It’s been a few years since I obsessed about reading the Giller titles (but that year I discovered Charlotte Gill’s Ladykiller and that was terrific).

Last year I brushed up against my troubled relationship with the list (Dear Giller Shortlist, Oh, how I used to wait for your five names…) but time has passed.

In between, there was my obsession with reading the Orange longlist (18 books read in a few weeks time) and my unexpected love of The Matter of Morris (which was shortlisted last year, although Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists won).

That unexpected conjunction — a wide-reaching longlist obsession meets an accidental engagement with a specific shortlisted novel — has me thinking that it’s time to spend some time with the Giller list again.

(And the fact that a lot of authors whose works I’ve enjoyed in the past appear here doesn’t hurt:  David Bezmozgis, Lynn Coady, Marina Endicott, Zsuzsi Gartner, Wayne Johnston, Suzette Mayr and Michael Ondaatje.)

But 17 books before the shortlist is announced on October 4th?

::looks nervously at the calendar::

That’s a lot of reading.

And other ongoing obsessions are impacting my September reading stacks as well (see my obsessing over the Toronto Book Award shortlist and the ReLit Awards shortlist, for instance).

To say little of the fact that the break in the summer’s humidity has me walking and exploring more than ever. (It’s hard, but not impossible, to combine these activities with reading.)

But this is my favourite time of year. And good reading is a big part of that.

Where would you start reading on this longlist?

THE 2011 GILLER PRIZE (More deets here on their site.)
The Free World, David Bezmozgis (HarperCollins)
The Meagre Tarmac, Clark Blaise (Biblioasis)
The Antagonist, Lynn Coady (House of Anansi)
The Beggar’s Garden, Michael Christie (HarperCollins)
The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt (House of Anansi)
Extensions, Myrna Dey (NeWest Press) *Reader’s Choice
Half-Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan (Thomas Allen)
The Little Shadows, Marina Endicott (Doubleday)
Better Living though Plastic Explosives, Zsuzsi Gartner (Hamish Hamilton)
Solitaria, Genni Gunn (Signature Editions)
Into the Heart of the Country, Pauline Holdstock (HarperCollins)
A World Elsewhere, Wayne Johnston (Knopf)
The Return, Dany Laferrière, Trans. David Homel (Douglas & McIntyre)
Monoceros, Suzette Mayr (Coach House)
The Cat’s Table, Michael Ondaatje (McClelland & Stewart)
A Good Man, Guy Vanderhaeghe (McClelland & Stewart)
Touch, Alexi Zentner (Knopf)

NOTE: Titles link to my responses to these books, and publishers’ names link to their page for that particular book.

And, another NOTE: If you’re interested in the Giller books, do check out KevinfromCanada’s Shadow Giller pages. Selections from the longlist appear not only on his site, but also at Reading Matters and The Mookse and the Gripes.

Followed by a QUESTION: Are you reading the Giller longlist, or parts of it? Do tell!