enough opinions without you. Still, it would be more fun if you participate.

6 thoughts on “MAN BOOKER MADNESS

  1. Not a timely post, I know. I’ve got my own list of things to read that I add to every time some work of non-fiction I’ve finished lists its references. Preferring non-fiction, I guess this list is not for me, but please give my regards to Dan Campbell. I thought of him just yesterday, remembering some words of advice he gave me in 8th grade and reading his name today was a pleasant jolt.

  2. You can get almost all of the Man Booker prize list books through Abe Books (online) which ships from the UK to the US — usually free. Last year I read the entire long list before the prize was announced; this year only one or two are not yet available (even in the UK). I’ve read the whole short list, though, and I’m rooting for The Lighthouse!

    • Good to know! I did manage to get them all sent to me. I’m rooting for Swimming Home. Lighthouse was my least favorite. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee if Lighthouse wins.

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