has just won the Man Booker Prize for the second time - this time for "Bring Up the Bodies". No doubt she deserves it and winning twice is a remarkable achievement but I do not envy her. Anything she produces from now on is going to be scrutinised to the nth degree. It is the sort of reputation that puts an enormous burden on the writer.
I also feel a little guilty. I could not read "Wolf Hall". I tried but I could not finish it. I barely started it. The writing was not for me.
I have a problem with some - perhaps many - "prizewinning" books. I try to read them because I think I should at least know about them. Casting my eye down the list of Man Booker winners I realise that I have glanced at most of them. I have not read all of them. I am unlikely to do so.
The same is true of other adult "literary" prizes. I often glance at them but I do not read them through to the end. I have said elsewhere in this blog that I cannot read Patrick White. I have been told I should. He is Australian. He won the Nobel Prize. How dare I not read him? Easily. His writing bores me. I know. It is shocking.
My father has looked at many prizewinners too. "Self-indulgent, navel gazing nonsense" he said of the work of one "highly regarded" Australian writer. It was an honest reaction from a man with a degree in English literature. The writing was not for him.
We will get half a dozen or more copies of "Bring Up the Bodies" on the shelves of the local library. They will be borrowed but, with rare exceptions, they will not be read to the end. The same was true of Wolf Hall. "I didn't finish it" and "I couldn't get into it" were common reactions even while a few people were saying, "I loved it. I didn't want it to end!"
It is more likely that people will read JK Rowling. The waiting list to read the latest Peter James - two copies - apparently extends to well over one hundred - and people will read it. "Don't tell me what happens!" I heard someone say. If Elizabeth George produced another Lynley novel or Ian Rankin another Rebus novel then there would be a queue the same length as there is for Peter James.
Then there are the prizes for "children's literature" like the Carnegie Medal. I can run my eye down those lists and say, "Yes, I have read - and even enjoyed - most of them." There will be a few I have not read - but not many. There are a few I have not enjoyed - but not many. Some of course I have enjoyed more than others.
I read a good many books intended for children. My father has too. He still says a good book for a child is a book which is good for anyone. They are not the only books we read of course but we can still enjoy them.
I wonder what changes for me between writing intended for children and writing intended for adults? Is it that I have never grown up as a reader? Does it mean I will never really be able to write well for children?
It bothers me. Should I make another attempt to read Wolf Hall and the other winners on the Booker list?
One of the problems is that there is just such a lot I want to read. Sigh!