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The Booker Prize Longlist for 2020 was announced!

As I saw last year, and again this year, some of have listed the books they are most excited to read, and the ones they are not. It looked like fun to list the books this way for me as well, and to post any thoughts and opinions that came from seeing the longlist.

Last year, my thoughts were posted here, and wow, look at that…I managed to read completely zero of the books listed! I even own a few of them, but still never got around to reading any from 2019. This year, I’m afraid the same may happen even though there are a good number of titles on this list I’m looking forward to reading, and even have sitting on my shelves already too.

One thing of note here, there are no Canadians on this list. This doesn’t help me this year at all to gauge what could possibly appear on the Giller Longlist (to be announced in September). I’m excited for this year’s Giller announcement more than usual since I’ll be a member of the Shadow Jury this year! Fun! And that my friends, will be the biggest reason why I probably won’t be reading too many, if any, of the books listed for the Booker. (More details about the Shadow Giller coming very, very soon!)

The 2020 longlist is:

  • The New Wilderness by Diane Cook (Oneworld Publications)
  • This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Faber & Faber)
  • Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
  • Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
  • The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel (4th Estate, HarperCollins)
  • Apeirogon by Colum McCan (Bloomsbury Publishing) 
  • The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (Canongate Books)
  • Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (Bloomsbury Circus, Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Originals, Daunt Books Publishing)       
  • Redhead by The Side of The Road by Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus, Vintage)
  • Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart (Picador, Pan Macmillan)
  • Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward (Corsair, Little, Brown)
  • How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang (Virago, Little, Brown)

Top Priority

These books I already either own or had marked to read well before the list was published:

  • Hilary Mantel, The Mirror and the Light (bought this when it first came out)
  • Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain (own the e-book)
  • C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills is Gold
  • Colum McCann, Apeirogon

Very Interested

  • Brandon Taylor, Real Life
  • Anne Tyler, Redhead by The Side of the Road
  • Kiley Turner, Such a Fun Age

Interested and New to Me

  • Maaza Mengiste, The Shadow King
  • Avni Doshi, Burnt Sugar


  • Tsitsi Dangarembga, This Mournable Body

Probably Not

  • The New Wilderness by Diane Cook
  • Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze (this is a maybe, but the likelihood that it will be available here anytime soon makes it a probably not)
  • Love and Other Thought Experiments, Sophie Ward (when I read the description of this book on Goodreads, my son was standing behind me and both of us had a questionable look on our faces, like What? It is also unlikely that this would be made available here too.)

This list features many debut authors, which is really wonderful, however, do you not strongly feel that the Booker will be awarded to Hilary Mantel? She will then be the first person to win the prize for every year she has published a book in her Thomas Cromwell Trilogy. And given they seemingly wanted to award Atwood with a Lifetime Achievement Award, but didn’t make that distinction and instead broke their own rules and awarded two books the prize, with Atwood’s being one of the winners, seem like this would be a way for Mantel winning this year? It would be a wonderful achievement mind you.

I love this story about C Pam Zhang and Brandon Taylor! They were posting on Twitter yesterday and it made me smile and very happy for them. They worked on their books together and seeing both making this prize list left them in tears of joy and happiness.

What do you think of the Longlist? Are there any surprises like books you thought for sure would be on the list? (Like Hamnet, or Hamnet & Judith in these parts?) The Shortlist is announced on September 15th. I hope to maybe read at least a couple of these books! At least try to do better than last year! ;-)

Happy Reading!