The Sunday Salon–on Friday!

I know, I know—it’s not Sunday yet. My fiancé and I are taking a small excursion this weekend for his daughter’s birthday. She is having a birthday party this weekend so we will be out of town attending that. Thus, I figured it would make more sense to post my Sunday Salon early as opposed to Sunday night when I get back.

This week, I read Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, for The Classics Circuit. Check out my tour stop here. I also started Girl in a Blue Dress, by Gaynor Arnold. I just realized this book was long-listed for the Man Booker prize in 2007 and I can definitely understand why. It is the compelling, fictionalized account of the spurned wife of Charles Dickens. I am telling you, I cannot put it down. I hope to finish it over the weekend but with all the birthday activities going on, it may not be possible.

So, speaking of the Man Booker Prize one of the challenges I am most excited for this year is The Man Booker challenge. I can’t really explain why I have been anticipating it so much, but for whatever reason my appetite for challenging literary fiction has been whetted for the past few weeks and it’s all I want to read. I chose to participate in the Winners Circle , which means that I will (hopefully!) read six winning books. I have already bought a few of the winners, including the 2009 winner Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. I got to thinking that maybe I should read some books from other challenges as well. So I perused over the list of winners of the Orange Prize for Fiction and then I decided What the heck, I should read six Orange winners as well. So that’s what I have decided to do. I have already chosen five of the books I will read. These five books are books I have either been wanting to read or having at least heard about. The sixth book will be decided at a later date. The five books I have chosen to read are:

Home, Marilynne Robinson

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

On Beauty, Zadie Smith

Property, Valerie Martin

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

There is actually a blog, The Orange Prize Project, devoted to the perpetual challenge of reading all of the Orange Prize winner. If you are interested in reading some of the winners, or some of the books shortlisted/longlisted, it’s a good resource to check out. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

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6 Responses

  1. I’m so glad you mentioned Girl in A Blue Dress! I had noted the title in a notebook but never got around to looking it up and kept wondering what it was about the book that made me writing it down. Will now move it to the actual tbr list.

  2. Half of a Yellow Sun is a fantastic read, I haven’t read the others, though. Although I must confess to having tried to read Bel Canto a few times.

    Have a fun weekend!

  3. I love the Orange prize! I have discovered so many fantastic books thanks to it. I hope that you enjoy your selection!

  4. This is a great set of challenges. I was just reading a review of “Wolf Hall” in “Bookmarks” and am highly intrigued. I used to read a lot of Orange and Booker winners, but I have fallen behind in recent years. Would that I had more time and energy to get back to it! I really should.

  5. I seriously considered signing up for the Booker challenge but ended up joining the Orange project instead. Maybe eventually I will work on reading all of the Booker winners as well…perpetual challenges are less overwhelming for me as I can take my time with them. Have a great week!

  6. I haven’t joined either challenge, but I have completely noticed a similar trend myself, in that lots of books I want to read these days are award winners. I pick up Booker winners when I can and I find that Orange prize winners are similarly awesome. I just acquired one yesterday – We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Of those you’ve listed, I loved Bel Canto, really loved as in it has still stuck in my head, and both On Beauty and Half of a Yellow Sun were great books.

    I remember seeing Girl in a Blue Dress in my old library but I never got around to taking it out. Maybe I should rectify that!

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