Why do we read. Sometimes we’re looking for facts. Sometimes it’s for the sheer beauty of the writing that sends shivers up our spines and stops us in our tracks, unable to continue as we have to stop and savour the moment. Sometimes it’s the story that’s being told, moving along at a good pace. Or it might be that the book is providing us with food for thought, that it relates to our own life and experiences.
One reason we do not read is to get utterly and thoroughly bored. And that is what has just happened to me with Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies . I struggled to get half way through it. At least that is further than I got with Wolf Hall. So I’ve thrown it out I hope it gets ripped and smashed and torn and ground and re-cycled into something useful. What a waste of time and paper.
There will be a lot of people who disagree with me, but there are also many who agree.. Except for a few exceptions I cannot stand the books that are chosen as the winner of the Man Booker Prize
If I had read the Background page of the Man Booker web site I would have found among its aims that ‘The real success will be a significant increase in the sales of the winning book‘ . An emphasis on getting money for the author. That is quite shameful and has nothing to do with good literature. Look Ladies and Gentlemen, we have given this book a prize. Go forth and spend your hard earned dosh on this book
Another of the original aims of the prize was to ‘ increase the reading of quality fiction and to attract the intelligent audience…’ That is so patronizing. You want to what ??? Increase my reading of quality fiction? Quite frankly I don’t think you actually know what quality fiction is. With each new edition of a dictionary new words are included, words that have entered the vocabulary and are in common usage, Surely the same thing applies to good literature. People read, People talk. People recommend books to one another. This is where good literature is decided. Listen to what they’re saying in the libraries, in the book clubs.
When I decided that I couldn’t stand another minute of Bring up the Bodies I felt humiliated. I felt small. I felt useless because I am bored and don’t have enough intelligence to appreciate this wonderful, wonderful book. She does write a very pretty sentence, with everything in its right place,. Then another pretty sentence.Then another pretty sentence, and so on and so on. But the content is so bland and so uninteresting. Perhaps she should read some Julian Barnes or Ian McEwan or David Mitchell and take some lessons. Yes, I know, I couldn’t do what she does. But I am a reader, not a writer.
Who chooses the wnner ? The judges include critics, authors and academics but sometimes include poets, politicians, journalists, broadcasters and actors. And then the web page goes on
“ This ‘common man’ approach to the selection of Man Booker juries is , I believe, one of the key reasons why ‘the intelligent general audience’ trusts the prize..”
I would like to think that every member of those common man professions would take objection to being classified in such a manner. As for me, never again will I allow myself to be manipulated by this advertising scheme masquerading as the Man Booker Prize.
I shall now wait for the world to fall down around my ears for being such a heretic.
See for yourself http://www.themanbookerprize.com/background