Longlist fatigue. It’s a thing.

I was really looking forward to the Stella longlist announcement. I made a bunch of reservations at the library, and started on a book I already had…. and then it all fizzled. Reading has never been a chore and yet, here I was, with Lucky Ticket by Joey Bui on my ‘to do’ list.

I mentioned to Lisa at ANZ Litlovers that the longlist left me feeling both underwhelmed (I’m not very excited about many of the titles) and overwhelmed (how can we ‘compare’ contemporary lit against a graphic novel against YA?).

As I was pushing on with Lucky Ticket, I glanced over to the stack of books by my bed. Those are books I’m busting to read. I put Lucky Ticket down, and removed it from my Goodreads shelf (that’s how I serious I was). I’m going to read the three longlist books that interest me (Hill, LLewellyn and Rowe). And I’ll read the winner. Other than that, my reading time will be consumed by the books that I’ve chosen. Crisis averted.

23 responses

  1. I’m sure you made a wise choice. Like you say, reading isn’t supposed to be a chore. The long list books aren’t going anywhere – if another one takes your fancy six weeks/months/years from now, you can read it then 🙂

  2. I like to be up with contemporary fiction – just clinging to the rear of the peloton so to speak, nothing ambitious. While you and Lisa and Kim do the hard miles out the front, I pick out the good’uns from your reviews. But if you need to coast for a while, I can live with that, let someone else ride into the wind.

    BTW, I do admire the Stella for the diversity of its longlist over the years, eg. Tracker, an amazingly innovative work, which I was forced to read, and loved.

  3. Even when you’re devoted to following a prize closely, there are always going to be some books that just don’t appeal. When I’ve shadowed the Wellcome Book Prize, I’ve only skimmed the chunky science-heavy entries. I know that some who’ve followed the Women’s Prize have elected not to read particularly longlisted titles. You’re not reading these for school, and you’re not on a judging panel (whew), so you can make that decision! Meanwhile, you have some corkers on your bedside stack (looking particularly at Evans, Freeman, and Strout; I know you’ll also love the Funder and Wood for the German setting). Enjoy!

  4. I hear ye, I hear ye. When reading starts to feel like homework / study I reckon it’s time for a rethink. I’ve already decided I won’t be reading the longlist and it’s doubtful I’ll read the shortlist. I don’t even know if I’ll read the winner … 🤷🏻‍♀️

  5. I ignored all longlists last year. And then I ignored the shortlists as well! And possibly all the winners too! Although I have acquired a few listees, I’ll read them in my own time. I don’t feel as though I missed anything. So same policy this year. It’s time to continue enjoying the TBR list of my own making.

  6. When reading feels like work, you know its time for a rethink. I’ve never tried to read all the short never mind the long listed titles for any prize. It;s been hard enough just reading the winning Booker titles…..

  7. It’s the only way I can approach long lists these days too. Pick out what I might have read anyway, but stay open to the others just in case. Read what you want to read. It should be a pleasure not a chore.

  8. Sounds like a good plan. Read what sounds enjoyable. Out of that stack, I’d read The Reading Cure, and the Kate Atkinson book. That’s about it. The older I get, the less tolerant I am of reading things that don’t interest me. Got plenty of that through school and University.

  9. I agree with everyone else, it’s a good decision. Reading for pleasure should be just that and shouldn’t feel like a trudge.
    There’s also a side point about the amount of prizes and the push by publishers to get everyone reading books the week they come out – and I understand why – but it makes it easy to feel that you’re missing things that *everyone* is reading.
    One of the things I love about reading reviews is seeing the variety of what makes it on to other people’s to-read lists (or piles ☺️!)

  10. You’re quite right, Kate. There is no point in forcing your way to read through a list just for the sake of it. Just because books have made it on to some long list or other, it doesn’t mean they are of any greater value than anything else. I hope you enjoy the books you really want to read much better.

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  13. Good for you. I have never tried to read long and shortlists – I mean to read them all – because the impact on my other reading would have been too great. It’s always a thrill when more books that I happen to have read appear on lists.

    BTW I think we are becoming “awards-ed” out really. There are SO many now. And they seem to just keep coming. And this year, we have several biennial prizes all due at once I think – Adelaide, Kibble (2), Jefferis Awards. Why couldn’t they have spread themselves out a bit?

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