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2012 Orange Prize Short List

Orange January/July

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Edited: Apr 17, 2012, 5:07am Top

Yes, I just read it online. Thanks for posting , HRO. Hmmm. I haven't read any of them. I do have State of Wonder in my TBR pile, Half- Blood Blues, and Painter of Silence. I think I'll read Painter of Silence next.

Apr 17, 2012, 5:23am Top

Thanks for posting, HRO! I've only read State of Wonder - a little surprised to see it make the short list. The other books all sound wonderful or intriguing - must get busy reading these nominees!

Apr 17, 2012, 6:02am Top

Thanks, HRO! I've read Half Blood Blues, which I expected to see on the short list, even though I didn't like it (many others did, though). I'm very disappointed that Gillespie and I wasn't chosen; I'll put it aside for now, and add it to my Orange July list. I now have all six longlisted novels, after downloading Painter of Silence and Foreign Bodies this morning, and I'll attempt to read the entire shortlist before the award ceremony on May 30th, starting with State of Wonder.

Apr 17, 2012, 6:27am Top

I must confess that I woke up an hour earlier than usual, and the first thing I did (after getting a cup of coffee!) was to check the Orange Prize website.

I'm thrilled to see Half Blood Blues on the list! It's my favorite book of the year so far, and the only one on the shortlist list that I've read. I really want to read Song of Achilles and Painter of Silence.

Based on the opinions of other readers, I'm surprised that the list includes Foreign Bodies and The Forgotten Waltz. I'm quite not happy to see State of Wonder made the list...but in my opinion, any book is better than a Patchett book. Not a fan. :)

Apr 17, 2012, 9:08am Top

I had to troop over here as quickly as I could (not having gotten up early to find the list, however) because I knew that somebody would have posted the list. Prize readers love and adore Anne Enright, don't they? Sure, she can write, but somehow I don't warm to her. I'm surprised to see that I have 3 of them and will read on when I finish Lord of Misrule. I had actually thought that it might be this year's Jamrach's Menagerie - the "now for something completely different" book. Now I really, really want *Achilles* and *Silence*. Hmmmm. (And while I liked Bel Canto quite a lot, I'm not compelled to acquire State of Wonder immediately.)
And that's my commentary for now on the whole list.

Apr 17, 2012, 9:15am Top

Well this list is always a surprise IMO. I've read State of Wonder; liked it but never considered it a prize winner. And I'm reading The Song of Achilles right now. I don't know if I'll read the rest before the winner is chosen but I'll probably read a few of them.

Apr 17, 2012, 9:56am Top

Back to say that I totally caved as usual and now have both *Achilles* and *Silence* on my Kindle. I'll be looking to see what you have to say about the former, Bonnie, because I won't get to it right away.

Apr 17, 2012, 10:11am Top

Well, since I bought Foreign Bodies a few months ago, I guess I should read it.

Apr 17, 2012, 12:01pm Top

Three of the books on the shortlist are on my TBR list: Song of Achilles (which I hope will be the next winner, if only because of the subject and the awesome reviews I've seen), State of Wonder, and Painter of Silence.

6 of the books from the longlist that I had on my TBR list did not make the shortlist.

Edited: Apr 17, 2012, 4:49pm Top

Thank you HRO for posting this for us. We blub U!~!
The only one on the list that I have read is The Forgotten Waltz and I have to say that I am really surprised to see it there. I have been rather disappointed with the long list this year. Previously, I have loved almost every single Orange I have read. But then again, I would hate to be the one and appreciate those who have made these choices. Might make July a shorter month for me though.

Went right to my library site and man, people are all over the Patchett; 40 holds.............. all others on the short list were available now except for one that I am 2nd on the hold list. That I can live with.

Apr 17, 2012, 8:11pm Top

@8 - Lizzie ! You and your " caving" . That will be me as soon as I finish my group read that I am in the midst of reading.

