Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Orange Prize Revised

I know, I know: if I was a reasonable person, I would plan to read only the Orange Prize winners.

But I am not reasonable about reading.

And I have a tendency to root for the underdog; I have an inherent suspicion of winners, so I’ve got to read the longlists if I’m going to get all methodical about prize winners and nominees.

And here’s the thing. I follow a lot of prizes half-heartedly: the Booker (pre- and post-Man), the IMPAC, the Charles Taylor, the Griffin…I could go on. But I have yet to read a book from the Orange Prize longlist and find myself disappointed. At least, it hasn’t happened yet.

There are some that I’ve enjoyed more than others, yes. And some of the ones that I’ve read have felt long (like 2001’s Ahab’s Wife).

Some have been exhausting (like 2005’s We Need to Talk about Kevin), some have had some very sad bits (like 1999’s Poisonwood Bible).

Some I thought I might fall in love with but we only ended up having a brief fling (like 2000’s White Teeth), and some were incredibly painful to read (like 2008’s The Gathering).

But I’ve never finished a book on the Orange Prize list and felt that it was a waste of precious reading time.

So I plan to test the theory and keep reading. The jury announces their longlist in March and their winner in June, so I tend to step up the Orange reading in between, but the rest of the reading year I just casually pick away at the backlist: in this way, I’ve added a lot of names to my favourite writers list.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2014′s Longlist:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah (SL)
Margaret Atwood - MaddAddam
Suzanne Berne –  The Dogs of Littlefield
Fatima Bhutto - The Shadow of the Crescent Moon
Claire Cameron –  The Bear
Lea Carpenter - Eleven Days
M.J. Carter - The Strangler Vine
Eleanor Catton - The Luminaries
Deborah Kay Davies - Reasons She Goes to the Woods
Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All Things
Hannah Kent - Burial Rites (SL)
Rachel Kushner - The Flamethrowers
Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland (SL)
Audrey Magee - The Undertaking (SL)
Eimear McBride - A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (SL)
Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English
Anna Quindlen - Still Life with Bread Crumbs
Elizabeth Strout - The Burgess Boys
Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch (SL)
Evie Wyld - All The Birds, Singing

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Leila Aboulela The Translator (00)
Leila Aboulela  Minaret (06)
Leila Aboulela Lyrics Alley (11)
Lorraine Adams Harbor (06)
Debra Adelaide  The Household Guide to Dying (09)
✔Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus (SL04)
✔Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun (W07)
✔Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Americanah (SL14)
Naomi Alderman Disobedience (06)
Kitty Aldridge Pop (02)
Kitty Aldridge A Trick I Learned from Dead Men (13)
Clare Allen Poppy Shakespeare (07)
Monica Ali Brick Lane (04)
Rosie Alison  The Very Thought of You (SL10)
Karin Altenberg   Island of Wings (12)
Anita Amirrezvani Blood Flowers (08)
Gaynor Arnold Girl in a Blue Dress (09)
✔Kate Atkinson   Case Histories (05)
Kate Atkinson Life After Life (SL13)
✔Margaret Atwood   Alias Grace (SL97)
✔Margaret Atwood   Blind Assassin (SL01)
✔Margaret Atwood   Oryx and Crake (SL04)
✔Margaret Atwood Maddaddam (14)
Trezza Azzopardi The Hiding Place (01)

Anita Rau Badami The Hero’s Walk (02)
Kirsten Bakis Lives of the Monster Dogs (SL98)
Shauna Singh Baldwin What the Body Remembers (00)
Beryl Bainbridge Every Man for Himself (97)
Beryl Bainbridge Master Georgie (99)
Rupa Bajwa The Sari Shop (04)
Ros Barber The Marlowe Papers (13)
✔Pat Barker The Ghost Road (96)
Andrea Barrett The Voyage of the Narwhal  (99)
Bella Bathurst Special (03)
Sandra Benitez Bitter Grounds (98)
Suzanne Berne Crime in the Neighbourhood (W99)
Suzanne Berne The Dogs of Littlefield (14)
Fatima Bhutto The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (14)
Carol Birch Jamrach’s Menagerie (11)
Julia Blackburn The Book of Colour (SL96)
Julia Blackburn The Leper’s Companion (SL99)
Shani Boianjiu The People of Forever Are Not Afraid (13)
Marilyn Bowering Visible Worlds (SL99)
Joan Brady Death Comes for Peter Pan (97)
Judy Budnitz If I Told You Once (SL00)
Anna Burns No Bones (SL02)

