I've chosen 'The Song of Achilles' to start with for two reasons: 1) I actually quite fancied reading a book about Achilles and Patroclus, and 2) it was the only book from the shortlist on the library shelves today. I found it and grabbed it, feeling a bit like I'd got something over on someone. :)
I really like the cover, with its ornate shield, although I have to admit I was a little put off that a quote from Emma Donoghue is there calling the book 'ravishingly vivid and convincing'. I am one of the few who really didn't fancy her book, 'Room'. But I digress!
I've read the first few pages and I have to say, I love the narrative style. It is a work of true craftmanship and art to write in such lean and spare sentences. I believe it is far more difficult to write effectively in a spare style than to indulge oneself the way, say, William Faulkner or James Joyce would have done. It's a style that lulls and relaxes and soothes me. It does not distract me from the narrative; it does not purposely call attention to itself. A sense of immediacy is lent by the use of present tense. Some people dislike both first person and present tense narration--they may struggle here! But I much prefer a limited point of view to an omniscient one.
Can't wait to hear what everyone else is starting with!
(Tip for bloggers here, if you prefer, you can change your font to Arial. It's bigger and I like it better than Times New Roman. Or maybe we can all use our own favourite font. It will look a bit psycho, but we can just call it 'eclectic'. :) )