Apr 17, 2012, 8:53pm Top

Of the shortlist, I only own State of Wonder. I do really want to read Song of Achilles, might see if I can get that at the library... (Hm, only one copy and it's out. I'm in the queue to get it now.)

Apr 17, 2012, 9:33pm Top

I was hoping they'd pick books I really want to read!

I've read Half Blood Blues (loved it) and am still in line for The Forgotten Waltz at the library - I requested it when the longlist was announced. I'm somewhat interested in Song of Achilles, but State of Wonder? not really.

The other two aren't in the library, or available at the nearest Indigo, and I'm not interested enough to order them.

Apr 17, 2012, 10:59pm Top

I'm halfway through Painter of Silence and it's beautiful so far. It reminds me a smidge of The English Patient without being a copy. Glad to see Half-Blood Blues and The Forgotten Waltz made it. They are two of my favourites from the past year. Not as thrilled with Foreign Bodies (which I finished, but did not enjoy) and Song of Achilles (I like my historical fiction to have more heart and found it a bit sterile.) Has anyone else had similar reactions to Achilles and Bodies?

Apr 17, 2012, 11:18pm Top

I've read four of the short list, and my favorites so far are Painter of Silence and Song of Achilles, both of which I loved and was happy to see on the short list. I did not like Half Blood Blues quite as much, but thought it was pretty likely to end up on the list. Foreign Bodies didn't really do it for me--it's caused me to feel I need to read more Henry James in order to appreciate it. I have The Forgotten Waltz out from the library so that will probably be my next read.

Apr 18, 2012, 9:59am Top

I'm still reading and now really loving, Lord of Misrule with all its flaws, so I'm sorry it didn't make the cut. PFox and Anne (but Anne, you probably know), our reading guru Chatterbox characterized Foreign Bodies as "heavy blancmange." I haven't asked her how she feels about H.James (a favorite of mine), so I'll definitely read it anyway at some point.

Apr 18, 2012, 12:40pm Top

15, 16: I am soooo weak. Like Peggy I caved and bought the Kindle version of Painter of Silence. I read and loved the free sample, and since it isn't being released in dead tree form until September in the U.S., it was a no-brainer to click "Buy," especially after reading good reports from PFox and Anne. Thanks for the enabling, Guys!

State of Wonder is the only other one on the SL that I've read, but I am on the library hold list for Song of Achilles.

Edited: Apr 18, 2012, 2:50pm Top

Broke down and ordered Painter of Silence from Book Depository. $11.05. I'm still old school. :-)

Will read one or two more shortlist titles from the library.

Apr 18, 2012, 8:39pm Top

I'm disappointed that I have only read one from the list. The Forgotten Waltz was good, I thought, but great? Not so sure. I have Half Blood Blues, Foreign Bodies and State of Wonder on the bedside table though. I will hopefully get to them very soon!

Apr 19, 2012, 8:58pm Top

You can't pay me enough to read Patchett but the others look good. I read Half-Blood BLues and enjoyed it. I will have to give Painter a go at some point.

Apr 20, 2012, 5:18am Top

According to articles in The Guardian and The Telegraph the "bookmakers" are projecting Ozick as the winner.

Apr 20, 2012, 6:10am Top

Interesting, HRO. Maybe I will have to search for Foreign Bodies. I don't think I've seen it around here as yet.

Apr 20, 2012, 10:21am Top

Deb - if you're in North Van, I bought my copy at 32 Books. That was back before the Orange list, so not sure if it's still in stock, but you could give them a shout.

Apr 20, 2012, 3:10pm Top

It might be my lack of Henry James reading but I'm reading Foreign Bodies at the moment and so far it's leaving me cold.

Apr 20, 2012, 3:57pm Top

I adore Henry James, which is the reason I bought this book. However, Foreign Bodies is linked to his The Ambassadors, which is a novel I haven't read yet because it scares me!