Claire Cameron The Bear (14)
Aifric Campbell On the Floor (12)
Lea Carpenter Eleven Days (14)
Eleanor Catton The Luminaries (14)
✔Eleanor Catton The Rehearsal (10)
✔Tracy Chevalier Girl with a Pearl Earring (00)
Chaterine Chidgey In a Fishbone Church (99)
Sandra Cisneros Caramelo (03)
Clare Clark The Great Stink (05)
Clare Clark Savage Lands (10)
Ajay Close Official and Doubtful (96)
Kira Cochrane Escape Routes for Beginners (05)
Leah Hager Cohen  The Grief of Others (12)
Lindsey Collen The Rape of Sita (96)
Amanda Craig Hearts and Minds (10)
✔Rachel Cusk Arlington Park (SL07)

Julia Darling Crocodile Soup (99)
Deborah Kay Davies Reasons She Goes to the Woods (14)
Jill Dawson Fred & Edie (SL01)
Jill Dawson Watch Me Disappear (06)
Janet Davey English Correspondence (03)
Stevie Davies The Element of Water (02)
Stevie Davies Kith & Kin (04)
Meaghan Delahunt In the Blue House (01)
Joolz Denby Billie Morgan (SL05)
Anita Desai Fasting, Feasting (00)
Anita Desai The Zigzag Way (05)
✔Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss (SL07)
Isla Dewar Keeping up with Magda (96)
Helen DeWitt The Last Samurai (01)
Joan Didion The Last Thing He Wanted (97)
Ellis Ni Dhuibhne The Dancers Dancing (SL00)
✔Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni The Mistress of Spices (97)
Emma Donoghue Room (SL11)
Emma Donoghue   The Sealed Letter (12)
Anne Donovan Buddha Da (SL03)
Tishani Doshi     The Pleasure Seekers (11)
Louise Doughty   Whatever You Love (11)
Maureen Duffy Restitution (99)
Stella Duffy State of Happiness (04)
Stella Duffy The Room of Lost Things (08)
Helen Dunmore A Spell of Winter (W96)
Helen Dunmore The Siege (SL02)
Helen Dunmore House of Orphans (06)

Esi Edugyan Half-Blood Blues (SL12)
Jennifer Egan A Visit from the Goon Squad (11)
Lucy Ellman Man or Mango? (98)
Lucy Ellman Dot in the Universe (03)
✔Anne Enright The Gathering (08)
Anne Enright  The Forgotten Waltz (SL12)
Lissa Evans Their Finest Hour and a Half (09)
Bernardine Evaristo Blonde Roots (09)
Barbara Ewing A Dangerous Vine (00)

Roopa Farooki  The Way Things Look to Me (10)
Roopa Farooki   The Flying Man (12)
Ellen Feldman Scottsboro (SL09)
Patricia Ferguson It So Happens (05)
Patricia Ferguson Peripheral Vision (07)
Melanie Finn Away From You (05)
Laura Fish Strange Music (09)
Penelope Fitzgerald The Blue Flower (96)
Gillian Flynn Gone Girl (13)
Leslie Forbes Fish, Blood & Bone (01)
Aminatta Forna The Memory of Love (SL11)
Margaret Forster Over (07)
Esther Freud Gaglow (98)
Esther Freud The Wild (01)
Nell Freudenberger The Dissident (07)

V.V. Ganenshananthan    Love Marriage (09)
Cristina Garcia The Aguero Sisters (98)
✔Jane Gardam Old Filth (SL05)
Maggie Gee The White Family (SL02)
Maggie Gee The Flood (04)
Sue Gee The Mysteries of Glass (05)
Elizabeth Gilbert The Signature of All Things (14)
Lesley Glaister Private Parts of Women (96)
Lesley Glaister Now You See Me (02)
Allegra Goodman Intuition (09)
Jo-Ann Godwin Danny Boy (00)
Nadine Gordimer The House Gun (98)
Jaimy Gordon Lord of Misrule (12)
✔Rebecca Gowers When to Walk (07)
Rebecca Gowers The Twisted Heart (10)
Laurie Graham Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights (01)
Linda Grant The Cast Iron Shore (97)
Linda Grant When I Lived in Modern Times (W00)
✔Linda Grant The Clothes on Their Backs (08)
Stephanie Grant The Passion of Alice (96)
Alice Greenway White Ghost Girls (06)
Philippa Gregory The Constant Princess (06)
✔Kate Grenville The Idea of Perfection (W01)
✔Xiaolu Guo A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (SL07)
Sunetra Gupta A Sin of Colour (00)

