Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fifty books to provoke discussion announced

The list of 50 books most worth talking about is revealed today, as the new World Book Day Spread the Word website is launched. The website will invite people to vote for the best Book to Talk About, with a top ten announced at the end of January. Voting will then open to find THE Book to Talk About, announced on World Book Day, Thursday 5 March 2009 and netting £5,000 for the winning author.

Amongst the fifty books are well-known authors including Justin Cartwright and Esther Freud; a fictional and a non-fiction account of Chinese migrant workers; a book on English culture Queueing for Beginners and a novel about Welsh culture, Random Deaths and Custard. Narrators range from a 9-year-old boy to a meteorological scientist, and the lives uncovered range from a British Muslim seeking love in cyberspace to a hypochondriac who finds he is really dying.

The submissions were whittled down by a panel consisting of Anne Sherman from MLA West Midlands (representing library reading groups), reading group member Judith Baker, Cathy Schofield, World Book Day Co-ordinator, Philip Oltermann from The Guardian, the Booksellers Association’s Alan Staton, Nic Bottomley from Bath independent bookshop Mr B’s Emporium, and Michael Jones from Borders. Janine Cook from Waterstone’s and blogger Mark Thwaite of Ready Steady Book also contributed their views.

The ten most popular titles will be announced on 30 January 2009 in a six page special supplement in The Guardian, and will be the focus when the online discussions move into libraries and bookshops around the UK.

Voting will continue throughout February, with the winning author of The Book to Talk about 2009 – and recipient of a £5,000 prize - to be announced on World Book Day, Thursday 5th March.

The list in full:
Imagine This, by Sade Adenirai, (SW Books)
Catch a Fish from the Sea (Using the Internet), by Nasreen Akhtar, (Greenbirds Publishing)
The Blood of Flowers, by Anita Amirrezvani, (Headline Review)
A Golden Age, by Tahmima Anam, (John Murray)
Joe The Only Boy in the World, by Michael Blastland, (Profile)
Away, by Amy Bloom, (Granta)
The Opposite of Love, by Julie Bluxbaum, (Bantam)
The Song Before It Is Sung, by Justin Cartwright, (Bloomsbury)
Broken, by Daniel Clay, (Harper Perennial)
Random Deaths and Custard, by Catrin Dafydd, (Gomer)
The Solitude of Emperors, by David Davidar, (Orion)
Maynard and Jennica, by Rudolph Denson, (Harper Perennial)
Fup, by Jim Dodge, (Canongate)
Zoology, by Ben Dolnick, (Harper Perennial)
The Vitamin Murders, by James Fergusson, (Portobello)
The Glassblower of Murano, by Marina Fiorato, (Burning House)
Ancestor House, by Aminatta Forna, (Bloomsbury)
Love Falls, by Esther Freud, (Bloomsbury)
Atmospheric Disturbances, by Rivka Galchen, (Harper Perennial)
Tao: On the Road and On the Run in Outlaw China, by Aya Goda, (Portobello)
Now You See Him, by Eli Gottlieb, (Serpent's Tail)
Wild, by Jay Griffiths, (Hamish Hamilton)
The Condition, by Jennifer Haigh, (Harper)
The Fantastic Book of Everyone's Secrets, by Sophie Hannah, (Sort of Books)
The Archivist's Story, by Travis Holland, (Bloomsbury)
The Mistress's Daughter, by A.M. Homes, (Granta)
Blood Tender, by Rachel Ingrams, (Tindal Street)
When We Were Romans, by Mathew Kneale, (Picador)
The Children of Freedom, by Marc Levy, (Harper)
Bad Traffic, by Simon Lewis, (Sort of Books)
Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction, by Alison MacLeod, (Hamish Hamilton)
Remedy, by Anne Marsella, (Portobello)
The Family That Couldn't Sleep, by D.T. Max, (Portobello)
The Bloomsday Dead, by Adrian McKinty, (Serpent's Tail)
Feather Man, by Rhyll McMaster, (Marion Boyars)
Queuing for Beginners, by Joe Moran, (Profile)
Season of the Witch, by Natasha Mostert, (Bantam)
Twenty Eight: Stories of AIDS in Africa, by Stephanie Nolen, (Portobello)
Serious Things, by Gregory Norminton, (Sceptre)
Chinese Whispers, by Hsiao-Hung Pai, (Figtree)
Train to Trieste, by Domnica Radulescu, (Doubleday)
Gold, by Dan Rhodes, (Canongate)
The Good Plain Cook, by Bethan Roberts, (Serpent's Tail)
Vicky Had One Eye Open, by Darryl Samaraweera, (Burning House)
The Forger, by Cioma Schönhaus, (Granta)
Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart, (Granta)
Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth?, by Andrew Sims & Joe Smith, (Constable & Robinson)
I Think There's Something Wrong With Me, by Nigel Smith, (Black Swan)
Rainbow's End, by Lauren St.John, (Hamish Hamilton)
The Abyssinian Proof, by Jenny White, (Orion)
For more information please visit:

1 comment:

belzetland said...

I'm delighted that you have posted about the Spread the Word Award - I discovered it recently by accident after I read The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato and heard that it was one of the selected titles.
It's great to find a list of books that you may not otherwise have come across, and to read other readers' comments to inspire you to go search the titles out.
The fact that I was recommended The Glassblower by a friend and then found it on the list shows that they clearly have chosen 'books to talk about'. I look forward to seeing the shortlist in Jan...