Apr 20, 2012, 4:16pm Top

It left me a little cold Heather, but you really do need to check out Suzanne/Chatterbox's comments (referenced in #17 above) for a more sweeping statement.
I do like Henry James, but haven't read The Ambassadors.
Of all the Orange titles I've read so far, and I think I've read 8 of them, I liked Foreign Bodies the least. I'm baffled by the news that it's the bookmakers' favorite to win, when some of the other books are so very good.
It makes me wonder what I'm missing.

Apr 20, 2012, 4:47pm Top

Regarding, Cynthia Olzick: Do you think the odds are in her favor because of her age and long writing career? Especially because a very young writer won last year?

Edited: Apr 20, 2012, 5:31pm Top

Like you, Anne, Foreign Bodies has been my least favorite Orange selection to date. I have not read the The Ambassadors but don't think it would have made a great difference.

I also wondered whether the prediction of a win had more to do with the author than the book . . .

Apr 21, 2012, 10:35pm Top

I'm reading Foreign Bodies now. It's O.K. I'm probably going to end up liking it more than Suzanne did, but a winner? I don't think so. (The Ambassadors is one of my favorite Jameses from 30 years ago, and at least Ozick is making me want to reread it now.) I have no idea why I decided to read this one next, but I can't wait to finish so that I can start The Song of Achilles.

Apr 21, 2012, 11:19pm Top

I just finished The Song of Achilles, which was superb. I would probably have appreciated it more if I had already read The Iliad, but it stands on its own as a brilliant piece of fiction. I've only read it and Half-Blood Blues from the shortlist, and Miller's novel easily outshines the latter one. I did finish Gillespie and I yesterday, which IMO is even better than The Song of Achilles, and is my favorite novel of the year so far. It's a shame (and a bit of a travesty) that it wasn't selected for the shortlist.

I'll read State of Wonder later this week, and I'll plan to finish the remaining books on the shortlist next month.

Apr 22, 2012, 10:16am Top

I've read two from the short list--Foreign Bodies and Half-Blood Blues--and that'll probably be all I get to until after the winner is announced. (I'm on the library's waiting list for Song of Achilles and State of Wonder.)

I liked Half-Blood Blues MUCH more than Foreign Bodies. With the longlist, I often found it difficult to rank the books I read; they were so different it was comparing apples and oranges. But these two feel more like oranges and oranges to me, so to speak. Foreign Bodies told me about Paris; Half-Blood Blues took me there. Foreign Bodies told me that people find it hard to change their own lives but all too easy to change other people's lives; Half-Blood Blues made me feel it.

Apr 22, 2012, 4:57pm Top

I treated myself to four short-listed books today, thanks in part to a gift card from B&N:

Half-Blood Blues
The Forgotten Waltz
Foreign Bodies
The Song of Achilles

Georgina Harding's book isn't available yet, and I have already read State of Wonder. I hope to read at least two of the short-listed books before the winner's announcement.

Apr 23, 2012, 10:57pm Top

Very astute comparisons of Foreign Bodies and Half-Blood Blues, noveltea. I know you're right about the *FB* part; I'm eager to get to *H-BB*!

Apr 23, 2012, 11:24pm Top

#32 I like your comments. I have just started Half Blood Blues and am liking it, the other is waiting to be read. It will be interesting to see if I agree with you about them.

Apr 24, 2012, 10:18am Top

I started Foreign Bodies last night, and although I'm not very far into it, I don't get what all the complaints are about--so far I think it's great stuff. Most intriguing. I'm also relieved that it's not written in a impenetrable Henry James style.

Apr 24, 2012, 12:14pm Top

>36 Nickelini: Oh, good. I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying Foreign Bodies, Joyce.

Apr 24, 2012, 2:56pm Top

>36 Nickelini:, me too, Joyce. It's on my TBR pile!

Apr 24, 2012, 3:50pm Top

I've just posted my review of The Song of Achilles, and created a thread for the book in the group. I reviewed Half-Blood Blues last September when it was longlisted for the 2011 Booker Prize; my review is here.

