Quick Reactions to the Wellcome Book Prize Shortlist

From 12, we are now down to six. The 2018 Wellcome Book Prize shortlist is here!

Some quick thoughts:

I sort-of predicted three out of the six in yesterday’s post: The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris, With the End in Mind by Kathryn Mannix, and To Be a Machine by Mark O’Connell.

I’m relieved that I’d already gotten to two of the shortlisted titles (Fitzharris and Mannix), so I can focus on reading the other four over the next 5+ weeks, and will briefly revisit those first two on my Kindle when it’s decision time.

I am pretty shocked that Maggie O’Farrell’s I Am, I Am, I Am did not advance to the shortlist. Mayhem will have to be a truly amazing memoir to outdo it; I wanted to read it anyway, but now I’m particularly keen – it would be a good one for me to feature on the official blog tour if that happens to work out.

I’m not feeling very cheerful about having to start Stay with Me again (I DNFed it last year), but I’ll try to approach it with an open mind.

To Be a Machine is currently on shelf at my local library (fingers crossed that it’s still there when I go on Friday) and I’ve reserved The Vaccine Race from another branch. I’ll start with one of those.

I’ve also been promised two review copies at random in the post – let’s hope it’s not the two I’ve already read!


(See also Laura’s initial thoughts.)


Feel like joining the shadow panel in reading one or more of these six books?

7 responses

  1. Good point about being able to revisit already-read titles – it seems like ages since I read Stay With Me, and I got it from a library in a city where I no longer live, so can’t revisit it easily! Luckily it still feels pretty vivid… Totally agree about the O’Farrell.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only just read the two this month, but it’s always good to be able to go back to the e-book for a reminder. My library has an e-book loan of Stay with Me, but to make myself stick with it I’m going to try to get hold of a print copy instead.


  2. Yay for Meredith Wadman (not that I’ve read it, but, you know…)!
    I’m especially interested to find out how you get along with Stay With Me since it was originally a DNF for you.
    Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe I didn’t give it enough of a solid try. I read the first 15% for a potential BookBrowse review, but it felt derivative of every other Nigerian story I’ve ever read/watched on screen (admittedly, not that many). I saw plenty of lukewarm reviews from friends, too. I’ll try to look at it with fresh eyes this time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I didn’t love Stay With Me, I must confess. And am equally baffled as to why Maggie O’Farrell isn’t on this list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do any of the other five appeal to you?


      1. I love the idea of To Be A Machine. The Butchering Art is also appealing, although your descriptions of its goriness are a bit alarming!

        Liked by 1 person

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