Darryl's 12 Oranges in 2012

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Darryl's 12 Oranges in 2012

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Bearbeitet: Mai 30, 2012, 4:54pm

I'm hopeful that I won't need the protective suit that was required at this time last year.

2012 Orange books:

1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (2011 longlist) {January}
2. There but for the by Ali Smith (2012 longlist) {March}
3. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (2012 longlist) {April}
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2012 winner) {April}
5. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (2012 shortlist) {May}
6. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (2012 shortlist) {May}
7. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (2012 shortlist) {May}
8. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (2012 shortlist) {May}

As of today I've finished 12 Orange books in 2011, and I plan to read at least that many in 2012.

ETA: Two of the books I read in 2011 were selected for the 2012 Orange Prize longlist, and I've added them to the tally.

2011 Orange books:

1. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore (2010 shortlist) {January}
2. Annabel by Kathleen Winter (2011 shortlist) {April}
3. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (2011 shortlist) {May}
4. The Outcast by Sadie Jones (2008 shortlist) {July}
5. The Swimmer by Roma Tearne (2011 longlist) {July}
6. Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig (2010 longlist) {July}
7. The London Train by Tessa Hadley (2011 longlist) {July}
8. On Beauty by Zadie Smoth (2006 winner) {July}
9. Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch (2011 longlist) {August}
10. The Submission by Amy Waldman (2012 longlist) {September}
11. Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (2012 shortlist) {September}
12. Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (2011 longlist) {September}
13. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht (2011 winner) {October}
14. Old Filth by Jane Gardam (2005 shortlist) {November}

I own but haven't yet read these Orange books:

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (2001 shortlist)
The Siege by Helen Dunmore (2002 shortlist)
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros (2003 longlist)
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2004 shortlist)
We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2005 winner)
The Accidental by Ali Smith (2006 shortlist)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (2007 shortlist)
The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2008 winner)
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (2008 longlist)
The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer (2008 longlist)
Home by Marilynne Robinson (2009 winner)
Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman (2009 shortlist)
The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey (2009 shortlist)
Evening Is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan (2009 longlist)
Intuition by Allegra Goodman (2009 longlist)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (2010 longlist)
The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton (2010 longlist)
Small Wars by Sadie Jones (2010 longlist)
The Still Point by Amy Sackville (2010 longlist)
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin (2011 longlist)

My goals for 2012 will be the same as this year:
* Read a dozen or more Orange Prize longlisted books from any year
* Read 8-10 books from the 2012 Orange Prize longlist
* Read all 6 books from the 2012 Orange Prize shortlist

Dez. 3, 2011, 7:00am

Great choices for January, Darryl! And I like your photo. It's so ... er ... peaceful.

Dez. 4, 2011, 7:19am

LOL, yes, such a tranquil photo. =)

I love reading your lists. I hope you like Swamplandia. Which reminds me, Laura, don't read Swamplandia - you'll hate it.

I also love nominee predictions. Deborah (cariola) RAVED about There but for the - as have others. You may be right with that prediction!

Dez. 4, 2011, 7:54am

>3 mrstreme:: ha ha Jill, thanks for the warning!

Bearbeitet: Dez. 4, 2011, 8:35am

>2 lauralkeet:, 3 Excellent. I had hoped that this serene photo would diminish the desire of les femmes violentes to pelt me with objects again this year.

>3 mrstreme: I hope you like Swamplandia!. Which reminds me, Laura, don't read Swamplandia! - you'll hate it.

Wait a minute. Isn't this a mixed message? Or do you think that I won't hate it? I was surprised to see that it was listed amongst the New York Times' 10 best books of 2011 (as was The Tiger's Wife, BTW). I'll probably read it soon, maybe even next month.

I was going to suggest a speculation thread, for books that each of us thought would make the 2012 longlist. I would include There but for the, based on the numerous positive reviews I've read, along with Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, which won the National Book Award for Fiction last month (assuming that it's currently available in the UK...yes, it was published there in October). I haven't read it yet, but Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, which won the 2011 Wellcome Trust Book Prize (for the best book about medicine in literature), would be another strong possibility. It's a novel about a hand surgeon with Alzheimer's disease who struggles with her memory while trying to solve the mystery of her friend's murder, which has received excellent reviews. I'll read these two books early next year, and I'll mention any other books which I think would be worthy of the 2012 longlist.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 4, 2011, 12:33pm

No, I think you'll like Swamplandia. =) It has some magical realism (like The Tiger's Wife, which usually isn't Laura's cup of tea).

