Friday, August 25, 2006

First Books First

The longlist for the Guardian first book prize has been announced and it's a pretty mixed bag, as John Ezard explains:
It includes authors born in Libya, China and the Black Hills of Wales, an Australian woman born in Yorkshire and a Yorkshireman who has triumphantly published his first volume of poetry in his 61st year, to applause from established poets. ... Its subjects cover, among other things, Lonesome George, only survivor of the giant tortoises that helped Darwin to transform our view of the natural world; a blind adventurer; and the devoutness and lust of the 17th-century poet John Donne.
Yiyun Li's A Thousand Years of Good Prayers which I was waxing lyrical about yesterday, is on there. Poppy Shakespeare I almost bought at Borders* the other day. Only some serious self-talk ("Sharon, you cannot possibly buy any more books without reading some of the ones you have already") stopped me. Now I regret my caution of course.

Anyway, here's the full list, with links:
Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living Carrie Tiffany, (Picador), fiction

Harbor Lorraine Adams (Portobello), fiction

John Donne: The Reformed Soul John Stubbs (Viking), biography

Lonesome George: The Lives and Loves of a Conservation Icon Henry Nicholls (Palgrave Macmillan), natural history

A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveller Jason Roberts (Simon & Schuster), biography

Running for the Hills Horatio Clare (John Murray), memoir

Poppy Shakespeare Clare Allan (Bloomsbury), fiction

Waiting for the Night-Rowers Roger Moulson (Enitharmon), poetry

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers Yiyun Li (4th Estate), stories

In the Country of Men Hisham Matar (Viking), fiction **

And what of the ones that got away? Claire Armistead picks the best of the runner-up.

On the subject of book awards, there was good news this week for James Meek who won a second one for The People's Act of Love which was named the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year. You may remember that he also won the Ondaatje Prize back in May.

* Incidentally, if you are a busy parent with kids in tow and fancy a quiet browse in Borders in Times Square, just pack the little dears off to the indoor funfair - complete with huge rollercoaster and ferris wheel! Magic! At least two hours of peace guaranteed.

** Also long-listed for the Booker


acid burn said...

I knew I shouldn't have visited your blog. Now I'm so tempted to buy some books for myself! The problem is that I'm Down Under for the next few months and books are extremely expensive. I can't believe I used to complain about the price of books in Msia and Sg. The prices here are simply obscene - AUD$30 plus for most novels.

bibliobibuli said...

so off i went to your blog to find out what you've been up to ... and it looks like you're having a great time apart from the price of books! (jealous that you heard jane goodall speak)

which aussie blogfriend (ron? dean?) recommended the book depository as a cheaper source of books as they do not charge postage to australia

also try abebooks for second hand copies ... many of the bookshops are in australia so postage shouldn't be too much

good luck with everything!

acid burn said...

thanks so much for the tips. I'll try them out. there are also quite a number of second hand bookstores in Canberra. However, there's nothing like the feel of a brand new one! =]