Apr 26, 2012, 3:07pm Top

#27 Thanks Anne, I've finished Foreign Bodies now and Suzanne's thoughts echoed mine - I was also left strangely unmoved. Didn't dislike it, just didn't feel anything about it. I wonder if knowing something about The Ambassadors would have helped.

Apr 26, 2012, 7:47pm Top

#40 I think you might be onto something there . . .

Does someone want to poll the LT readership?!
- Do readers of Foreign Bodies enjoy it more, rating it higher, if they have also read The Ambassadors? -

Edited: Apr 27, 2012, 10:39am Top

I didn't know anything about The Ambassadors before reading and enjoying Foreign Bodies. In fact, i read it in a single day. I didn't love the book, but it was still a 4 star read for me. I believed the characters even though they were unlikable.

The Forgotten Waltz is up next.

Apr 28, 2012, 4:08pm Top

I bought Foreign Bodies because of the Henry James connection, even though I haven't read The Ambassadors yet. I like these sort of inter-textual retellings (The Hours is one of my favourite books). I didn't love Foreign Bodies, but I rated it 4 stars.

Apr 29, 2012, 3:38pm Top

I have read The Ambassadors, and off the top of my head, I'd say that the very basic story-line is the only thing they have in common.... A surrogate goes to Europe to retrieve a son from the clutches of a European lover, finds him changed, finds him/herself changed. I certainly need to reread *Ambassadors*, so maybe I've missed a lot.

May 4, 2012, 1:21pm Top

Finished up The Forgotten Waltz yesterday, my second of the shortlist. I always think Enright is a great writer but I never like her storylines or characters. Liked the first half of it much better than the second half. Probably have to give it 4 stars just for the excellent writing, though.

I gave Foreign Bodies 4 stars as well, but liked it better than Enright's.

Now listening to State of Wonder while in the car. Next physical book up is Green Angel for Carl's Once Upon a Time challenge. I'll read another shortlist title after that.

May 6, 2012, 12:55pm Top

Half way into Song of Achilles. Not really that into it. My kids and I used to read (and listen to) a lot of mythology when they were younger and I just don't see anything special about this one compared to those.

May 7, 2012, 12:26pm Top

Finished Song of Achilles. My review is in my thread or on the Song of Achilles thread. So far my ranking of the 3 I've read is:

Foreign Bodies
The Forgotten Waltz
Song of Achilles

May 7, 2012, 2:22pm Top

I finished State of Wonder, my third book from this year's shortlist. Here's my ranking so far:

1. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
2. State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
3. Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

May 7, 2012, 4:08pm Top

I've now read all the shortlist books except for State of Wonder, which I do plan to get to this month.

For me, the ranking would be:
1. The Song of Achilles
2. Painter of Silence
3. The Forgotten Waltz or Half Blood Blues (I'm having trouble deciding which of these two I liked better, so for now it's a tie)
5. Foreign Bodies

May 7, 2012, 4:24pm Top

I started a new thread where we can place our winner's predictions. Thank you! =)

May 10, 2012, 4:38pm Top

I'm about 100 pages into Painter of Silence and I love it so far.

May 11, 2012, 11:50pm Top

Halfway through the audio of State of Wonder and really enjoying it.

May 13, 2012, 9:08am Top

I've started Painter of Silence this morning, and I love it so far.

May 13, 2012, 9:58am Top

Just finished The Forgotten Waltz, and I quite liked it. Very sad, but for some people, life is sad.

May 13, 2012, 12:20pm Top

#54> Elizabeth, I liked it better than The Gathering. A more approachable novel.

May 13, 2012, 12:23pm Top

I liked The Gathering as well though. The way she writes matches the way my brain thinks. You wrote a great review Jill. I think I'll be thinking about The Forgotten Waltz for a while, always the sign of a great book. She covered the three great events of people my age - affairs, death of mother, illness in a child.

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