Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mondays: Musings/Mailbox/whereabouts

Musing Mondays (BIG)

Do you feel compelled to read prize-winning (Giller/Booker/Pulitzer etc) books? Why, or why not? Is there, perhaps, one particular award that you favour?

I don't really feel compelled prize-winning books. If I find good reviews about such a book, in the blog world, I do check it out. I found quite a few of the prize winning books a drudgery to read. But then there are others I just couldn't put down. It depends on the storyline, plot, characterization and good prose not a mere prize.

However, I do check out Nobel prize winners. Ravindranath Tagore, T S Eliot, John Steinbeck, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Orhan Pamuk are just a few I mention here. Booker prize winners work for me too.

Finally, the book matters, not the prize or any kind of hype.

Received the following:
in the wake of the boatman by Jonathan Scott Fuqua
from the author

in the wake of the boatman is a study of family dynamics and sexuality. The narrative concentrates on the life of Puttnum Douglas Steward, born during the middle of World War Two, and immediately considered better off dead than alive by his father. And so begins Puttnum's life. Spanning the next thirty three years, his is an existence of deep sorrow and humorous irony.

A World I never Made by James Lepore
from the author

Pat Nolan, an American man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan's and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help.

This sends Pat on an odyssey that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists. Joining Pat on his search is Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective who sees in Pat something she never thought she'd find--genuine passion and desperate need. As they look for Megan, they come closer to each other's souls and discover love when both had long given up on it.

Selected Poems of Carl Sandburg

In more than 150 poems, arranged in eleven sections -- from Chicago to Poems of Protest to Lincoln to Anti-War Poems to Poet of the People -- readers can see what Sandburg was made of and, in turn, what the poet thought the American people were made of. Sandburg's aim was to write "simple poems... which continue to have an appeal for simple people," and throughout his life the poet strove to maintain that important connection.

Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
1917. Pulitzer prize-winning American poet, this is her first book of poems. Contents: Renascence; Interim; The Suicide; God's World; Afternoon on a Hill; Sorrow; Tavern; Ashes of Life; The Little Ghost; Kin to Sorrow; Three Songs of Shattering; The Shroud; The Dream; Indifference; Witch-Wife; Blight; When Year Grows Old; Sonnets I-V (unnamed); and Sonnet VI (Bluebeard).

Although I had asked for the Edna St. Vincent Millay, Stacy of Stacy's bookblog was kind enough to send me Carl Sandburg book too along with it. I can't thank her enough for it!
Angels Advocate by Mary Stanton from the author

Money’s been tight ever since Bree Winston Beaufort inherited Savannah’s haunted law firm Beaufort & Company along with its less-than-angelic staff. But she’s finally going to tackle a case that pays the bills representing a spoiled girl who stole someone’s Girl Scout cookie money. But soon enough she finds that her client’s departed millionaire father needs help too. Can she help an unsavory father/daughter duo and make a living off of the living?
It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog, "to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week."

I finished the following. Click the bolded titles for the reviews:

The Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill
Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
In the Shadow Of the Glacier by Vicki Delany
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

I have set aside the following books for the time being now:

The 19th Wife by David
The Known World by Edward P Jones

I am in the midst of:

The Wolf's Head by Peter Unwin
Blasted by Kate Story
Angel's Advocate by Mary Stanton

I plan to review, which is long overdue:

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

and any other book I finish


bermudaonion said...

You got some good looking books last week! I hope you enjoy them.

Shanra said...

Finally, the book matters, not the prize or any kind of hype.

This. That's so true. I feel similarly about literary canon that I'm told is wonderful because it's still Studied widely. Obviously, in all these cases, the books have merit to a lot of people and that's fine. I'm glad for the authors they've created such a hype/won a prize/etc, but I'm not going to read it unless I think it sounds interesting. *ramble*

And I have to admit the poetry anthologies sound interesting. I think I have a few of Millay's poems set to music, but I'm not sure.

serendipity_viv said...

you have some great books. 'A World I Never Made,' looks really intriguing to me.

the story siren said...

looks like you've gotten some great reading ahead of you!

Anonymous said...

