Man Booker For the English Language

Mann-BookerThe Man Booker Prize has been undergoing many changes in recent years. Traditionally the prize was designated for authors from Great Britain and the Commonwealth countries, but now any authors writing in the English language are eligible. This means that the United States has yet another way to show its exceptionalism (not that it needed any reason). You probably will notice that out of the thirteen books in the ‘long list,’ five of them are from the USA. As disagreeable as this seems, I like to look at it as a subtle British wink at the United States … a reminder that America is still considered “the colonies.”

What do you think of this year’s Man Booker longlist?

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Book ‘em and Throw Away the Cliff Notes

Infinite JestYes, I am still reading Infinite Jest … slowly but with sufficient interest that I assuredly will finish it in the near future (well, in the future, at least). As always, though, I am reading more than one book at a time: Infinite Jest sits on my kitchen table where I can read a few pages while waiting for the water to boil or when slurping down a hot bowl of ramen. For the record, I have Dos Passos on my desk in my office, Vollmann next to my bed at night, and short story collections in each of the bathrooms. I was going to say I had Ford in my van but I have to be truthful and admit to a volume of Rilke’s poetry (the van is a Toyota anyway).

Which reminds me: William T. Vollmann has published yet another
short story collection and this one, coming in at over 600 pages,
will require some dedication to read. Vollmann says this is his
last book and any further works will be output from his ghost. The
publisher suggests the answers are in the book so we all must
read it ... Last Stories and Other Stories by William T. Vollmann
(just published).

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