With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix

With the End in Mind Kathryn Mannix‘With the End in Mind: Dying, Death and Wisdom in an Age of Denial’ by Dr Kathryn Mannix is a collection of anonymised patient case studies (or “stories” as Mannix calls them) drawn from her thirty years of experience as a palliative care clinician and consultant. It has been shortlisted for this year’s Wellcome Book Prize which I am shadowing with fellow book bloggers Rebecca, Laura, Annabel and Paul and is notably similar to one of the previous winners It’s All In Your Head by Suzanne O’Sullivan in that it seeks to demystify one of the most misunderstood aspects of medicine. In this case, it is death – the event that we will all one day meet (unless the transhumanists Mark O’Connell wrote about in To Be a Machine have their way…).
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Mayhem by Sigrid Rausing

Mayhem Sigrid RausingShortlisted for the Wellcome Book Prize, ‘Mayhem’ is Sigrid Rausing’s family memoir about drug addiction. Her younger brother and heir to the Tetra Pak fortune, Hans Kristian, met American businesswoman, Eva Kemeny, when they were in rehab together in the late 1980s. They later married and became well-known philanthropists based in London. However, they relapsed and in 2007, Sigrid was granted custody of Hans and Eva’s four children. In July 2012, Hans was stopped by the police after driving erratically through London and was found with drugs in his possession. When the police searched his Belgravia mansion, they discovered Eva’s remains hidden under a mattress. She had been dead for approximately two months. Continue reading

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To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell

Over the next few weeks, I will be shadowing the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist with fellow book bloggers Rebecca, Laura, Annabel and Paul. The £30,000 prize is awarded to a book about any aspect of health, medicine or illness and this year’s six shortlisted titles are:Wellcome Book Prize 2018 shortlist

I read and reviewed the only fiction title Stay With Me last year which leaves the five non-fiction titles to read over the next few weeks. First up is ‘To Be a Machine: Adventures Among Cyborgs, Utopians, Hackers, and the Futurists Solving the Modest Problem of Death’ by Mark O’Connell which was also shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction last year. While most of the books on the Wellcome Book Prize shortlist deal with illness, ‘To Be a Machine’ is more about what it is to be human or “post-human” in which O’Connell, a freelance journalist, explores the transhumanist movement which is “predicated on the conviction that we can and should use technology to control the future evolution of our species” (p.2) and advocates “nothing less than a total emancipation from biology itself” (p.6). In other words, transhumanists want to eliminate ageing as a cause of death. Continue reading

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Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

Asymmetry Lisa Halliday‘Asymmetry’ by Lisa Halliday consists of two seemingly unrelated stories which are eventually revealed to have surprising connections. The first part, ‘Folly’, concerns Alice, an editorial assistant in her twenties living in post 9/11 New York City who begins a relationship with a much older man, a Jewish author named Ezra Blazer who has repeatedly been overlooked for a Nobel Prize for Literature. In the second part, ‘Madness’, an Iraqi-American economist, Amar Jaafari, is on his way to Kurdistan to visit his brother but is detained by immigration officials at Heathrow Airport. Continue reading

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The Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2018

Booker International Prize 2018

The Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist was announced yesterday. The 13 books are:

The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor
The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne
Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
The White Book by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, translated by Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff
The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet and George Szirtes
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Camilo A Ramirez
The Flying Mountain by Christoph Ransmayr, translated by Simon Pare
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, translated by Darryl Sterk
The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra, translated by Natasha Wimmer

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The Man Booker International Prize 2018 Longlist Predictions

Man Booker International Prize 2018Although I’m not participating in the shadow panel this year, I have been thinking about possible contenders for this year’s Man Booker International Prize longlist which is due to be announced tomorrow. My predictions last year were very wide off the mark – maybe this year I will manage more than one…

I have read a handful of eligible titles in recent months but I have only reviewed a couple of them on my blog:

Women Who Blow on Knots by Ece Temelkuran (translated from the Turkish by Alexander Dawe) – this is a book which has garnered increasing attention. I’m less sure about its shortlist chances – the plotting is a bit all over the place – but its topical themes contrast strongly with what is still likely to be a longlist dominated by male authors.

Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami (translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen) – short story collections are eligible as well as novels, although none have been longlisted so far. I enjoyed Murakami’s latest offering a lot and a place on the longlist would certainly help boost the profile of the Prize. Continue reading

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The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2018

The Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist 2018

The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist has been announced today. The 16 titles are:

H(A)PPY by Nicola Barker
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Sight by Jessie Greengrass
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

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