At the Library: Need a good read? Let the Man Booker Prize be your guide to pick great books.

At the Library: Need a good read? Let the Man Booker Prize be your guide to pick great books.

The Westerly Sun

The Man Booker prize was first awarded in 1969 and was initially limited to novels written by authors from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth nations. That changed in 2014 when the contest was opened to any novel written in English and published in Britain. The prize is awarded to “the best novel in the opinion of the judges.” There is also now an International Man Booker started in 2005 for novels that are written in any language so long as it is widely available in English.

While perusing the list of past winners and the books that were chosen as the short-list finalists, it occurred to me that the judges and I would never reach a unanimous verdict in a jury deliberation. I was surprised (maybe not so surprised) to see that of the hundreds of acclaimed books that were chosen, I have read maybe four of them. It just shows how tastes vary widely!

Having said that, there is something to be said of at least trying to read something that you normally would never have picked up. The 2017 winner, “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders, is one that I plan on reading. Two days after the death of his son, Abraham Lincoln, shattered with grief, arrives at the cemetery to visit his son’s crypt. Willie, Lincoln’s deceased son, finds himself in a strange purgatory (the bardo) where ghosts argue, and enact bizarre acts of penance … and where a struggle erupts over his soul. It got terrific reviews and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

There are certainly great authors that I really love who have won the Man Booker. Even if you don’t read the novels that have won the prestigious prize, it’s worth reading their other work. Margaret Atwood is a favorite and Ian McEwan’s “Atonement” (which surprisingly did not win) is an amazing work of fiction. All the winners, and the short-list nominees are available through the library.

Top-requested books■1. “Don’t Let Go” by Harlan Coben■2. “The Midnight Line” by Lee Child■3. “Two Kinds of Truth” by Michael Connelly■4. “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham■5. “Y is for Yesterday” by Sue Grafton■6. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng■7. “Origin” by Dan Brown■8. “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles■9. “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton■10. “Hardcore Twenty-Four” by Janet Evanovich

Top-requested movies■1. “Dunkirk”■2. “Baby Driver”■3. “War for the Planet of the Apes”■4. “Spider-Man: Homecoming”■5. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”■6. “Despicable Me 3”■7. “The Book of Henry”■8. “Wonder Woman”■9. “The Dark Tower”■10. “Atomic Blonde”

Top billingFor All Ages■MONDAY — 6:30-9 p.m., Dante Society Italian Film Festival – The Dante Society will be showing Facing Windows. This film screening is free and open to the public.■TUESDAY — 4:00-5:30 p.m., Teen Movie Special! – Halloween is here, and we’re getting in the spirit with a showing of Hocus Pocus; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit & Crochet Club – Bring your project, work on a project with others, or swap yarn and ideas with fellow yarnies.■WEDNESDAY — 10-11 a.m., 1-to-3-Year-Old Storytime – Bring your little ones to the library and enjoy a fun-filled, interactive storytime; 11-11:45 a.m., Homeschooler’s Book Group (FULL) – The book for this session is Capture the Flag by Kate Messner; 6-7 p.m., Lyme 101 – Learn more about this disease from Jane, who is here from Lyme Newport Support Group; 6-7:45 p.m., Shoreline Robotics – Shoreline Robotics will be meeting in our Makerspace biweekly. Meetings are for teens aged 12-17 only; 6-7 p.m., Treasure Talk: Early Westerly RI Arts and Industry-The Mary Noyes Rogers Bequest of 1938 – Charlene S. Senical for an in-depth presentation on Mary Noyes Rogers and examples of colonial furniture, silver and artwork associated with the Westerly area.■THURSDAY — 10-11 a.m., 3 to 5 Year-Old Storytime – Join us for an hour full of stories, rhymes and crafting fun; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome. Chess sets and roll up boards will be provided; 7-8 p.m., Naughty (and Nice) Children of Literature (for an adult audience) – Come and see the naughty and nice children from your favorite storybooks, presented by Donna Celico with many special guests! Doors open at 6, and seating is on a first-come first-served basis, some come early to ensure you get a spot!■FRIDAY — 7-8 p.m., Naughty (and Nice) Children of Literature (for an adult audience) – Come and see the naughty and nice children from your favorite storybooks, presented by Donna Celico with many special guests! Doors open at 6, and seating is on a first-come first-served basis, some come early to ensure you get a spot!■SATURDAY — 10 a.m.-3 p.m., NaNoWriMo Come Write In – National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is here again, and we are encouraging all writers and aspiring novelists to come and work on their masterpieces here at the library! Take advantage of the tables we have reserved at the back of Reference, as well as our free Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, quiet study rooms, and more; 12:30-3:30 p.m., Needle Felting Workshop – Kaydie and Amanda are back to help you master the art of needle felting! All materials are provided, but preregistration is required; 1:30-3 p.m., Treasure Talk: The Mary Noyes Rogers Collection – Charlene S. Senical for an in-depth presentation on Mary Noyes Rogers and examples of colonial furniture, silver and artwork associated with the Westerly area; 2-3 p.m., Green Saturdays: Watch Hill Conservancy – The Conservancy works tirelessly to preserve, maintain, and enhance the environments of Watch Hill. Learn more about them and their work at this free presentation.

Caroline Badowski is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.


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