Friday, July 01, 2011

Orangegasm! A Month of Orange Prize Reading

I promised myself no more challenges this year, especially after I challenged my own fool self to read all of the Tournament of Books contestants. BUT silly rules (especially self-inflicted ones) are made to be broken, so I'm hopping on the Orange July reading train!!! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should probably visit The Magic Lasso and find out. And there are giveaways!

The premise of Orange July is to read AT LEAST ONE book-- just one singly itty bitty book -- that's won, been shortlisted, OR longlisted for the Orange Prize. Ever. How easy is that???!!! Admittedly, I've never been a huge awards follower. I've had really-freakin' mixed luck with Pulitzer winners, Booker tends to sit a little better with me, and somehow I usually end up reading more male than female authors in any given year, so the Orange has been a point of interest but largely ignored.

When I heard about Orange July I perked up, especially since several of my Tournament of Books winners were on the Orange list this year. I started investigating my shelves and realized I have quite a few Orangey books already in my house!

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (winner)
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith (winner)
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (shortlist)
  • Hotel World by Ali Smith (shortlist)
  • The Accidental by Ali Smith (shortlist)
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (shortlist)
  • Great House by Nicole Krauss (shortlist)
  • The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht (winner)
Since it's summertime and I have less dispensable cash to buy books, it'll most definitely be a read-from-home and library July, so what better time to get better acquainted with these ladies?

The only book on this list that I've actually finished is Ali Smith's Hotel World. That was years ago and I ADORED it, so I'm keen for a re-read. It's written in a stream-of-consciousness style that's not quite as convoluted as Virginia Woolf. A little more accessible and it's got a certain creepy factor since one of the characters is a spirit in the hotel.  I've also had The Accidental on my shelves for a good long while, so I'm looking forward to that one.

I became interested in Tea Obreht earlier this year when I saw an interview of her discussing The Tiger's Wife, so I'm looking forward to finishing that one in July as well. I previously checked it out from my 'brary via the Overdrive e-book checkout system. Life got in the way, yadda, yadda.

Soooo many more books that I want to read, but I think these little beauties take the cake! 

If you're interested in Orange July what's at the top of your reading list? Also, are you interested in any particular bookish awards other than the Orange? If so, what are some of your favorite bookish award winners?


  1. I really want to read The History of Love for this challenge. I'm sure there are plenty more that I would be interested in picking up but that is the one that I want to read the most. Good luck and I hope that you enjoy these!

  2. I'm ashamed to say I knew little about the Orange Prize until reading Tessa Hadley's The London Train recently (it was longlisted, I believe, and very good). Now I'm very curious to check out other nominees, and The Tiger's Wife is definitely at the top of my list!

    Great House by Nicole Krauss was one of the literary fiction nominees in the Indie Lit Awards earlier this year, and I read it in January -- very interesting and crazy and compelling, though it felt a little too complicated and "literary" (overtly literary) for me to really love it. I hope you get a chance to check it out, though, and will be eager to hear your thoughts!

  3. I really want to read Bel Canto and some zadie smith too. Maybe I will join in!

  4. Thanks to your tweet I joined in too! :p Despite my swearing off challenges last year! But I'm thinking of it as an 'event' since it only lasts a month. Three cheers for rationalisations! lol

  5. I love love Hotel World! There are some images from that book that has stayed with me after reading it years ago. I'm looking forward to reading The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives. Happy reading!

  6. Samantha, me too! Sadly, when I got home from work today I realized it's packed up in a box in storage. :((( Definitely need to make a trip out to retrieve those boxes.

  7. Meg, it's come to my attention on and off over the years from buzz in the blogosphere, but I haven't followed with baited breath until this most recent shortlist.

    I started reading Great House pre-publication and just couldn't get into it. I hope I have better luck this time.

  8. Lola, I hope you do! I need to really dig into Zadie Smith's work. I started reading White Teeth in passing, but I didn't give it enough time to work for me.

    I tried Bel Canto a few years ago and don't think I'll revisit that one. It was super slow. Maybe my perspectives have changed enough to not feel that way now. We'll see!

  9. Eva, I think I prefer "event" too. And there's so little committment. It's hardly a challenge at all. hehe

  10. Hotel World is soooo great, Natasha. I intended to re-read it beginning today, but when I got home I realized that one is in storage too! So I picked up The Accidental instead. So far, so good!

    Enjoy Baba Segi's Wives!

  11. Two Nicole Strauss books among the choices? You lucky, lucky woman! I highly recommend both.

  12. Thanks, Frances! I hit a bit of a wall with Great House when I first started it, but I'm hoping to have better luck this time around. :D


Thanks for taking the time to comment! Blogger has been a beast lately, so I hope you do not have any troubles leaving your thoughts.

Images by Freepik