My take on the Giller and the gala

Well yes of course I watched the Giller gala last evening: I was home and it was on TV. And this year, turns out I’d actually read the winning book, Fifteen Dogs. Which made me happy with the happiness one has in also having read what others regard as very important. Started Saturday, finished Sunday in fact. (It’s not a particularly long or difficult book.) I’d also managed to read Rachel Cusk’s Outline, which struck me on every page as a winner for sure, so flawless is the flow of her language and so compelling the conversations of marriage and loss, and several of the stories in Heather O’Neill’s Daydreams of Angels, which I enjoyed but in a weird way where I was watching what she was doing more than losing myself inside it (but then mulling it later). Continue reading

Reading the lists

This year I set myself the goal of reading the lists — the books on the fiction shortlists, that is, of Canada’s three big literary prizes. I’ve never done this before, not even by accident. But it seemed possible this year, because two books — Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues and Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers — appear on all three lists. In other words, in order to get through the 16 books on the shortlists of the Rogers Writers’ Trust, the Governor General’s, and the Giller prizes, I would in fact have to read only 11 books! Continue reading