Reading a book is one of life’s great pleasures as you’re transported in new worlds that are as much unique to you and your own imagination as they are the product of the author. However, as with all of life’s best bits, it’s pretty tough to find the time to sit down and read a book cover-to-cover in and among the ball ache of work, the demands of student/married/parenting life and the ongoing competition from great TV shows, films, computer game etc. etc., which is why you may have become incredibly hard nosed about what books you pick up in the first place.
Luckily, book awards like the Women’s Prize For Fiction are here to give us a boiled down selection of good reads to consider and with the 2016 shortlist just in, you should be able to pick out at least one book to add to your “must read” pile. With recent winners including Ali Smith’s How To Be Both, Eimear Smith’s A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing and Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, along with shortlist nominations for Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies and Emma Donoghue’s Room, it’s got a good history of featuring challenging, fascinating and brilliant novels.
The 2016 shortlist is no different, with six impressive books selected by the judging panel, which has been headed up by the stoic, granite force of business woman and former Apprentice advisor Margaret Mountford, although we’re convinced she’s a lovely lady with a bohemian air in real life. With the help of the rest of the judging panel – journalist and author Laurie Penny, newsreader Naga Munchetty; singer-songwriter and author Tracey Thorn, and author/brain box columnist Elif Shafak – we’ve got two debuts, a new novel from Booker Prize winner Anne Enright, a squirrel fancier, high art romancing and a nominee from the 2015 Man Booker Prize Shortlist.
Women’s Prize For Fiction 2016 Shortlist:
Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life
Having already made the Man Booker Prize 2015 Shortlist, Hanya Yanagihara is taking the Women’s Prize For Fiction by storm with her second novel, A little Life. It trails the descent of its protagonist, Jude St Francis, with the help of his three closest friends in the cauldron of New York City.
Hannah Rothschild’s The Improbability Of Love
Chef, Annie McDee, becomes embroiled in the world of fine high art when she buys a painting from a junk shop resulting in intrigue and romance.
Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Portable Veblen
Veblen is a Norwegian translator with a penchant for squirrels and bringing cheer to those around her and in Elizabeth McKenzie’s second novel she has the challenge of an impending marriage, dysfunctional families, corporate greed and moral dilemmas to deal with.
Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies
The first of the two debut novels featured in the 2016 Women’s Prize For Fiction Shortlist, Lisa McInerney’s The Glorious Heresies is set in Cork with a story that unravels with violence, unhappiness and a corrosive church and state system.
Anne Enright’s The Green Road
The Booker Prize-winning author returns with her new novel centred on the Madigan Family as their lives intertwine in the build up to a Christmas holiday reckoning.
Cynthia Bond’s Ruby
Ruby is the second of the debut novels in the list, and it tells the story of Ruby Bell’s troubled homecoming to Liberty, Texas following her time in 1950s New York. There she relives the violence of her youth, struggling to contend with the darkness that overshadows her adult life.