Baileys women’s prize for fiction longlist and my early projections

I’m trying to get out from under the exciting Book Prize Season bookwhore read-a-thon and am doing an abysmal job of it. I cannot read them all, even from one major prize, yet I convince myself I should try. Why? Don’t try rationalizing with me. This has never worked, ever. For anyone.

Then comes this year’s Baileys Prize Longlist and I find myself madly typing book titles into Amazon’s search box (wicked, nasty, HOT Amazon – the Daniel Craig of websites) and my library consortium’s list of holdings, ordering books via One-Click and putting other books on hold. Before I know it, I have an armload of books I’ve bought (a/k/a one less paid college course for my children) on one side and, on the other, the rest of the titles I was able to snarf from the libraries. The libraries who know the secret I dare not reveal out loud, yet have a compulsion to declare in writing: I AM WEAK.

baileysprize

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Before you judge me, here is the Longlist for this year:

Outline by Rachel Cusk (Faber)

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday) – US release July 28, 2015

Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson (Penguin)

I Am China by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus)

Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey (Jonathan Cape)

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Viking)

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Picador)

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (Chatto & Windus)

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill (Quercus)

The Bees by Laline Paull (Fourth Estate)

The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips (Jonathan Cape)

The Walk Home by Rachel Sieffert (Virago) – ????

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)

How to Be Both by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)

The Shore by Sara Taylor (William Heinemann) – US release May 26, 2015

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus)

The Offering by Grace McCleen (Sceptre) – ????

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Virago)

After Before by Jemma Wayne (Legend Press)

The Life of a Banana by PP Wong (Legend Press) – US release May 1, 2015

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From this list, books I’ve read:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (EXCELLENT!)

From this list, books I own:

Outline by Rachel Cusk

From this list, books I’ve purchased via sexy, hot Amazon Daniel Craig:

The Bees by Laline Paull

How to Be Both by Ali Smith

danielcraig

From this list, books I’ve snarfed from my home library:

Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey

Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

From this list, books I’ve put on hold from libraries:

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill

I Am China by Xiaolu Guo

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

From this list, books I may or may not buy:

Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson

The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips

After Before by Jemma Wayne

A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie

From this list, the book I’d rather not read:

The Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

I’ve never been a fan of Anne Tyler’s writing and, frankly, I don’t feel she measures up amongst this company.

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Honestly, I don’t know how many of these I’ll get through. I plan to attempt all I can but the minute one annoys me I’ll toss it aside and go onto the next. There is no time for messing around. Anne Tyler is not to my taste, so there’s one off the list straightaway. I’ve read one, so there’s another.

AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHTEEN.

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From where I sit right now, I see three standouts: 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The Bees by Laline Paull

How to Be Both by Ali Smith

I base this list on my personal knowledge of the authors and their work, and what I’ve heard via critical acclaim. I would hand the prize straight to Emily St. John Mandel, if I could, because WOW. But these other two may give her a run for her money.

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I was going to whittle the list down to my projected Shortlist, using my trademarked formula from past Bookers (I would tell you but I’d have to yadda yadda), but my head is going to explode if I try that. Because I can’t be certain those around me have been trained for Blood-Borne Pathogen handling, I’ll hold off.

But… if you threatened to withhold chocolate from me for the rest of my life if I didn’t at least take a shot in the dark as to the winner, the award would go to…

stationeleven

Because I’ve read it and because WOW.

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