Saturday, September 21

Giller Fever - 2013

It's that time of year again, the days are cooler, cold even. The air is crisp, the leaves start to turn bright reds and oranges, and everyone around you has the sniffles. For some of us, it means Giller Fever has come. What is Giller Fever? Well, it's the need to run off, read, discuss, read all about the books, on the longlist/shortlist and see if you agree or disagree with who is on there, and who will eventually win.

First symptoms are looking through the list of 140+ books that are eligible for the prize, and adding many, or for some, all the books to mount tbr and then trying to determine what the jury panel is thinking and who might appear on the longlist. The second symptom is marking down the release date, of the longlist announcement, and subtlety checking your phone or computer at work, to sneak a glance at the list. (This year, I waited to my lunch break, but the urge to sneak off and check was there.) Next comes the discussions, posts, perhaps disappointment and joy at who is on the lists - symptoms here vary. While your bookish friends are happy to discuss all of your thoughts and opinions, your other friends look at you blankly or they nod and smile, but they don't seem to get what the fuss is about. Also, your book shelves will probably start to protest, hoping you use the ol' library card, instead of visiting your favourite book store.

Which brings be to the next set of symptoms, the ones where you either exercise that library card or bank card, where you forgo sleep in attempt to read all the longlisted books before the short list comes out. Which is next to impossible. You walk around in wrinkled clothes, hair is frizzy, and you've probably had your eighth cup of coffee. You start to make complex charts and perditions at who will make it to that shortlist, and of course later who will win - yet despite that, you never quite get it right.

Okay, so I'm not that extreme..... but I do catch Giller fever, the need to see if which books are going to be the talk of CanLit - and my library card is being heavily exercised because of the longlist. I have to say I'm surprised with what's on this year's list. I like to go through the eligible book list and see which books appeal to me and which ones I like, or ones that look interesting enough, but might expand my reading comfort zones. So far I've managed to limit that done to about 38 books that interested me, although this year I was a little more cut throat than I have been in previous years. Of my own list of books that interested me, only three are on this year's longlist, although there may have some that were ones I was on the fence about. So, this will be an interesting Giller season for me, because the majority of book aren't exactly ones I'd normally pick up and read. Which is a good and bad thing. Good, because I may find my next great read, bad because I fear there might be more than one book on the list I just won't like.

Although, the experimenting with new books can surprise you, especially when you read them all from the list. Last year, one of the books I wasn't very interested in, ended up being my favourite read of the entire list, and one of my favourite reads of the the majority of book aren't exactly ones I'd normally pick up and read. Which is a good and bad thing. Good, because I may find my next great read, bad because I fear there might be more than one book on the list I just won't like. The books do surprise you, especially when you read them all from the list. Last year, one of the books I wasn't very interested in, ended up being one of my favourites from the entire list and one of my favourite reads of the year. While another book I was looking forward to, so much that I bought it pretty much right away, ended up being mediocre for me. So, with that being said, I am going into this list with an open mind, and will see what happens.

The 2013 Longlist list is: (Also the link to got to the Scotiabank Giller Prize Website)

• Going Home Again - Dennis Bock - 3.25/10 - My Review
• The Orenda - Joseph Boyden
• Hellgoing - Lynn Coady - 7.25/10 - My Review
• Cataract City - Craig Davidson
• How to Get Along With Women - Elisabeth de Mariaffi
• Extraordinary - David Gilmour - 8/10 - My Review
• Emancipation Day - Wayne Grady
• October 1970 - Louis Hamelin
• The Son of a Certain Woman - Wayne Johnston - 3/10 - My Review
• The Woman Upstairs - Claire Messud - 5.5/10 - My Review
• Caught - Lisa Moore - 7.5/10 - My Review
• The Crooked Maid - Dan Vyleta - 8.5/10 - My Review
• Minister Without Portfolio - Michael Winter - 6.5/10 - My Review




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So as I've said above, only three of the books were on my radar when I went through the eligible book list, The Orenda, Caught and The Crooked Maid. And the first two of those books were already on my tbr list, because I enjoyed the author's previous works, so of course I want to check out their other books. I've seen The Women Upstairs a few times in book stores or mentioned by others, but most of the other books on the list are unfamiliar. All but four authors are new to me, so I'm having a lot of trouble trying to guess who will make it to the shortlist, let alone who will win. So this year's guessing, will have to wait until I've read more of the books. I am surprised a few titles I saw on the eligible list didn't make the cut, as there were a few on there that had me wanting to grab them up right away. Which is why I've decided to do my own version of the Giller Prize click here to get all the details.

Please feel free to join in with me for discussions, thoughts, reviews on either the real list or the fake list. I know I'm not the only one to catch Giller Fever!

4 comments:

  1. Your click here link isn't working. I'd love to see it!

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    1. Sorry about that. I was finishing up the details of the second post. The link is up now, nd you can also go here.

      http://www.julesbookreviews.com/2013/09/jules-book-reviews-prize.html

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  2. I was surprised by many of the books listed on the Giller Long List. Like you, I was not that familiar with many of them, but i thought that was perhaps because I no longer live in Canada. I was especially surprised to see Claire Messud on the list, mostly because I never knew she was Canadian!! As it turns out, she is by birth, though I still tend to think of her as an American writer. I look forwards to see what you have to say over the coming weeks.

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    1. A lot of people were surprised by Claire Messud being on the list, because like you they think of her as an American.This year's Giller list is a reading experiment for me - a whole bunch of books, authors I wouldn't haven normally read, that I'm now reading - it will be interesting to see what turns out to me my favourite.

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