I am always happy to share my books with people who appreciate them. And since you appreciate poetry way more than me I am glad the books found a home with you! :)
Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

I love Marquez myself, and quite enjoyed the one Pamuk I read (The White Castle). I guess what you say pretty much sums up my opinion as well, although, I occasionally find that prize-winners are normally a safe bet - specially Booker winners.

Have a great week:)

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your books!

Sassy Brit @ said...

I agree the book matters, not the award.

Here's mine! Puffed Up Prize-winners?

What a nice selection of books you have!

Lucky you,


Anonymous said...

Although the book itself has to speak to me, I find the Booker nominees are very much in tune to my reading taste.

Rebecca said...

Interesting books you got this week. Hope you enjoy reading them all.

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I'm not a prize person either. monday 44

Lisa (Southern Girl Reads) said...

Like you, if the storyline interests me I'm more apt to pick up the book and read it.

Anonymous said...

Likewise.. its the book and not the prize why I would choose to read it. I'll be curious to just be "informed" though, for info's sake.. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice list of books!

Katrina said...

wow, you have recieved some very interesting books.

Melody said...

Wow, you've got some great books there!

BooksPlease said...

I agree - it's the book that counts - not the prize, every time.

Teddyree said...

You had a good week, Angels Advocate sounds like a great read.
I loved Heretic Queen, looking forward to your review. Happy reading :-)

Shonda said...

You had a great reading week last week.

A World I Never Made sounds great! Enjoy your new books.

Sharon said...

You have a great list of books there from the books you got in to the ones you plan to review soon.

I have tried to include more prize winners just on general principle, but the book still has to interest me to begin with. I am not compelled to read prize winning books.

Happy reading!

Kristen said...

Great list of books. I love the cover for In the Wake of the Boatman. I am immediately drawn to books with boats and or water references in their titles or as cover illustration. This one sounds good above and beyond my natural inclination. :-)

As for the prize winners, I completely agree with you. I will concede that they are generally well-written but you can have a well-written flop thanks to personal opinion (and the judges are, of course, human) just as easily as a well-written award-worthy book. And sometimes I completely and totally disagree with the award-worthy designation. :-)

My mailbox is here:

The Bookworm said...

I dont feel compelled to read the prize winners either.
If it sounds good, i'll read it, prize winner or not.

Great books in the mail, i'm reading 'A World I Never Made' now myself.

Sunny said...

I completely agree about the awards. It just really depends on the book itself...and even the author.

Anonymous said...

Did you just not like "The 19th Wife" or was the material too raw? Curious because I have it on my wish list.

Susan said...

Prizes don't figure into what I read at all. If a book I read happens to be a winner, then so much the better, but I'm not actively looking for them.

Serena said...

ooo those are some great looking books...I'm not a big carl sandburg fan, but I'd like to read your thoughts.

Danielle said...

I so agree with you that some of the prize-winning books are drudgery to read! This is why I don't pay attention to awards! Here is my Musing Monday!

Staci said...

I agree with's the book that matters in the end...not the awards!! Enjoy them all!!!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the books. And I agree about the books mattering not the prize.

fantaghiro23 said...

Great list of books.:) Was just wondering why you set aside 19th Wife? I've been curious about that book.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I was also wondering why you set aside the 19th wife. I haven't read it but I've read several reviews.

Have a good week!

Tammy said...

I've been wanting to read The Heretic Queen -- seems like it's gotten pretty good reviews. I'll be curious to read what you thought of it.

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

I can't wait to hear what you think of Angels Advocate and A world I never made. The latter one Marcia at The Written Page is sending me, I'm so looking forward to read it.

Looks like you've had a great reading week. I also put away a book this previous week.

Nan said...

Sometimes looking at prize winning books will give me a new book or author to check out, but my TBR list is so long now... I certainly don't need anymore lists of books!

The two prize lists I do like to keep up with are the Red Clover books and the Dorothy Canfield Fisher books. These lists are different because they nominate a bunch of children's books and the kids get to vote for the winner! As a teacher, I like that idea. :-)

BurtonReview said...

Thx for stopping by my box :) Your lot was great also, some I have not heard of but would probable enjoy also. Happy reading!

Alice said...

Great books you have there, Gautami! Happy reading!

Anna said...

You always get the most interesting books. I'm looking forward to your reviews.

Diary of an Eccentric