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Megan ([personal profile] mixedmetaphors) wrote2017-03-27 03:00 pm
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About This Project

To guide some of my reading and reviewing, I'm using the list of all books recognized by the currently-titled Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (previously known as the Orange Prize and other names).

Why this prize?

I've loved the three most recent winners: Eimear McBride's A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, Ali Smith's How to be both, and Lisa McInerney's The Glorious Heresies. Prior to this project, I've read 29 of the 434 books longlisted in the past twenty-two years, and though I haven't enjoyed all of them, I still think this prize stands a good chance of introducing me to more books I'll enjoy and interesting books that I wouldn't have read otherwise.

Why this project?

As an eager reader, one benefit I reap from literary awards is the discussion, dissection, and debate about the chosen books. Prizes start conversations, not end them. In reading books recognized by this prize, I hope to deepen my ability to appreciate and understand what good books are doing. I'm looking forward to delving into individual books and maybe also getting a better sense of the shortlists and longlists.

The loose nature of this project appeals to me. My goal is not to read the complete list. There'll be books I can't find easily in the U.S., and books I know I'm uninterested in reading. The knowledge that this project can't and won't be completed lets me enjoy the challenge rather than try to finish it. This project is not designed to be finished; it's designed to let me explore as long as I'd like to, at whatever pace I feel like. I like going into this knowing I'll be able to challenge and stretch myself, but I'm not going to feel guilty or anxious about the whole endeavor.

Also: public commitment. Necessary if I want to really get something out of it.

How does it work?

I'll shuffle the list of 434 books to spit out three random choices. Of those, I'll pick one to read and review. I'm giving myself some unfussy and uninteresting guidelines, such as if a later book in a series pops up, I can substitute the earlier book that's also on the list. (This is known as the "okay, I may be uncouth enough to have not yet read Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell books, but I'm not going to read Bring Up The Bodies before Wolf Hall, I'm not that uncivilized" rule.) I'll repeat this process. We'll see how far I go.

I'll also be reading and reviewing any of the other books on the list that I want to read and review, at whatever pace and in any order I'd like.

The masterlist of books I'm shuffling through can be found here. I also have an index of reviews and list of books read.

What am I getting out of this?

The experience of reading lots of hopefully good books. Also, I generally just recklessly vomit out reviews on GoodReads, and I want to try to build up stronger analytical and reviewing muscles.

I am in no way affiliated with the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. I'm just a reader.