The Sunday Salon: Iris Murdoch and my “Booker’s Dozen”

Is anyone else tired of winter yet?   It snowed again this past week, and it’s been very cold, and I just wish I could stay indoors curled up under a duvet.  Reading, of course.  Well, I haven’t been so lucky but I’m still enjoying some good books.

Orange January has dominated my reading this month.  I’ve read my four selections, ending with Rose Tremain’s The Colour, which was very good.  Look for my review later today.  And while I’ve loved focusing on a single literary prize, it’s also inspired some thinking about my other favorite prize:  the Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

I’ve followed the Booker Prize for some time and host The Complete Booker, a community blog dedicated to reading Booker winners and nominees.  Now, I’m not doing reading challenges, but if I were … I’d be doing the 2011 Complete Booker ChallengeThis year I’m going to clear several Booker Prize nominees off my shelves:

  • Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood (I read this last week!)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
  • Remembering Babylon, by David Malouf
  • An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters
  • On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan
  • A Month in the Country, by J.L. Carr

But wait!  There’s more! Not long ago, June Starr at Reading the Bookers noted that Iris Murdoch is the most frequently short-listed author (five shortlisted novels and one winner).  If you were here last week, you’ll remember that Iris Murdoch is one of my featured favorite authors. And yet: I’ve read her winning novel, The Sea, the Sea, but not the shortlisted books.  This has all the makings of a good reading project!  So my Booker Prize reading will also include Murdoch’s five nominees:

  • The Book and the Brotherhood
  • The Good Apprentice
  • Bruno’s Dream
  • The Nice and the Good
  • The Black Prince

And I’ll probably read the 2011 winner too, for a total of 13 books.  This qualifies me for the 2011 Challenge Booker’s Dozen category:  read 12 winners or nominees from the short- or long-lists.

If your reading plans include prize-winning literature, why don’t you hop on over to The Complete Booker and join the fun?


Read more from The Sunday Salon here.

8 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Iris Murdoch and my “Booker’s Dozen”

  1. I love lists like this and I make them myself all the time, only then to be enticed away by some stray book that just happens to cross my path and which I find I can’t possibly put off reading for a single moment. I’m always promising myself that I will go back and read more Murdoch. I read the first three that she wrote, but then somehow got left behind (probably more of those waifs and strays!) and have never gone back to her. I’d like to read some of her philosophical works as well. I wish you luck. I hope you’re better at keeping your resolves than I am.

  2. “A Month in the Country” is a pet of a book. I read Murdoch as a sprat but can’t remember any of it…I was sneaking my mother’s library books. Good idea to give her a reread.

  3. confession: I’ve read only one of the books on your list! I read THE HANDMAID’S TALE years ago … maybe it’s time for a re-visit.

    I haven’t joined any reading challenges for 2011 (yet), but, like you, have made lists of the books I plan/hope to read this year.

    Good luck with your unofficial challenge 🙂

  4. Tired of winter? Such words should never be uttered! I’m loving the snow and hoping to get to NH by the end of Jan.

    I get inspired to read more every time I read your salon!


  5. Thanks everyone for stopping by today!

    Annie, I can understand getting “left behind” with Murdoch. She was incredibly prolific!

    Deb, isn’t it great when a book is so utterly fantastic that you’re left speechless?

    Tui, Murdoch is a very interesting author, very different from my usual fare. I’m not even sure why I like her so much, but I do!

    Dawn, I’ve pledged to get to know Margaret Atwood better 🙂 I realized I’d only read The Blind Assassin and decided to remedy that.

    Jeff, knock yourself out. Cold weather just isn’t my thing. Glad you’re enjoying some reading, though!

  6. I’ve read three of the Murdoch Bookers including The Sea, The Sea, and all of Atwood. I found the Malouf a little tedious, but I think I may not have been in the right mood and I lost the thread of it. And I think On Chesil Beach is one of my favorite books of all time. I think it is atypical of McEwan who I like but don’t love…that is except for OCB, which I so love. So sad and perfect that book.

    • Thomas, thanks for stopping by! I also like-don’t-love McEwan but am very glad to hear your assessment of OCB. I can’t remember how the Malouf came to be on my shelves — someone recommended it somewhere — so we’ll see what I think of it. But first, Atwood — in February for sure.

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