I love the idea of a speculative thread! If nothing else, it introduces readers to other books. I'll start one right now!

Here you go: http://www.librarything.com/topic/128004

Dez. 4, 2011, 1:35pm

Yeah, magical realism isn't my thing.

Dez. 13, 2011, 8:14am

You've got a few of my favourites on your to read list - Purple Hibiscus, Small Wars and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's wives. Can recommend all 3 of them

Dez. 14, 2011, 6:17am

Thanks, Sally. I may read The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives instead of Great House for Orange December next week during my Christmas break, as the former book is on my Kindle.

Dez. 19, 2011, 6:55pm

Swamplandia was a book that took a lot of risks which is why it landed on so many Best of lists, IMO. I think sometimes critics like books that are very venturesome which, at the same time, is what turns off many readers. I liked it though, and I liked The Tiger's Wife even though I usually don't care for magical realism.

Dez. 27, 2011, 12:35pm

Making the rounds of everyone's threads and I look forward to following your Orange reading Darryl!

Dez. 27, 2011, 9:47pm

Thanks, Lori! I'll follow your thread closely, as well.

Dez. 29, 2011, 3:05pm

Once again, you have some great listed books there. I will be eagerly awaiting your comments on them as you go through January.
And I would just like to take time to say that I absolutely love your 'An Orange a Month' challenge. It is my favorite challenge other than the full monthly ones of the Orange and Virago books. So thank you so much.
Well, I have you starred and can't wait to get started here!

Dez. 30, 2011, 7:28am

Hi Darryl,

I'm looking forward to some more of your excellent reviews. I tried following your 75 thread once but gave up because I couldn't keep up with all the posts. Hopefully keeping up with your Orange reading will be a more manageable proposition!

I, too, will be interested to hear what you think of Swamplandia. I liked it with some reservations (not about the magical realism).

Jan. 2, 2012, 5:39am

Hi Darryl, I wasn't around on the threads much last year, compared with previous years and it sounds like I've missed some excitement!
I hope you don't get pelted with objects again this year! Sounds controversial :)

Hope to catch your reviews this year and it sounds like I've already got a few to catch up on!

Jan. 2, 2012, 6:31pm

Both the Shriver and Tremain novels that you're eyeing for January's reading are on my list of favourites: such different stories, but such powerful storytelling. I hope you enjoy them!

Jan. 8, 2012, 7:32pm

I loved Swamplandia with a couple of reservations -- it's very Florida-weird (which wasn't one of my reservations).

Jan. 8, 2012, 7:48pm

>17 janeajones: LOL! Your comment makes me that much more eager to read Swamplandia!...and thanks for the reminder.

Jan. 8, 2012, 9:02pm

>17 janeajones: I, too, loved Swamplandia!, but with reservations that I'm admittedly having a hard time putting my finger on. It wasn't the Florida-weird (as a native Floridian, I loved that aspect!). I found the ending to be quite satisfying even though there was a spell, with about 160 pages to go, when I just thought Russell had gotten kind of lost. Or maybe it was me who was lost.

Hi Darryl. :-)

Jan. 8, 2012, 9:17pm

Another Floridian who loves Swamplandia!

Bearbeitet: Jan. 9, 2012, 7:35am

Stopping by to say hi, Darryl! Ah, I did not know that Jill was from Florida. You've got a great bunch of Oranges planned. You know, I've got Turn of Mind on my kindle. I'll try to get to it re your prediction. As for me, I've just finished The Siege by Helen Dunmore. I thought it was a fabulous read.
Swamplandia - hmmm - not so big on magical realism...

Jan. 14, 2012, 9:05pm

Glad to hear that you will try to fit in The Siege . I really loved it! Onto The Hero's Walk by Anita Rau Badami, an Orange Longlist. . I've read a couple of other books by that author, so I suspect I will very much enjoy The Hero's Walk.

I hope your Orange January is going well, Darryl!

Jan. 15, 2012, 6:45am

I started Swamplandia! this morning. I'm only 15 pages in, but I'm hooked so far.

Jan. 15, 2012, 8:09am

Hope you enjoy it, Darryl!

