Sunday, December 5, 2010

Challenge: Battle of the Prizes, British Version

This challenge pits winners of the English Man Booker Prize against winners of the Scottish James Tait Black Memorial Prize in a British Version of the Battle of the Prizes. (Click here for the American Version.)

Does one prize have higher standards than the other? Pick better winners? Provide more reading entertainment or educational value? Maybe challenge participants will be able to answer these and more questions – maybe they will simply read three or four great books!

CHALLENGE ENDS JANUARY 31, 2011.  There is still time to join and plenty of time to finish if you are already participating. 


OPTION ONE: Chose three books that you have not read before:

1) One that won both the Booker and the James Tait Black prizes (here is the short list of double dippers);

2) One that won the Booker but not the James Tait Black (Booker winners are here); and

3) One that won the James Tait Black but not the Booker (James Tait Black winners are here).

OPTION TWO: For those who have already read all three of the double-dippers, or otherwise do not want to read one of those three, pick two Booker winners and two James Tait Black winners for a total of four books.


  • Read all books between February 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011.
  • Overlap with other challenges is allowed -- and encouraged! The Complete Booker is a logical crossover. The great thing is, for those working on both these lists, completing the challenge means reading three books, but crossing four items off the lists.
  • You do not have to commit to your choices now; you can change your mind about books at any time.
  • Sign up here by leaving a link to your post in a comment, or the list of your three choices in the comment. I will add the links to the participant list in this post.
  • As you progress, please let us know by leaving comments with links to progress reports and reviews. Reviews are not necessary, but encouraged. If you do not have a blog, put your reviews or reports in a comment on this post.
  • You can copy and paste the button. Or, if you want me to send you the code, please leave a comment with an email and I will. I cannot figure out the fancy ways of giving directions. 


My three choices are:

1) G by John Berger for my double dipper choice;

2) The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch for my Booker winner; and

3) The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry for my James Tait Black winner.

I picked these three because they were all on my TBR shelf had been for a while.  As of December 1, I've finished The Secret Scripture and The Sea, the Sea.  The links to my reviews are in the list below.


Rose City Reader

chaotic compendiums 

Musings  (The first to complete the challenge -- congratulations!)

Oh, So Many Manias . . .  

Books in the City 


J.G. at Hotch Pot Cafe 

Birdie's Nest


Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel on chaotic compendiums 

G by John Berger on Musings 

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro on Birdie's Nest

Without My Cloak by Kate O'Brien on Musings

The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry here on Rose City Reader

Something to Answer For by P. H. Newby on Musings

The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch here on Rose City Reader


  1. I had trouble making the button for this, so apologies if the words are hard to read. I am going to futz around with it when I get a chance.

  2. I'm in for this one, too. & very happy you're reading The Sea, The Sea, I love it so.

  3. I LOVE the logo!!! I will have to look through my books upcoming and see if any are Booker Prize or Black Prize winners so I can jump on board with this!

  4. Caitlin -- Woo hoo! My first participant. I'll get your link listed as soon as I get on the outside of my breakfast.

    SocrMom -- I hope you sign up. I can't think if there is much overlap with the Modern Library list. Midnight's Children would work, but you already read that one, I think. You may have more luck with the American version.

    Thanks about the logo. It wasn't easy to come up with or execute.

  5. OK, I think I fixed the logo button a little. The words are a bit easier to read now.

  6. I'm in for both the British and American versions. Here's my post.

  7. I'm going to take the plunge and actually do this... I'm going to start with
    The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and Augustus by John Williams.

    I think I'll do the Brit and the American versions.

  8. Margaret -- I'm so pleased you are doing both. I'll add your link.

  9. I'm in! Post to follow.

    The Sea, The Sea is one of my favorites, and I'll be reading G this year, so we can compare notes.

  10. J.G. -- Yippy! Or, I guess since this is the British version -- jolly good!

  11. And I'm ready for this one, too.

    Thanks again.

  12. I also choose 2 of my 3 books from my TBR shelf. My post about the challenge is here

    Thanks for setting up this unique challenge!

  13. My post is up now, so I'm official. This is going to be great fun!

  14. I'd seen this challenge but didn't realize you were hosting it. I follow all the literary prizes and have read some Tait winners so I'll join and get a post up when I can. You've made some good choices there.
    You had asked me to let you know when I updated my Complete Booker Challenge. The link you left doesn't go anywhere so I wonder if you gave up on that challenge or I just can't find it? I've update mine for the 2010 challenge-I've read quite a few in the past year.
    I'll leave my link so you can take a look-they all have starred ratings so you can tell how I liked them:

  15. Sandra -- Thanks for your Booker link. I'll add it to my Booker list post.

    And I am so pleased that you are going to participate in this challenge! I look forward to seeing your list.

  16. Here's my link to my review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel:

  17. Read my first book for this challenge, G by John Berger. Didn't care for it at all! Here's my review.

  18. Hi I'm Birdie, and I'm new to challenges and new to blogspot. My shiny new blog is here:

  19. Hi!
    Birdie here again.
    I have just completed my first book for the challenge. I read Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. It was gorgeous and tragic. I'm still sniffling. Here is my review.

  20. Birdie -- thanks for signing up and for leaving your first review. I've added you to the list of participants and added your review to the list. Happy reading!

  21. Here's my review of a James Tait Black winner, Without My Cloak

  22. Thank you ever so much for posting my review.
    *birdie feels special*
    Hope you're having a great end-of-trial-day, um, or something like that

  23. I've finished the challenge! My last book was Something to Answer For, the very first Booker Prize winner. Here's my review. Thanks for hosting this!

  24. I forgot to report in along the way (sorry), so here's a flurry of links right at the deadline. Thanks for hosting! I'm looking forward to the next pitched battle.

    Wrap-up post:

    Review of Personality:

    Review of Last Orders:

    Review of Staying On:

  25. Hi - I forgot to check in with my review of the Corrections

    I have read the other 2 as well and will have my reviews posted later this week. Thanks for hosting - I am in for next year too (but may do the US one this time)

  26. JG & Booksnyc: Thanks for the review links. I'll add them when I do the wrap up post. And if you send the other reviews, I'll add those later.

    I just finished my last book for this challenge yesterday. My review is going to be a bit late as well.

  27. Hi - Here is the link to my Life of Pi review:

    I loved this book!


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