2012 Orange Prize Short List
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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!
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.
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. :)
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.
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.
Well, since I bought Foreign Bodies a few months ago, I guess I should read it.
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.
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.
@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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Interesting, HRO. Maybe I will have to search for Foreign Bodies. I don't think I've seen it around here as yet.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I treated myself to four short-listed books today, thanks in part to a gift card from B&N:
The Forgotten Waltz
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.
#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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
I started a new thread where we can place our winner's predictions. Thank you! =)
I'm about 100 pages into Painter of Silence and I love it so far.
Halfway through the audio of State of Wonder and really enjoying it.
Just finished The Forgotten Waltz, and I quite liked it. Very sad, but for some people, life is sad.
#54> Elizabeth, I liked it better than The Gathering. A more approachable novel.
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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