Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The 2010 Man Booker Prize Longlist announced


Earlier today, the 2010 Man Booker Prize Longlist was announced. Each year, I try my best to follow the list and place a little "collector's bet" on certain titles that I think would make the shortlist or win the prize. For those of you who are uninitiated: the Man Booker Prize is essentially the European equivalent of the US Pulitzer. Each year, around mid-summer, the judge's panel announces a "longlist" of what they believe to be the fifteen-or-so best books of the year. The prize is open to writers from the Commonwealth and Ireland, and an incredible way for US readers to stay informed of titles overseas. September 7, this year's 13-title longlist will be narrowed down to a shortlist of six books (this is the time when books get new jackets printed touting their shortlistedness, something collectors like myself grudgingly avoid). Of these six, a winner is selected on October 12 and given 50,000GBP and international publishing acclaim.

Now, what does this mean for us? Lets say you think that the new David Mitchell book is going to surely take the prize. Spectre made 500 of those limited editions that I featured on the blog that listed originally for 50GBP. If it wins this year's prize, the book's value could potentially quadruple in value, proving to be a very sound investment.

So, research these books, and try to track down some signed firsts. Last year I was able to sell a signed, dated, and lined Wolf Hall (the 2009 winner, originally costing me $60.00) for around $350.00. In all, following the Booker is a great way to read some amazing books you've probably never heard of and possibly cushion your collector's allowance with a couple hundred dollars.

On to the longlist:

Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey

Room
by Emma Donoghue

The Betrayal
by Helen Dunmore

In A Strange Room
by Damon Galgut

The Finkler
by Howard Jacobson

The Long Song
by Andrea Levy

C.
by Tom McCarthy

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
by David Mitchell

February
by Lisa Moore

Skippy Dies
by Paul Murray

Trespass
by Rose Tremain

The Slap
by Christos Tsiolkas

The Stars in the Bright Sky
by Alan Warner

While many of these authors are new to me, there are a few names here that have been perpetually longlisted and haven't seen a spot on the shortlist since I've been following. While perfectly excellent writers, I'm not holding my breath for Peter Carey or Howard Jacobson (sorry guys!).

There's one author here that I'm so incredibly thrilled to see, and that's Tom McCarthy. He wrote a stunning little book a few years back called Remainder, and I'm very excited to get C. when it arrives from amazon.co.uk in a few a weeks. I hope that McCarthy's inclusion here leads more people to his excellent oeuvre.

Finally, there's Skippy Dies. I can't wait for this one and I think that I finally tracked down a 1st edition from a bookstore in Australia (more on that if/when it gets here). If these books were judged based on art direction alone, Skippy Dies would be neck-and-neck with the slipcased Jacob De Zoet. Similar to FSG's 2666, Skippy Dies was published originally as three slipcased paperbacks, each with a different title. Take a look:

My initial thoughts are that Paul Murray, Tom McCarthy, and David Mitchell will all have a spot on the shortlist... and if not, they'll have a proud spot on my bookshelves. Happy reading.

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