Last night I went along to the annual Booker Debate held at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, where a panel of readers gave their reviews of the six shortlisted books. Members of the audience who had also read the books were able to chip in and the result was really rather fascinating.
Just to remind you the six shortlisted books are:
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
Room by Emma Donohhue
In a strange Room by Damon Galgut
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
C by Tom McCarthy
What I found most interesting was just how polarised the opinions of the books were. The two in particular that provoked this sort of reaction were In a Strange Room, which one panellist hated but another loved with a passion, and The Finkler Questions which again, the panellist wasn't at all impressed with but a member of the audience who had read it couldn't sing its praises enough.
The Room provoked rather a hot debate, but more because of the subject matter, and C received a rather tepid response, although the panel were all rather impressed with the cover.
The two that went down best were Parrot and Olivier, which everyone who had read seemed to enjoy, and The Long Song, which really does sound like one to read - certainly if the review from the panel was anything to go by.
So all that remains now is to see which one actually wins. This will be revealed on the 12th October.
Of course the Booker Debate was memorable for a couple of other reasons - I was presented with the Western Gazette Award for my success in the Yeovil Prize, and it was also lovely to meet up with science writer Brian Clegg who was one of the panellists and is also a fellow Litopian.
I have posted a few photographs over on the events page of my website if anyone fancies popping over and taking a look.