Jan. 16, 2012, 9:36pm

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

My rating:

2011 Orange Prize longlist

Thirteen year old Ava is the youngest member of the Bigtree tribe, who lives on an isolated south Florida island along the Gulf Coast, and operates the Swamplandia! theme park, which is dedicated to the 98 gators, or Seths, that live in its large tank. Ava's mother Hilola, the star of the daily performances, has died, leaving Ava and her two older siblings Ossie and Kiwi rudderless, as the show loses its appeal and fan base to the nearby World of Darkness amusement park. Their father, known to them and visitors as Chief, hatches a plan to revive the flagging show, and leaves the three to fend for themselves as the park temporarily suspends its operations.

The brainy but naïve Kiwi leaves for the mainland to earn money for the family and seek an education at Harvard. Ossie is influenced by the occult, and meets a ghost boyfriend who meets her in the surrounding swamps. Ava, the most grounded of the four Bigtrees, is left to care for the Seths and watch over the increasingly erratic behavior of her sister.

Swamplandia! was a disturbing novel, which was filled with characters that were too strange to be likeable, and plots that were too odd to be believable to this reader. The best parts of the book were the superb painting on the front of the dust jacket, and the enticing reviews on the back. Karen Russell is clearly a very talented writer, and many readers will enjoy this book far better than I did, so I would not want to discourage anyone from giving this book a try.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 26, 2012, 11:51am

Aw, it's too bad that you didn't enjoy Swamplandia more. I had a rather different response to it myself (my thoughts are here, if you're interested), but I do understand why it wouldn't appeal to everyone.

I've heard really good things about her short story collection, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Edited because it's apparently too early, at nearly noon, to deal with HTML.

Jan. 27, 2012, 10:50am

>26 buriedinprint: Thanks for pointing me to your review, buriedinprint; I'll read it later today.

I put the disclaimer in the last sentence of my review as I knew that several people would like Swamplandia! and I didn't want to discourage them from giving it a try. I expected that I would really like it, and I was looking forward to reading it, so it was especially disappointing that I didn't enjoy it.

Is St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves her short story collection? If so, someone on LT said that it was similar to Swamplandia!, so I suspect that you'll like it.

I won't read any more Orange books this month, and I probably won't read any in February, either. However, I'm eagerly—and impatiently—waiting for the 2012 longlist announcement, as I expect that two of the books I'm eager to read will be there: There but for the by Ali Smith, and Gillespie and I by Jane Harris.

Feb. 7, 2012, 9:10pm

I've heard good things about There but for the and Gillespie and I as well

Mrz. 8, 2012, 7:28am

I'll start reading books from this year's longlist right away, starting with There but for the by Ali Smith, followed by Gillespie and I by Jane Harris either later this month or next month.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 21, 2012, 11:26pm

A quick update: I finished Gillespie and I yesterday, which was absolutely brilliant; it's my favorite novel of the year so far. I followed that tonight by finishing The Song of Achilles, which was nearly as good. I'll review both books in the next day or two.

So far I've read five books from this year's longlist: Half-Blood Blues (read in 2011), The Submission (ditto), There but for the, Gillespie and I and The Song of Achilles. I own all of the shortlisted books, along with these books from the longlist that I haven't read yet: Lord of Misrule, and The Grief of Others.

Apr. 22, 2012, 8:29am

I'm glad to hear that Gillespie and I was a hit with you. I'm reading that soon - its our book group choice for next meeting.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 24, 2012, 4:02pm

Here's my review of Gillespie and I:

Harriet Baxter is an 80 year old woman living alone in Bloomsbury in 1933. As she nears the end of her life, and while she possesses a full mental capacity, she decides to write a memoir about Ned Gillespie, a brilliant Glaswegian painter who never achieved the fame he deserved.

Harriet is a single and outspoken woman of good taste and independent means in her mid-30s, who travels from London to Glasgow to attend the 1888 International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry. She is introduced to Ned after she has a remarkable encounter with his mother Elspeth and wife Annie, and she recognizes him from an art exhibition in London held several years previously. The two women befriend Harriet, who integrates herself into the lives of the Gillespie family, including their younger daughter Rose and her older, troubled sister Sibyl, along with Ned's overbearing mother and his secretive brother.

She decides to lengthen her stay in Glasgow, as she becomes a somewhat awkward yet appreciated fixture in the Gillespie household. Sibyl exhibits increasingly strange and disturbing behavior, which strains the marriage and Annie's relationship with Elspeth, and culminates in a shocking crime that devastates the Gillespies and their new friend.

The novel shifts between 1888 Glasgow and 1933 London, as Harriet tells her side of the events that surrounded the crime and its notorious trial and aftermath, in order to set the record straight. The action and tension build in both settings, as Harriet proves to be an increasingly unreliable narrator, which left this reader fascinated and on the edge of his seat until the final page.

Gillespie and I is a devastating and brilliant accomplishment, with a deliciously unreliable narrator, superb and compelling characters, and a highly captivating story that ranks amongst the most enjoyable novels I've ever read. As other readers have mentioned, I wanted to start it again from the beginning immediately after I finished it, and its characters will remain with me for a long time to come (5 stars).

Apr. 24, 2012, 10:39am

Thumb up for this review, Darryl. Sounds like my sort of brew.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 24, 2012, 12:23pm

Thanks, Linda. I hope that you read it and enjoy it as much as I (and several others) did.

Bearbeitet: Apr. 24, 2012, 4:03pm

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

My rating:

Madeline Miller grew up in Philadelphia, received her bachelor's and master's degrees in Classics from Brown, and spent the past 10 years, using her knowledge and love of The Iliad and the Trojan War, in writing this captivating novel, as narrated by Achilles' best friend and closest confidant Patroclus.

As the story opens, Patroclus, the son of Menoitius, King of Opus, describes his early years in his father's kingdom. He is an embarrassment to his father, as he is simple minded and slow of foot, particularly in comparison to the fleet-footed Achilles, son of Peleus, King of the Myrmidons, and Thetis, a lesser but still powerful sea-goddess. Patroclus admires and is attracted to this impossibly handsome and gifted young man after he wins a race in his father's kingdom.

Patroclus is banished from Opus after an unfortunate accident, and is sent to continue his education and training with Peleus. Patroclus and Achilles are soon attracted to each other, and become inseparable friends and cautious lovers, to the disapproval and dismay of Thetis, who views Patroclus as unsuitable and unworthy of her son. Achilles is prophesied to be the greatest warrior who ever lived, mainly due to his exemplary lineage, and is beloved within and outside of his father's kingdom.

The two young men further their education in life under the tutelage of the centaur Chiron, as they grow to love and respect each other and their inimitable teacher. After several years of training, Achilles is urgently summoned home, to lead the Myrmidons in battle against the Trojans, as Paris, son of the King of Troy, has kidnapped Helen, the Queen of Sparta and the most beautiful woman in the world. Her husband Menelaus and his greedy and power hungry brother, Agamemnon, call on the surrounding kingdoms to honor the oath from Odysseus at the time of her marriage, which compels them to aid him in reclaiming Helen from the Trojans.

Miller skillfully portrays the build up to and the major events in the Trojan War, including the drudgery of warfare and the squabbles between Achilles and Agamemnon and its tragic consequences, ending with the ultimate fates of Patroclus and Achilles.

The Song of Achilles is a remarkable achievement, one which is worthy of this year's Orange Prize, as its author has created a novel that is a beautiful love story and a page turning tale of war, jealousy and friendship. I would imagine that one of Miller's goals in writing this book is to introduce readers like myself who are naïve to The Iliad to the beauty and timelessness of this story, and she has succeeded in doing so. I will read Homer's classic works in the near future, and I'll eagerly return to The Song of Achilles for a pleasure filled re-read soon afterward.

Apr. 24, 2012, 3:58pm

It's been a long time since I read The Iliad, but based on your review, it doesn't appear that you need a thorough understanding of Homer's story to appreciate The Song of Achilles. That's good news for me! =)

Apr. 24, 2012, 4:02pm

Right, Jill. Before I read it, I asked Richard (richardderus) and Bonnie (brenzi), who both read and loved it, if I should read The Iliad beforehand. Both said no, and I agree with them.

Apr. 24, 2012, 4:37pm

I would love for this one to win!

Apr. 24, 2012, 5:00pm

Same here, Laura!

Apr. 25, 2012, 12:20pm

Sounds like The Song of Achilles might need to be moved up on my TBR list!!

Excellent review!!! And, like you I was thinking I needed to read The Iliad first, but am glad to see you thoroughly enjoyed The Song of Achilles anyway!

