Saturday, November 01, 2008

First Book Shortlist Throws Up Winning Titles

The five finalists for the Guardian First Book Award (which covers fiction, non-fiction and poetry published in the UK) have been announced. The prize is unique in that it involves readers' groups in the judging process, which seems to me a very sensible idea. The shortlist is described as :
... ambitious, varied and incredibly individual ...
and indeed contains some very interesting reads.

The two non fiction titles are :
The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross
a history of C20th music. (Read the review from the New York Times and check out the author's fascinating website. I have to buy this book!!)
Stalin's Children by Owen Matthews
which is described as a novelistic memoir of a Soviet-era romance. (The Independent review is here.)

The fiction titles are :
God's Own Country by Ross Raisin
a dark novel of obsession and violence set in Yorkshire. (There's an interesting interview with Ross on the Yorkshire Post website.)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
which was also shortlisted for the Booker, and is described as :
... a rumbustious, funny page-turner.
A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif.
Described as :
... witty, clever and a pleasure to read.
(You can read an extract here.)

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