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Love and Other Thought Experiments
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Booker Prize for Fiction > 2020 Booker Longlist: Love and Other Thought Experiments

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message 1: by Trevor (last edited Jul 27, 2020 04:34PM) (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1845 comments Mod
Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward

Love and Other Thought Experiments, by Sophie Ward

Please remember to read the Booker Folder Rules and post accordingly


Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments This one sounds fascinating and has gone to top of my to-read list

But I am not the only person it seems to notice the rather coincidental resemblance to the obvious precursor... Sophie Ward/Sophie's World

'Not since Jostein Gaarder's 1991 novel Sophie's World has an author produced such an imaginative and original synthesis of fiction and philosophy' Irish Times

It even comes with a recommendation from the sister of a friend of ours, Sophie Kinsella.

I do hope one of the ideas it explores is sophistry!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Sophie Kinsella does not normally recommend heavy literary fiction does she?


Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Only when it features Sophies (although she is actually called Madeleine)


message 5: by Ella (new) - added it

Ella (ellamc) | 1018 comments Mod
"I do hope one of the ideas it explores is sophistry!"

Good line, Paul, very good line.


message 6: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1845 comments Mod
Ha!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments It was pretty good - he isn't even the funny twin.


Robert | 2181 comments A story behind my copy of this book. I requested it for review but it arrived at the height of my covid anxiety so I only managed 5 pages. The first time I DNF’d an ARC

Looks like a second chance 🙂


WndyJW | 5992 comments Can’t say I feel this book calling to me.


message 10: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Banks | 164 comments My library has this one, reserve placed.


message 11: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Looking for the Goldsmiths book - there is always at least one - this feels perhaps the most likely.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments It’s not eligible for the usual reason - PhD at Goldsmiths


message 13: by Paul (last edited Jul 28, 2020 12:03AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Yes sorry - it was me who pointed that out in the Goldsmiths thread back in Feb (a lifetime ago!) when Robert raised this book.

They really do need to sort that out. And I need to cancel my Amazon order!


message 14: by Ella (new) - added it

Ella (ellamc) | 1018 comments Mod
I'm very excited to read this. I put an order in this morning b/c my library doesn't seem to have it on order.


message 15: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1713 comments I'll be interested in this if they generate an e-copy, I am not chasing after hard copies this year. From what I envision, it may be the only book that would challenge the top two for the prize.


WndyJW | 5992 comments I misread everything about this last night. Paul, you said this sounds like Sophie’s World which I could not get into, I don’t think that is what you were saying, and I saw that the author is an actor. I see now that the author has a PhD in philosophy and has written before.
Now I am very interested in this book too.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments The Irish times did compare it to Sophie’s World and the publisher repeats the quote on their website, and it does look like there are strong links.


message 18: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Yes there is a rather strong basic resemblance with foundational philosophical ideas explicitly discussed, although I didn't mean the comparison as a negative, and indeed this looks the most interesting book on the list to me.

I must also acknowledge. looking through reviews, that Katia has done the sophistry thing before me: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 19: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments To add to the Sophie Kinsella (who I see tweeted her congratulations to Sophie Ward) and Booker connection, the jackpot question on the quiz show Pointless yesterday was to name female authors who've won the Booker prize.

For those not familiar with it, you win by choosing the most obscure but still correct answer - ideally a 'pointless' answer that wasn't picked by 100 members of the public asked the same question (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pointless)

The contestants (who obviously then didn't win) picked Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Sophie Kinsella: https://twitter.com/KinsellaSophie/st...


Vesna (ves_13) | 219 comments This is one of 3 longlisted books I'd like to read but it's practically unavailable in the US. It's not listed on OverDrive for online library loans, worldcat.org lists only 4 US-based libraries having a copy, and it's either not available on major online bookstores (like Amazon-US) or not listed at all (IndieBound, Bookshop.org, B&N). I'm curious what's going on because it was published in the UK back in February...


message 21: by Ella (new) - added it

Ella (ellamc) | 1018 comments Mod
Vesna wrote: "This is one of 3 longlisted books I'd like to read but it's practically unavailable in the US. It's not listed on OverDrive for online library loans, worldcat.org lists only 4 US-based libraries ha..."

I learned this same thing when I searched for it. But then I finally broke down & went to Book Depository -- they list a US paperback (complete w/ the Booker sticker on it) coming out next week or very soon at least. So I preordered that one.


Vesna (ves_13) | 219 comments Ella wrote: I learned this same thing when I searched for it. But then I finally broke down & went to Book Depository -- they list a US paperback ..."