Apr. 26, 2012, 2:50pm

Hey Darryl, you should write another book review because I don't think having THREE hot reviews on LT is ENOUGH! LOL! =)

Mai 7, 2012, 12:41pm

Based on your review, I'm reading Achilles now!


Mai 7, 2012, 2:21pm

>41 mrstreme: I'll need to get cracking then! I have no hot reviews at the moment.

>42 TinaV95: Excellent, Tina! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

I finished State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, an engrossing but flawed novel. I'll review it in the next day or two.

So far I'm halfway to my goal of reading the entire shortlist by the time of the prize ceremony on May 30th, and I should be able to get there. I'll read The Forgotten Waltz this week, and then read Painter of Silence and Foreign Bodies in the following two weeks.

Mai 17, 2012, 6:21am

I'm nearly done with this year's shortlist, after I finished Painter of Silence on Tuesday and The Forgotten Waltz this morning. I'll read the remaining book, Foreign Bodies, sometime next week.

Bearbeitet: Mai 27, 2012, 6:32am

I've just finished Foreign Bodies, my fourth Orange book of the month, all of which were ones that were shortlisted for this year's award. It was beautifully written, but rather disjointed. I'll give it 3½ stars for now, although I might bump it to a 4 star read.

I've now completed the shortlist, and here's my final rating:

1. The Song of Achilles
2. Painter of Silence
3. Foreign Bodies
4. State of Wonder
5. Half Blood Blues
6. The Forgotten Waltz

So far I've read eight books from this year's longlist, including Gillespie and I, which was my favorite, and There but for the, which deserved a spot on the shortlist, IMO. My overall list to date would look like this:

1. Gillespie and I
2. The Song of Achilles
3. Painter of Silence
4. There but for the
5. Foreign Bodies
6. State of Wonder
7. Half Blood Blues
8. The Forgotten Waltz

I'll plan to read The Septembers of Shiraz by and Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon during Orange July, followed by The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen and probably The Siege by Helen Dunmore before the end of the year. That will give me 12 Oranges for the year, 10 books from this year's longlist, and all six of this year's shortlisted books, which puts me on track to complete my Orange goals for the year.

Mai 27, 2012, 6:30am

Darryl, I always enjoy your ranking of the shortlist and longlist titles. I'll be reading Gillespie and I and The Song of Achilles very soon, on the strength of your reviews a while back, and the general raves around here. Your lists always help me choose the ones I want to read.

Mai 27, 2012, 6:53am

Thanks, Laura. I'm glad that I completed the shortlist in advance of the prize announcement, but I'm a bit disappointed in the books that were chosen, to be honest. I disliked the last two, although many other readers and reviewers were far more positive than I about them, and Foreign Bodies and State of Wonder probably would not have made my shortlist had I read all 20 longlisted titles. I suspect that Lord of Misrule and The Grief of Others will knock both books out of my top six. I'll have to pay attention to reviews of the 10 longlisted books I don't own, to see if any of them are particularly appealing to me.

Dez. 17, 2012, 10:35am

Hmm, my thread here has grown stale, as I haven't read many, if any, Orange books since the first half of the year. Here's my year end tally:

1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
2. There but for the by Ali Smith
3. Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
5. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
6. Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
7. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
8. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick

At the moment I haven't achieved my goal of 12 Oranges in 2012. However, several books I read this year, four of which were selected for this year's Booker Prize longlist, have a strong chance of being longlisted for next year's Women's Prize for Fiction:

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
NW by Zadie Smith
The Yips by Nicola Barker

I plan to read Great House by Nicole Krauss in January, the only book from the 2011 Orange Prize shortlist that I haven't read yet. I also intend to read 8-10 books from next year's Women's Prize for Fiction longlist, and to participate in the shadow jury as I did this year. Hopefully most if not all of the Orange eligible books I read in 2012 will appear on that longlist.

Bearbeitet: Dez. 18, 2012, 6:23pm

My Orange thread is musty / moldy / stale too, Darryl :)

Here's hoping for a January full of great oranges.

Dez. 19, 2012, 12:40am

I'm planning on making Great House my first read of the New Year, I've had it since it first came out.

Dez. 28, 2012, 10:30pm

>49 TinaV95: Thanks, Tina. I'll probably only read Great House in January, though.

>50 avatiakh: Excellent, Kerry; I'll definitely read it next month.

Bearbeitet: Jan. 6, 2013, 12:25am

Sorry, wrong year. lol!~!