Phew! It’s been quite a marathon reading as much of the Baileys Prize longlist as I can, but I loved the challenge as I’ve read some great books published in the past year that I probably would have missed otherwise. The subjects and styles of the novels are so varied. From a heart wrenching account of a girl’s adolescence in the Croatian War of Independence in Sara Novic’s stunning novel to fascinating details of whaling in a small Australian town in Shirley Barrett’s novel to a tender burgeoning romance between a woman and an alien lizard in Becky Chambers’ fantastic scifi novel! And it got me to read my very first Kate Atkinson book. Now that I know why so many people love her I will definitely be reading more of her previous novels.
The best thing about this process has been all the bookish chat I’ve had about the longlisted books with people including Simon as part of the Baileys Bearded Book Club, the shadow panel organized by Naomi and many other great readers on Twitter, Goodreads, blogs and privately through emails. Thanks so much for sending your thoughts about the books on the list. It’s so interesting to hear how people have read these novels differently and how sharply opinions can divide. These responses have really helped me think about the books in a more complex way and I hope my posts have done the same for you or inspired you to pick up a book or two.
Here are my guesses for what six books will appear on the Baileys Prize shortlist which will be announced on the evening of Monday, April 11th. It’s a really tough decision! Please comment and let me know if you agree or if you are hoping to see other books from the longlist make it through.
Click on the titles below to read my full thoughts about each of these excellent novels.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
The Green Road by Anne Enright
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson