Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Bedtime story

I really can't wait to finish work at Parkhouse. There's just nothing to do there. I've gone home for lunch the last couple of days - I don't normally bother, seeing as it's a 20-minute cycle ride each way, and 40 minutes travelling is a bit much for 20 minutes sitting at home - just to have a bit of time away from playing on the internet or otherwise doing nothing. Still, just another couple of weeks and I get to go to my scary new job and see if I can remember how to do actual work.

I watched the Booker Prize award ceremony last night, since for once I'd read one of the books on the shortlist, Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go". It didn't win though, which is probably fair. Much as I love the book, it's probably not his best work (the problem with having written "The Remains of the Day" and "The Unconsoled" is that it's a very hard standard to keep up), and so I'd say there's a good chance it's not the best book of the year. Besides, he's won it before, which none of the other shortlisted writers had. So now I'll need to go out and read John Banville's "The Sea" and pretend I'd heard of it before it was cool.

His acceptance speech was fun - it's hard to thank your agent, publisher and family and not make it terminally boring, but Banville managed it. Considering he was a surprise winner, it's funny to note that he had his speech prepared on a little bit of paper in his pocket. I wonder if all the others had prepared a little speech too? And what they did with their notes afterwards?

Of course, it's not the Booker Prize now, it's the Man Booker Prize, 'Man' being the name of the sponsor. It's silly enough having the prize for best book being called the 'Booker', but calling it the Man Booker makes you wonder if there's a Woman Booker Prize too.

Apparently it was a split decision on the judges' panel between Banville and Ishiguro, with the chairman, John Sutherland, casting the deciding vote. John Sutherland is an enormously clever man, with great taste in literature, so I'll take that as a recommendation to go out and read "The Sea" as soon as possible.

It's no secret that one of my many, many ambitions in life is to be a great writer (I'm still determined to get "The Adventures of Jayce and Alex" published one of these days), but Kazuo Ishiguro is one of the people who makes me realise that I'm just never going to be that great. I think it was Stephen King who once said that there are writers who have great ideas, and writers who can write well, and only a very few who fall into both categories. Ishiguro and King are certainly both among them. I'm not sure which I am, but I'd be inclined to say 'neither'. I mean, look at the last five paragraphs of this. It's all disjointed and doesn't flow at all, dotting about from random thought to random thought on the subject.

I need to go out and read some of the rubbish that makes it to the bookshops, just to reassure myself that any old idiot can become a published writer.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Me too, let's start a Sam'n'Zoomy book club!