The answer to that question, based on my previous 18 months of reading, is ‘not many’.
Having read only 10 books in 2017 and not reading a book since October, I have suddenly had a burst of reading energy and have read 3 books in the last fortnight.
With this renewed enthusiasm for reading (which I hope continues) I am excited about the following book prizes that will take place in the coming months:
Shortlist: Shortly after 12 April
Winner: Saturday 19 May at Crime Fest
This is by far my favourite book prize and every year I come very close to reading the entire shortlist before the big announcement. This is also the only prize I kept following during my 18 month reading slump!
All shortlisted books are always excellent and each year I discover a new author or two.
Having looked through this year’s eligible books I particularly like the look of the following. Some I have read, others are already on my Kindle and the rest have been added to my TBR list.
Thomas Enger – Cursed tr. Kari Dickson
K O Dahl – Faithless tr. Don Bartlett
Johana Gustawsson – Block 46 tr. Maxim Jakubowski
Jorn Lier Horst – When It Grows Dark tr. Anne Bruce
Hans Olav Lahlum – The Anthill Murders tr. Kari Dickson
Gunnar Staalesen – Wolves in the Dark tr. Don Bartlett
Antti Tuomainen – The Man Who Died tr. David Hackston
A lot of stories from Norway and a lot of books from the wonderful Orenda Publishing!
There are also two more worthy mentions that I don’t think will make the shortlist based on the competition and because they may not be niche enough Scandi crime (the burden of international success!) but I will give them a highly commended:
Jussi Adler-Olsen – The Scarred Woman tr. William Frost
Hakan Nesser – The Darkest Day tr. Sarah Death
Shortlist – already announced
Winner – 12 April
For the last two years* I haven’t been too excited by the Stella shortlist but this year it looks fantastic. Most importantly, this is the first year all the titles are available in the UK, mostly in Kindle format.
(*I think the 2015 shortlist has been a hard one to follow).
I would love to try and read all six books before the big announcement but unfortunately I don’t think I will have the time or tenacity to read Alexis Wright’s 600+ page tome. Instead, I might read Sofie Laguna’s The Choke which appeared on the longlist.
Longlist – May 2018
Shortlist – June 2018
Winner – July 2018
The website for this prize remains perpetually vague about dates and reasonably difficult to navigate. Social media comments last year accurately pointed out it is far from being user friendly for a booklover.
I didn’t follow the prize last year but over the past weekend I looked at the shortlist and realised I want to read a few of the titles, particularly Waiting by Philip Salom. I am now excited for the 2018 prize. Hopefully all titles will be available in the UK as with the Stella Prize.
Longlist – 8 March (announced)
Shortlist – 23 April
Winner – 6 June
About 10-15 years ago I always used the long and shortlisted titles for this prize as a good addition to my reading list but fell out of doing this when I began to feel bored with stories that seemed too similar, predictable and underwhelming. A range of titles each year also became harder to source. This year there are a number of titles on the longlist I would definitely like to read:
H(A)PPYby Nicola BarkerManhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
My own shortlist of six! Based on the blurbs from the other books I don’t necessarily think these six will all be shortlisted but the are the ones that have piqued my interest in my quest to read for pleasure.
Longlist – 12 March
Shortlist – 12 April
Winner – 22 June
I’ve read a couple of winners from this prize but have never really followed the prize. If I get time this year I’d love to read the shortlist (to also see how my opinion fares against the Shadow jury whose blog posts I enjoy each year). Reading one or two from the shortlist may end up being wishful thinking but it’s always good to have a plan!