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

20 Days to Christmas

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