21 December 2012
This year's Man Booker Prize winner, Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies, is rising even as the year wanes. It currently stands at No 4 after 25 weeks on The Sunday Times bestseller lists (which don't count ebooks) and is clearly going to form a hefty rectangular lump in innumerable Christmas stockings. Perhaps more surprising is the presence of the 2002 winner Life of Pi at a lofty No 2 on the paperback lists. It has sold a whopping 1,175,585 copies and counting. The newly released film will undoubtedly send it even further into the stratosphere. However, it still isn't the bestselling Man Booker winner ever. That honour belongs to Thomas Keneally's Schindler's Ark which, with the aid of Steven Spielberg's film, has sold two million copies.
Christmas cheer is in seriously short supply at The Oldie magazine where in the light of this year's Man Booker Prize regular contributors were asked whether they had read Hilary Mantel's earlier triumph Wolf Hall. Out of 32 respondents 11 said they hadn't finished it and only four praised it unequivocally. Each to his own but The Oldie's grumpy old men (and women) are seriously out of step with the wider reading public who clearly prefer champagne to bah humbugs.
In The Evening Standard David Sexton, an MB judge in 2005, has been flagging up some choice books due to be published in 2013. Man Bookerites feature heavily. For starters, the two-time winner J.M. Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus and Mohsin Hamid's (shortlisted 2007 for The Reluctant Fundamentalist) How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia are both published in March. Aminatta Forna, a judge on this year's Man Booker International Prize, has A Hired Man appearing in May and James Wood (judge 1994) publishes a collection of his literary essays The Fun Stuff in February.
The weekly roundup will be taking a short break over Christmas and will be back in the New Year.Back to top