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Books of the 2010s: Fifty Memories, nos. 5-1

Here we are, then: my top 5 reading memories from the last decade. I knew how this countdown would end before I started compiling the list. The reading experiences I’m talking about here… more than anything, this is why I read.

The previous instalments of this series are available here: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-6.

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The Women’s Prize and Granta’s Best Young Novelists

A couple of lists which have been announced in the last 24 hours. First, the shortlist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction:

  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  • Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
  • May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes
  • Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • NW by Zadie Smith

This list reminds me that I want to read Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Life After Life. I also find it interesting that, after a couple of years where the Orange Prize (as was) has been won by debuts, this year we have a list strongly weighted towards more established names.

But this is also a time for new names, because Granta have announced their fourth Best of Young British Novelists list:

Of course there are limitations to any exercise of this nature, and I don’t think there’s much mileage in treating the list as anything approaching ‘definitive’. Taken as a selection of names, though, I rather like this list. I’ve reviewed books by eight of the authors (linked above) and enjoyed them all. (I have read – but not reviewed – a ninth, whose book I didn’t care for; so be it.) I’m pleased to see women and non-white writers so strongly represented. And there are quite a few names on there whom I’ve been meaning to read. I think I might do a story-by-story review of the anthology, once I get hold of a copy. For now, congratulations to all!

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