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2015 Man Booker Prize Shortlist Predictions

man bookerTomorrow the 2015 Man Booker short list will be announced, so it is time for some predictions! You may have noticed that our blog has been taken over by long list book reviews lately. We’ll get back to our regular post schedule next week. We came close to reading all the long list books between the two of us. Not too bad considering that neither of us had read any of the books prior to the announcement. So we completed 11.5/13 books (Book Worm is half-way through A Brief History of Seven Killings). We reviewed 9 of those books and Jen will post her review of The Moor’s Account next week. For each book, we rated with 5 criteria including originality, character complexity, and writing.  Two 2 “free” points were given for being published in English and being published in the U.K (criteria for the Man Booker Prize). See which books we read, how we personally ranked them, and which ones we think will actually make the cut.
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Summer Challenge Update #8

Summer-Reading

It’s time for a Summer Challenge update!  Next Sunday will be our final challenge update before the close of the competition September 22. Keep reading to find out who is in the lead and see who made the honorable mentions. Read more

2015 Man Booker Longlist: Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy

sleeping on jup

Next time I come up with a brilliant idea to try and read all the longlist books before the shortlist, please stop me. Luckily for me (unluckily for her since she got dragged into it too) I have a wonderful co-blogger who helped me out by tackling half the books. Will we make it through the whole longlist before September 15? It’s questionable, but we are getting close.

Next up… Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy. Find out where it ranks for us. Read more

Man Booker Longlist 2015: The Year of the Runaways Sunjeev Sahota

Sunjeev_Sahota_The_Year_of_the_Runaway

Less than 1 week away from the shortlist announcement and we actually might make it through the entire list! This last week has been a rush to get them all finished before the 15th. We’ll go back to our usual 3 days per week posting schedule as soon as we are  done with the long list books. Next up… The Year of the Runaways by Sahota. Will this make our short list? Read more

2015 Man Booker Longlist: The Chimes Anna Smaill

chimes

With the shortlist being announced on the 15th, we are hoping to pick up the pace and finish all the longlist books in the next week. Regular posts will be delayed so we can try to finish up our longlist reviews and make our predictions. Next up in our 2015 longlist travels is another book we both read: Anna Smaill’s The Chimes. Find out if it makes our shortlist. Read more

2015 Man Booker Longlist: The Fishermen

thefishermen

We have officially moved into the second half of the long list with this next review. Thus far, we’ve only had two real standouts: A Little Life (reviewed by Jen) and The Illuminations (reviewed by Book Worm). Find out if this next one makes the cut. Read more

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré
Published in: 1963
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by: Jen
Find it/buy it here:The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

I don’t typically go in for spy novels because I usually find them overly dramatic with unbelievable plot lines and extensive use of deus ex machinas (one of my literary pet peeves). However, I’ve been wanting to read a book by John Le Carré for a long time, despite the fact that I fell asleep several times while trying to watch Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (I won’t judge the book by the movie). He has three books on the 1001 Books to Read Before you Die list and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is one of them.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It was the opposite of all the stereotypes I have about spy novels. Grahame Greene referred to the novel as the “best spy novel I have ever read” and that is definitely true for me (although as I previously admitted, I don’t read many of them).

Alec Leamas who has been stationed in West Germany, is called back to London after the last agent under his command is killed. Leamas returns to England thinking that he will finally be able to “come in from the cold” but when he returns he learns that “control” has other plans for him. Leamas is asked to go on one last mission to help bring down the head of East German Intelligence – the man considered responsible for killing all of Leamas’s agents. What subsequently ensues is a plot filled with twists and turns, yet one entirely believable based on intellectual manipulation rather than action-driven stunt scenes.

Le Carré (born David John Moore Cornwell) was a member of the British Foreign Service from 1959-1964 and described himself as “a writer who, when I was very young, spent a few ineffectual but extremely formative years in British Intelligence.” His background explains why the novel felt so genuine and real — because he was immersed in that life. There are no heroes in this story –No 007 types who save the day attempting a million death defying feats without breaking a sweat with capturing the hearts of busty femme fatales. Leamas is a flawed man who is talented at what he does, but who is entirely human. The lines between good guys and bad guys is blurred if not non-existent. It’s an intelligent story that seems to capture how I imagine really espionage work would be when not scripted by Hollywood.

Want to try if for yourself? You can find it here: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you have any other recommendations for spy novels?

Summer Challenge Update #7

Summer-ReadingIt’s time for a Summer Challenge update!  In each update, we will give an honorable mention to the reader who posts our favorite book-location pairing since time of last update. Keep reading to find out who is in the lead and to get some ideas for your book locations. Read more

2015 Man Booker Longlist: The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan

illuminations

Next up in attempt to make our way through the 2015 Man Book Longlist books is O’Hagan’s The Illuminations. Keep reading to see if it is a contender for our shortlist. Read more

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights by Salman Rusdie

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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rusdie
Release Date: September 8 U.S and September 10 in U.K
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Jen
Pre-order your copy here: Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from netgalley (and Random House) in exchange for an honest review.

There is no question that Rushdie is a great story teller and his latest endeavor is no exception. One of the things that I love about his books is that they can be read on multiple levels. On the surface, they are entertaining stories that can be read for the sole enjoyment of the weird, wacky, and intelligently humorous ride. Yet, on a deeper level, his books are filled with symbolism, allusions, and often complicated philosophical questions that lead to a richer and more interesting reading experience. Read more