Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Reading the Booker books, Post 2: Amassing the Books

Once I decided to read all the Booker Prize winners this year, I started amassing the books. I want to have them all (and read them all) in print, just so I can see them all together in one place. Also, I like to have shopping goals, like completing sets.

I already had two of the ones I’d read previously, The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (in fact, I’m pretty sure I have everything she’s published in book form), and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, which I read shortly after it came out in 1992; it must have been the summer before I began graduate school.

That left 50 to buy, and I was able to get 21 of them through Paperback Swap. (Great site! You post books you don’t want, request books you don’t have, and you only pay postage for the books you send.) That got me off to a running start. But many of the books I needed weren’t posted, or had long waiting lists.

This holiday season, I was lucky enough to receive some gift cards to Barnes and Noble (thanks to my students) and Powell’s Books (thanks, Dad), so I was able to purchase some online. Then I started scouring thrift stores and used book stores, where I picked up a few more.

Then I got impatient and started buying them online, used, from Thrift Books, Better World Books, and eBay. As of today, I am only waiting on the most recent one, Lincoln in the Bardo, which I bought new from the publisher with a discount for being on a teacher panel. Despite being as thrifty as possible, I’ve spent at least $100 (not counting the gift cards) getting the 50 books I didn’t already own.

I had to clear a shelf, of course – The Booker Bookshelf -- and then, being me, I had to label them. Each book now sports a colorful Post-It flag on its spine with its year and number, 1 through 52. I plan to read them in chronological order, except for Hilary Mantel’s *two* winning novels, #44 and #47, Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring up the Bodies (2012), because the second is a sequel to the first, so I will read them together. I also got the audio book for the second one, so I can listen to it in the car, and get on with book #45 after Wolf Hall.

Also, one of my book clubs (I belong to three) generously agreed to read Roddy Doyle’s Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha (1993) with me, in early March. Since it’s almost February and I haven’t started yet, I doubt I will be at book #28 by then, so I’ll read that out of order, too.

Next up: Booker Prize winners and the Nobel Prize in Literature!

Booker books 1-51, on the Booker Bookshelf

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