The Waterstones Book of the Year award shortlist was announced today. The nominated books are:
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński
Love, Nina: Despatches of Family Life by Nina Stibbe
Stoner by John L. Williams
As far as I’m aware (and please do correct me if I’m wrong), the Waterstones Book of the Year is a fairly new award. I particularly like the idea of books being nominated by booksellers who work for Waterstones and are passionate about a range of books which stretches beyond the prominent displays of the latest bestsellers. Like the Costa Prize, the Waterstones Book of the Year shortlist includes different types of books (fiction, non-fiction, graphic novel etc). While there was much comment of the eclectic Man Booker shortlist this year, at least they were all novels. The judges for the Waterstones prize have the arguably more difficult task of judging the merits of a graphic novel compared to a collection of letters.
Last year, ‘Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts)’ by Russell Norman won, beating ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ to the prize and proving that Hilary Mantel didn’t actually win everything last year even if it seemed like she did. Out of this year’s shortlist, I have read ‘Life After Life’ and ‘Levels of Life’ which I both really enjoyed and I am also quite keen to read ‘Stoner’ which has had a recent revival following a recommendation by Ian McEwan. The other three books are less well-known. ‘The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil’ is a graphic novel fairytale for adults while ‘Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life’ is a collection of letters written by a nanny working for a rich family in London. The winner will be announced on 3rd December.
P.S. I now have a full-time job which means I am gainfully employed for the foreseeable future and will have more money for books (hooray). However, I now have considerably less time to spend on my blog (boo). Reviews will probably be posted at the weekends from now on with the odd review or news feature in the middle of the week when I can.