The ManBooker shortlist is unusual this year, at least for me, in that there�s more than one title listed that I could be bothered to buy.Actually, I�ve already consumed one of those that made the cut, Alan Hollinghurst�s The Line of Beauty, which was praised to the sky when it was released earlier this year. Although I enjoyed this arch piece of work, I was never under the impression, as some critics apparently were, that it was a masterpiece. Nick Guest, a diffident young gay man from the provinces arrived in the metropolis, is, I assume, meant to be admired for his aesthetic sensitivity, but his appreciation of the finer things in life, from Chopin nocturnes to the accommodating bodies of dark-skinned catering staff, seemed more like discerning connoisseurship than any drunken surrender to �beauty�. Perhaps this distancing effect arose because the novel�s characterisations didn�t quite live up to the standards of the prose. (The caricatured figure of the Tory MP, Gerald Fedden, for example, although marginally amusing, seemed more like a figure that had wandered in from an ITV sit-com than a Henry James novel.) Another Jamesian homage, Colm T�ib�n�s The Master has likewise received blanket acclaim and seems worth checking out. (Despite the fact that David Mitchell�s Calvinoesque Cloud Atlas is the bookies� favourite, I think T�ib�n could win.)But the nominee that caught my eye was Gerard Woodward, author of I�ll Go to Bed at Noon. According to the bio, Woodward�s first novel, August, focused �on his mother�s increasing dependency on glue.� More news if I get my hands on either of Woodward’s novels.