Commenting on the Booker

<p>There is little over a week to go before the prize giving dinner in Guildhall. For the judges, that means just one more session, and we are released - once again free to read what we choose. My bedside table is groaning with non-fiction and foreign novels which I have been obliged to set aside since March.</p>
<p>There has been no shortage of commentary on the shortlist - most of it fairly polite by the dyspeptic standards of literary commentators. Of course some have drawn attention to the fact that Jordan's latest book has outsold five of the shortlist - but we have not been moved to add her to the list as a result.</p>
<p>It has been pleasing that a number of professional critics, and bloggers, have said they were glad to have their attention drawn to some of the lesser known names on the list. That has been the case with my own friends, too, most of whom have been enthusiastic about the shortlist entries they have read, though one gave me a slightly old fashioned look when I pressed my spare copy of Nicola Barker's doorstopper on her, with a request for a view by the weekend. We have also benefited from new reviews in the US. There was a particularly perceptive notice of&nbsp; <em>The Gathering</em> in the New York Times the other day.</p>
<p>You can read Howard Davies' full blog at <a href="http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/thisyear/chair">The Man Booker Prize website</a>.</p>