My Bailey’s Book Prize reading as a 2017 Library Ambassador continued with The Power by Naomi Alderman and this was possibly this one I was looking forward to reading the most. For a start I’d heard about it and it was also about turning the world as we know it on its head without being an obvious dystopian/post-apocalyptic tale.
Sadly the book didn’t live up to my expectations – and even a week on I can’t quite explain why, it really should have ticked all my reading boxes. Strong women characters, alternative history…what’s not to like?
That I am still thinking so hard about this book must mean something but I think deep down I think that this would have made a brilliant short story or novella but that it was just a little too stretched into novel form. The framing device also didn’t quite work for me, although it did deliver up the best last line of a book I think I’ve ever read.
When I read and then reviewed the book straight after finishing it I was possibly more ambivalent than I am now. I’ve chatted about it with more people, in the real world and online, and while this is never going to be my favourite book I think I can cope if it wins – I think the problem is with me. I wanted the book to be more than it was.
I’m very excited that I have been picked as a Library Ambassador for this year’s Bailey’s Book Prize. Previous winners of the Bailey’s Prize (and previous incarnations of the prize) feature highly in my list of ‘favourite books I’ve ever read.’
Norfolk has just had a hugely successful reading campaign Norfolk’s Most Wanted and this has shown just how popular reading is still and to have the chance to read all six of this year’s short listed titles and share my thoughts on them as I read.
- Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀ (Canongate)
- The Power by Naomi Alderman (Viking)
- The Dark Circle by Linda Grant (Virago)
- The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan (4th Estate)
- First Love by Gwendoline Riley (Granta)
- Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien (Granta)
This year the six books on the short list are not ones that had really been on my reading radar, I think I’d heard bits of Naomi Alderman’s The Power when it was read on the radio but that’s as far as it goes. I’m really looking forward to discovering six new books and sharing my thoughts.
The first book I picked out of the box was Do Not Say We Have Nothing and my thoughts on that one are coming soon.
Look out for displays around the Bailey’s Prize in a library near you and I hope to have the final details of an event celebrating the Bailey’s Prize at the Millennium Library very soon.
You can read more about the library ambassadors here and I’d love to hear your thoughts on my progress and the books either here or on twitter where I am @norfolkbookworm
Sarah, Millennium Library