Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Introducing Sonia (cue fanfare)

Hi, I'm Sonia, and I have loved books ever since the day I could grip them in my grubby little fists. My mum says that I used to sit on the potty for hours at a time with a big stack of books on one side, and I wouldn't get up until I'd read them all and stacked them neatly on the other side of me, leaving a ring shaped groove around my little bottom.

So why am I here writing about the Orange Prize? Well, a couple of years ago I was getting stuck for inspiration for my reading, and so I gave myself the challenge of trying to read the entire Man Booker Prize longlist before judging day. And blow me down, I did it. I got such a buzz from watching the awards ceremony on TV and actually being able to have an informed opinion about the winner.

But after that, such a comedown... what to read next? So I attempted the Orange Prize Longlist (fortunately there was a bit of overlap with Booker that year), and then I tried it again, and again with varying degrees of success. I'll be honest, not every book does it for me, but every now and then I discover a work of pure gold and I wonder at the genius of these authors who for a brief moment transport me out of my tiny existence into another, richer world,

Last year was a bit of a dry year for me in reading terms, as I was starting up my own business, but this year I'm back in the saddle again more determined than ever, and for the first time, blogging my experiences.

Reading the longlist is such a big part of who I am and it's so reassuring to think that there is a group of people out there for whom that passion makes sense...

Orange Prize winners and runners up that I have read before

2007 winner
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Half of a Yellow Sun
2007 shortlist
Rachel Cusk Arlington Park
Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss

2006 winner
Zadie Smith On Beauty
2006 shortlist
Nicole Krauss The History of Love
Hilary Mantel Beyond Black
Ali Smith The Accidental
Carrie Tiffany Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living

2005 winner
Lionel Shriver We Need to Talk About Kevin
2005 shortlist
Jane Gardam Old Filth
Sheri Holman The Mammoth Cheese
Maile Meloy Liars and Saints
Marina Lewycka A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

2004 winner
Andrea Levy Small Island
2004 shortlist
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Purple Hibiscus
Shirley Hazzard The Great Fire

2003 winner
Valerie Martin Property
2003 shortlist
Donna Tartt The Little Friend

2002 winner
Ann Patchett Bel Canto

2001 winner
Kate Grenville The Idea of Perfection
2001 shortlist
Margaret Atwood The Blind Assassin

2000 shortlist
Zadie Smith White Teeth

1999 shortlist
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible
Toni Morrison Paradise

1998 shortlist
Ann Patchett The Magician's Assistant

1997 shortlist
Margaret Atwood Alias Grace

1996 shortlist
Anne Tyler Ladder of Years


Marg said...

Welcome Sonia!

Terri said...

Sonia, love your description of your early reading! I look forward to reading more of your thoughts!

Wendy said...

Welcome Sonia! Glad to see you here - and making me smile this early Wednesday morning with your wonderful description of your early reading years *laughing* I am looking forward to reading your reviews!