Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Biking for the Booker

It's hot. We don't live in the South and aren't used to the high 90s.  After days and days of 97, 92 seemed like nothing. 

We had to get out of the house before it got hot again.  A short bike ride.  What could be more energizing?  And after reading the titles on the Man Booker Prize longlist, we wanted to go to the library anyway.

We briefly had to play Control My Lane through a narrow orange-cone-construction one-lane stretch.  ("Controlling your lane," or riding in the middle, is what expert bicyclists say you should do anyway.  It was a harrowing experience.)  

By the time we got downtown, we needed to drink an entire bottle of water.  Our hair was damp, mooshed down by the helmet, and uncontrollable.  Our summer pajamas fashion was frazzled by heat. But many fellow patron/bicyclists had identical limp t-shirts and pajama bermuda shorts, and we exchanged empathetic looks.   

I found exactly one novel from the longlist, Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie

The longlist includes:

• Julian Barnes  The Sense of an Ending
• Sebastian Barry On Canaan's Side
• Carol Birch Jamrach's Menagerie
• Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers
• Esi Edugyan Half Blood Blues
• Yvvette Edwards A Cupboard Full of Coats
• Alan Hollinghurst The Stranger's Child
• Stephen Kelman  Pigeon English
• Patrick McGuinness The Last Hundred Days
• AD Miller Snowdrops
• Alison Pick Far to Go
• Jane Rogers The Testament of Jessie Lamb
• DJ Taylor Derby Day

Not yet published in the U.S. are the Julian Barnes, Sebastian Barry, Alan Hollinghurst, Esi Edugyan, Patrick McGuinness, Jane Rogers, and DJ Taylor.  

It's like this every year.

The Booker is fun because the list goes through so many public weedings and reconstructions, like a literary version of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.  And we often discover excellent books, like Sebastian Barry's The Sacred Scripture, A. S. Byatt's The Children's Book, and Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss.  

But, being so busy with the longlists, I haven't read a prize winner since 2007.


Ellen said...

I truly admire your strength. I lose heart -- and it's not simply the terrific heat, though it does not help. We had an index of 125F a couple of days ago.

Yours in air-conditioning,


Frisbee said...

Ellen, this is the longest spell I can remember of super-high temperatures. 125 is just unreal.

It's supposed to cool down today here.