Man Booker International Prize 2019 Longlist

The Man Booker International Prize 2019 Longlist was just announced a couple of hours ago!
I told you at the beginning of March that I was going to be part of the Shadow Panel Judges (with these amazing people!) this year, so I couldn’t wait to see the list of books selected!
I was part of the shadow panel back in 2015, and it was such an amazing experience, that I thought it was time to try again. In 2015, I discovered so many unusual and fascinating authors that I wouldn’t have read otherwise.

This year longlist seems very promising along these same lines, as it contains almost none of the books we thought would be there! I have heard only of a few authors, but have not read any of these books yet, though a couple were already on my TBR!

So here you go:

 Longlist book stack


Author (Original Language –Country/territory),
translator, title (publisher/imprint)

  1. Jokha Alharthi (Arabic / Omani),  Marilyn Booth, Celestial Bodies (Sandstone Press Ltd)
  2. Can Xue (Chinese / Chinese), Annelise Finegan Wasmoen, Love In The New Millennium (Yale University Press) – READ
  3. Annie Ernaux (French / French), Alison L. Strayer, The Years (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  4. Hwang Sok-yong (Korean / Korean), Sora Kim-Russell, At Dusk (Scribe, UK)
  5. Mazen Maarouf (Arabic / Icelandic and Palestinian), Jonathan Wright, Jokes For The Gunmen (Granta, Portobello Books)
  6. Hubert Mingarelli (French / French), Sam Taylor, Four Soldiers (Granta, Portobello Books)
  7. Marion Poschmann (German / German), Jen Calleja, The Pine Islands (Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail)
  8. Samanta Schweblin (Spanish / Argentine and Italian), Megan McDowell, Mouthful Of Birds (Oneworld) – READING
  9. Sara Stridsberg (Swedish / Swedish), Deborah Bragan-Turner, The Faculty Of Dreams (Quercus, MacLehose Press) – READING
  10. Olga Tokarczuk (Polish / Polish), Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
  11. Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish / Colombian), Anne McLean, The Shape Of The Ruins (Quercus, MacLehose Press)
  12. Tommy Wieringa (Dutch / Dutch), Sam Garrett, The Death Of Murat Idrissi (Scribe, UK)
  13. Alia Trabucco Zeran (Spanish / Chilean and Italian), Sophie Hughes, The Remainder (And Other Stories) – READ

The links send you to my reviews.
The titles in bold are the ones I’m currently reading or haven’t reviewed yet.

I believe that’s from 9 different languages, which is pretty good, BUT none from the Japanese? Wow!

You notice most are fairly short, except The Shape of the Ruins, with 528 pages. That’s a good thing, as the goal is to read many as possible, in just a few weeks.
The shortlist will be announced on April 9, and the winner on May 21.

“Bettany Hughes, chair of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize judging panel, said:
‘This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political. That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh. We’re thrilled to share 13 books which enrich our idea of what fiction can do.’”

At DuskI was able to request 6 from my library (in bold characters), and I just bought #4.
It’s now on my kindle, so goodbye for tonight, I have lots to read.
I’ll start by these 7 titles, and we’ll see from there.
But it seems #9 hasn’t been published in the US yet!

Needless to say that my other reading plans for March are put on hold – except daily chapters of Don Quixote and Les Misérables!



Read or skip #5


Inspired by book blogger Davida, at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog, herself inspired by a couple of other bloggers (see here for instance). I plan to post about it on Saturdays, except the 1st Sat of the month, when I usually feature another meme.

The rules are simple:

  1. Sort your Goodreads TBR shelf from oldest to new
  2. Pick the first 5 or 10 (or whatever number you choose, depending on how large your list is) books you see
  3. Decide whether to keep them or get rid of them.



12, 13: skip
14: I’m actually reading it right now!
15 and 16: keep. I was not going to keep 16, but you convinced me to keep it




As there may not be many to skip here, I am considering 8 titles today.

14) Desert Solitaire

  • “Written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah, Desert Solitaire is a rare view of one man’s quest to experience nature in its purest form.
    Through prose that is by turns passionate and poetic, Abbey reflects on the condition of our remaining wilderness and the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world as well as his own internal struggle with morality.”
  • I think I started this years ago, and I think I should get back to it
  • What do YOU think?

