The Whitbread Book Award was announced today - another good book to read. If I were speaking to Duch, or to be precise by now, as I have done my answerphone - dialogue of grovelling to no effect, if Duch were speaking to me, I'd ring her now and rant about it. I'd rant this:
The Booker is shit. Shit books win. Shit books make the list. Good books rarely ever get nominated. The shortlist is always crappily done - they couldn't help but select DBC Pierre after leaving out any main heavyweight competitors this year.
You can tell which one's going to win, anyway, regardless of quality or readability - a Booker book is recognisably pompous and over egged, much like an Academy Best Picture is literary, epic, and has a panoply of A listers in it doing overly 'dramatic' turns.
The Whitbread should be shit. The Whitbread is patchy - a game of chance. Some years it's laughable, but increasingly, this oddly unequal popularity contest is turning out more winners than losers. I like the way children's books are left to thrash it out against adult books, poetry, anything. No boundaries. Its very inequality seems to be managing to turn out the books that *should* have won the other prizes - you know, the literary prizes not judged by a panel of bollock brained celebs.
I never notice The Pulitzer coming out, so I don't know that it's definitely shit, but I doubt it, because I've never read a Pulitzer fiction winner that wasn't life changingly good. Okay, it's restricted to American literature, but Americans have been the global artistic and intellectual masters of the novel form for the previous fifty years anyway, so there's no real loss there, surely? If you read some Nabokov instead of all that Heinlein, you'd know that.
Which all brings me back to The Big Sodding Read. I've ranted before about the dire intellectual state of a country that can only vote for children's books or Jane Thicko Austen in its list of all time favourites. But there's something more that has been bugging me. It's that even at the time, I failed to point out that The Lord of the Rings is shit.
I know I shall offend the geek nerd corner, but really - that is not decent writing. Nice picturesque films, blokes. But the writing? It's shit.