Earlier this week the Longlist for the Booker Prize 2020 was announced and, unsurprisingly I haven’t read a single book on it. I want to read a couple, but as my local library is not fully open due to the current climate. Today I’m going to tell you the books that I’m most likely to read off the longlist. I’m not making any promises. However, I will be reviewing every book from the longlist that I read.
The majority of these books are available through BorrowBox, which is an online ebook service which is available through my library. I highly recommend that you check to see if your library offers something similar. I should also mention that I think the availability of the books depends on your library service, and being a member of Cardiff Libraries, all these are available to me at the time of writing this post.
Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler is often longlisted and shortlisted for various prizes, but this will (hopefully) being my first time reading her. This book follows Micah Mortimer whose carefully scheduled day is thrown into chaos when a teenager shows up claiming to be his son. I’m quite intrigued by this one, and I’m relieved that it’s super short.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
This is one of the only books on the list that I have heard of. I do agree with some others in saying that it sounds much more like a Women’s Prize book than a Booker book. Even the design of the book looks out of place in comparison to the rest of the list. That said, the themes are especially relevant to recent conversations. Such a Fun Age follows a rich white woman and her black babysitter and explores themes of race and performative allyship.
Real Life by Brandon Taylor
This is the book that I am most interested in reading. All I know is that it is a campus novel that follows the life of a Black male student. That alone was enough to sell it to me. I love campus novels even though I have not read enough of them, so this seems like the perfect addition to the genre. Typically campus novels are very white and very elitist, so it will be interesting to see how these tropes are dealt with in this context.
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
Some books sound great the first time you hear about them. Others grow on you, and this is that sort of books more me. Set in 1935 Ethiopia, we follow Hirut, a recently orphaned girl who is working as a maid. She is employed by an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, who are preparing for the invasion of Mussolini and finds herself yearning to do something more than help the wounded.
The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel
I can’t remember if I’ve discussed The Mirror and The Light previously on this blog, potentially in one of my Women’s Prize posts as it is also nominated for that prize. My problem with this book’s nomination is that it is the third book in a trilogy that follows the life of Thomas Cromwell. I have not read either of its predecessors and, while you can read this as a standalone, I don’t believe you can grasp the scope of the story from this book alone. That and the fact that I love Anne Boleyn, who plays a much larger role in the previous books. Since this is now on two lists, and I fully expect it to be shortlisted for the Booker, it seems like I will have to read this one solo.
This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
As with the previous book, this is also the third book in a trilogy. Unlike the previous book, the trilogy is a lot shorter so less intimidating. The book follows Tambudzai, a young woman trying to make a life for herself in Zimbabwe. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, living in in a hostel, but every time she tries to change these things she finds herself getting knocked down again.
These are the books that I’m currently most likely to read from the Booker TBR. Although once the shortlist arrives on the 15th of September this list is likely to change to refelt that.
What about you… Are you going to be reading some Booker nominees this year, and if so which ones? What do you think about the list as a whole?