✔Tessa Hadley The Master Bedroom (08)
Tessa Hadley The London Train (11)
Sarah Hall The Electric Michelangelo (04)
✔Jane Hamilton Short History of a Prince (SL99)
Georgina Harding   Painter of Silence (12)
✔Jane Harris The Observations (SL07)
Jane Harris Gillespie and I (12)
Joanne Harris Five Quarters of the Orange (02)
Sonya Hartnett What the Birds See (03)
✔Samantha Harvey The Wilderness (SL09)
Shirley Hazzard The Great Fire (SL04)
Miranda Hearn Nelson’s Daughter (05)
Zoe Heller Notes on a Scandal (04)
Emma Henderson Grace Williams Says it Loud (SL11)
✔Sheila Heti How Should a Person Be? (13)
Kathryn Heyman The Breaking (98)
Christine Dwyer Hickey Tatty (05)
Ingrid Hill Ursula, Under (05)
Laura Hird Born Free (00)
Sheri Holman The Mammoth Cheese (SL05)
A.M. Homes May We Be Forgiven (W13)
Chloe Hooper Child’s Book of True Crime (SL02)
Josephine Humphreys Nowhere Else on Earth (01)
Michelle Huneven Round Rock (98)
Samantha Hunt The Invention of Everything Else (SL09)
Samantha Hunt The Seas (11)
✔Nancy Huston Fault Lines (SL09)
Siri Hustvedt The Enchantment of Lily Dahl (97)
Siri Hustvedt What I Loved (03)
✔MJ Hyland Carry Me Down (07)
✔MJ Hyland This is How (10)

Liz Jensen Egg Dancing (96)
Liz Jensen Ark Baby (98)
Liz Jensen War Crimes for the Home (03)
Gail Jones Dreams of Speaking (06)
Gail Jones Sorry (08)
Sadie Jones The Outcast (SL08)
✔Sadie Jone Small Wars (10)

✔Joanna Kavenna The Birth of Love (11)
✔Jackie Kay Trumpet (99)
Francesca Kay The Translation of the Bones (12)
Nora Okja Keller Comfort Woman (99)
Nora Okja Keller Fox Girl (03)
Oonya Kempadoo Buxton Spice (99)
A.L. Kennedy So I am Glad (96)
A.L. Kennedy Everything you Need (00)
A.L. Kennedy The Blue Book (12)
Pagan Kennedy Spinsters (SL 96)
✔Hannah Kent Burial Rites (SL14)
✔Sue Monk Kidd The Secret Life of Bees (02)
Haven Kimmel The Solace of Leaving Early (03)
Jamaica Kincaid The Autobiography of my Mother (97)
Laurie R. King With Child (97)
✔Barbara Kingsolver Poisonwood Bible (SL99)
✔Barbara Kingsolver The Lacuna (SL10)
Barbara Kingsolver Flight Behavior (SL13)
Elizabeth Knox The Vintner’s Luck (99)
Deborah Copaken Kogan The Red Book (13)
Christina Koning Undiscovered Country (98)
Nicole Krauss Great House (SL11)
✔Nicole Krauss The History of Love (SL06)
✔Michelle de Kretser The Lost Dog (09)
Karla Kuba Marchlands (99)
Dinah Lee Küng A Visit from Voltaire (04)
✔Rachel Kushner The Flamethrowers (14)

Jhumpa Lahiri The Namesake (04)
Jhumpa Lahiri The Lowland (SL14)
✔Laila Lalami The Secret Son (10)
✔Lori Lansens The Girls (07)
Wendy Law-Yone   The Road to Wanting (11)
Julia Leigh The Hunter (00)
Andrea Levy Never far from Nowhere (96)
Andrea Levy Small Island (W04)
✔Andrea Levy The Long Song (10)
Marina Lewycka A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian (SL05)
Nell Leyshon Black Dirt (05)
Lauren Liebenberg The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam (08)
Rosina Lippi Homestead (SL01)
✔Attica Locke Black Water Rising (SL10)
Joan London Gilgamesh (04)
Michelle Lovric The Remedy (05)

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