The Booker Prize is Due to be Announced Today! and What I’m Reading

Anticipation's running high, at least in the literary-related blogging community, as to which book will wind up winning the ManBooker Prize for 2006. My own money is still on Kate Grenville, for The Secret River, but I've been hearing an awful lot of buzz that Sarah Waters may pull ahead with her The Night Watch. Personally, I'd say these two are both so incredibly talented it wouldn't surprise me if either won. I'm just wondering if there'll be an upset, and an unexpected dark horse candidate will win the prize. We shall see.

I haven't completed a whole lot this week, partly because my attention was partly diverted due to the beginning of the month new periodical publications. The Oxford American has its music issue out, for one thing, and that can really turn a girl's head. That's not to mention new issues of The Common Reader, The American Scholar and of course the new New York Review of Books in which Joan Didion has a go at Dick Cheney. These all really do cut into the reading time.

Still, I did manage to squeeze in Nora Ephron's absolutely wonderful I Feel Bad About My Neck, which I'd highly recommend. It's a great example of how to balance the serious with the comic, and it's about as entertaining as a book of essays gets.

I also read the fourth installment in a mystery series written by David J. Walker, a local Chicago-area writer. All the Dead Fathers entirely gripped me for an evening. I couldn't put the thing down 'til I'd finished it. Definitely a great thriller, and also timely as it deals with the issue of sexual abuses committed by priests, and one woman who set about eliminating these men in a rather gruesome manner.

Ruth Rendell's The Tree of Hands rounded out my completed reading this week. This is one of her older books, and every bit as psychologically disturbing as her best books. She takes a mother's worst nightmare, the unexpected loss of an only child, and adds in a disturbed grandmother who seeks to replace the lost grandchild, with absolutely heart-pounding results. Great stuff.

Ongoing reading that may or may not make next week's completed list includes: Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates, Harm Done by Ruth Rendell, and a bio about Emma Hamilton. But, as with the Bookers, I wouldn't discount the idea of a dark horse (or two) usurping the lot.

- Lisa Guidarini

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