15) We

  • Classic scifi and dystopia

16) An Artist of the Floating World

  • I like Ishiguro
  • BUT: “In the face of the misery in his homeland, the artist Masuji Ono was unwilling to devote his art solely to the celebration of physical beauty. Instead, he put his work in the service of the imperialist movement that led Japan into World War II.” Is there a lot about WWII? (I have read way too many on the topic) Would it be better to read another book by him and skip this one?

17) Manazuru

  • I really enjoy Japanese fiction, but I need to acknowledge that I cannot read all Japanese novels available in English or French translation…
  • Have any one of you read this one? There seems to be a lot about relationships, not sure that’s my thing.

18) Understanding Cultures Through Their Key Words

  • Same as above, I need to acknowledge that I cannot read all books about language…
  • BUT this one does sound good, right? “Wierzbicka seeks to demonstrate that every language has “key concepts,” expressed in “key words,” which reflect the core values of a given culture. She shows that cultures can be revealingly studied, compared, and explained to outsiders through their key concepts, and that the analytical framework necessary for this purpose is provided by the “natural semantic metalanguage,” based on lexical universals, that the author and colleagues have developed on the basis of wide-ranging cross-linguistic investigations”.

19) Travels with Charley

  • Steinbeck!

20) The Book on Fire

  • About the Alexandria library
  • BUT the synopsis seems to point to too much romance.
  • Also some readers consider it as a Fantasy. What fantasy element does it contain?? I often don’t do too well with romance nor fantasy

21) Physics of the Future

  • This author has been intriguing me
  • The topic sounds fascinating

What do YOU think? Please help me with 16 and 21. Am I doing the right choice for the others?



The top 7 books to read in March 2019

Here are

The top 7 books
I plan to read in March 2019

Click on the covers to know more


     The Woman in the window


Don Quixote is a read-along with Nick (see his read-alongs for the whole year)
and Silvia Cachia (great input and resources). Still working slowly on it, basically on my own.

The Woman in the Window
I hadn’t read it yet, so I thought it would be good to do it with a readalong for #MarchMysteryMadness
Talk about unreliable narrator! And possibly also unreliable author, who seems to have too closely followed a couple of movies for his plot, but it seems to be well written so far, and that’s what ultimately counts for me.

Poustina is a classic of spirituality on silence, solitude, and prayer. I actually think I read it some thirty years ago in French, but it’s good to revisit it. Excellent passages.

I’m actually not counting here another read-along: with one of my French students, I read a couple of chapters of Les Misérables in French per day.


Now, this part is tricky, let me explain.
In 2015, I joined the IFFP Shadow Panel. It’s basically a bunch of book bloggers who started this because one year, they thought the award should have gone to another book. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and discovered amazing authors in the process. So I have decided to do it again this year.
In the meantime, the prize has been renamed the ManBooker International Prize (#MBIP2019) (and looks like next year it will still have another name, has Man is no longer the sponsor).
Tony has just posted who is part of the Shadow Panel this year, we are 11! A great reading team, I feel so honored to be part of it.
The long list will be released on March 13, so I don’t know yet which titles I’l need to read. I hope it will contain two or three titles I have already read, for instance Hear Our Defeats and Killing Commendatore.

If I have time before March 13, I may read

The Republic If you love me  

 The Republic
US release: April 30, 2019
Received for review
“A gripping academic novel about deception and self-deception, ambition, the love of history as entertainment, and the hunt for the perfect enemy.”

If You Love Me: Serving Christ and the Church in Spirit and Truth
My husband has been raving about this book, so I think that will be my next spiritual book. Plus I have really enjoyed other books by the same author, Father Matthew the Poor (Coptic Christian)


       Walden  Petit pays

For The Classics Club
The audio format is working well for me. I’m actually listening to a Librivox recording (volunteer readers – and YOU can become one!).
Wow, we think we invented minimalism, but this guy is absolutely the father of minimalism. “Thoreau-ly” (couldn’t resist) enjoying its ideas, though a few passages are long and preachy.

Petit Pays
The book was published in 2016 in French. It won major awards and was nominated for several others. I have a very good feeling it will be on the longlist and possibly shortlist of the ManBooker international Prize.
I have studied passages with some of my students, I think it’s high time to listen to it all.
French-Rwandan Gaël Faye is an author, composer and hip hop artist. He was born in 1982 in Burundi, and has a Rwandan mother and French father.


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As mentioned above, mostly the Man Booker International Shadow Panel.
And a bit of March Mystery Madness.

Eiffel Tower Orange