Thank you, Ella. I forgot about the Book Depository and I even had a good experience with them. I'll be leaving for a 3-week vacation next week but at least now I know where to order it. I'm trying to bring with me as many e-books and a few print copies because it will be a quarantined vacation. This one will then have to wait for my return.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Halfway through and this feels more innovative than anything I can remember on the Booker longlist in the last few years. I will be interesting to see where it goes for the second half.


message 24: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Yes I've read half of the first chapter and I'd agree


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments As I was reading your comment I just crushed a small ant on my phone and now I am feeling very bad.


message 26: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments If it was one of those flying ones that swarmed all over Wimbledon yesterday, then I have little sympathy with it.


message 27: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Banks | 164 comments Based on these comment really intrigued by this one now.


message 28: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments If anyone wants a taster before buying, the author published a short story in 2016 (it was also broadcast on the BBC) and which is available on the Goldsmiths University website. It now is a chapter of the book (with some modifications I think):

https://www.gold.ac.uk/glits-e/back-i...


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments I don't really know where to begin with this one - it starts innovatively, takes a really weird turn and then decides to dispense with conventionality altogether.

But it's also a simple story about love, parenthood and grief.

I can imagine some people will hate it - but I really liked it and I think real kudos to the judges for including something like this

Anyway here is my review

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I really hope this is shortlisted as this would be an ideal book to discuss with spoliers when more have read it


message 30: by Sam (last edited Jul 30, 2020 04:34PM) (new)

Sam | 1713 comments Good review GY. I did not care for the sample Pail posted, but I'll still give this a try when it becomes available in my preferred format. Sophie's World troubled me. I read it with my daughter, but didn't see value it much beyond a teaching tool for young adults.


WndyJW | 5992 comments I’m now I’m really intrigued.

GY, I did a short mantra to pray for that little ant to have a fortunate rebirth.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Thanks Sam. I think a lot of people will not like this at all - we shall see.

Wendy I think oddly I may have saved humanity in retrospect.


message 33: by Paul (last edited Aug 01, 2020 02:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Impressed with this one, and the judges for choosing it.

Again for anyone wanting a sample and with a preference for audio, another chapter of the book won a short story prize in 2018, and was recorded by Gwendoline Christie (aka Brienne of Tarth).

https://pindropstudio.com/event/royal...


message 34: by Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer (last edited Aug 01, 2020 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Glad you liked it - your early comments and questions were making me think you did not. Listening to the three judges what they really liked was how a book where you thought you knew what you were reading suddenly turned very different indeed.

What most impresses me Paul is that you know who Brienne is.


message 35: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments I had to google Brienne I'm afraid

Great interview with the author with Eric the Lonesome Reader:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9YB_...

Fascinating that one origin of the story is that she actually had ants living in her computer.


message 36: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments If I did have one criticism it might be "an interesting concept but ends up being too similar to The Matrix".

Interestingly Ward cites The End of Mr. Y as a key inspiration for her to write this book.

Robert's review of that one reads in its entirety .... "an interesting concept but ends up being too similar to The Matrix"!!!


Robert | 2181 comments I am absolutely loving this one - I have a feeling this will go the same route as How to be Both - shortlisted and should win but won't


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Except that went on to win the Goldsmith didn’t it and this cannot. I guess Women’s Prize and Costa novel prize still possible.


Robert | 2181 comments true - I can't see this as a Costa novel though


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Although would you have seen How to be Both?


Robert | 2181 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "Although would you have seen How to be Both?"

You're right again - and she won twice. i guess there is some hope!


Robert | 2181 comments Here's my video review:

https://youtu.be/bV4fyWxtcNg


message 43: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments Great review (and nice to see the shout out for the Bob Book * 1000 Sorry to Disrupt the Peace - also a Paul Book * 1000) - and glad you liked this one.


Robert | 2181 comments Thanks! :)


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Nice to see The Liar’s Dictionary also. And appropriate given the themes of her writing that you struggled with how to pronounce her name. It’s actually pronounced Ellie short for Eleanor - she got the spelling wrong as a child and it stuck.


Robert | 2181 comments Thanks for that!


message 47: by Paul (new) - rated it 4 stars

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 10065 comments From Twitter, the author is also a fan of your blog review, Robert!


Robert | 2181 comments Wow! That was a surprise!!!


Tracy (tstan) | 377 comments I finished this yesterday. Still mulling my review in my head, but I loved it. This is my favorite of the eleven I’ve read so far.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6622 comments Definitely the unexpectedly good surprise of the longlist for me - I did prefer some other books (but all ones I had read before the list).

Would be very interested to see your rankings Tracy given you have nearly finished the list.


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