The Mookse and the Gripes discussion

note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
134 views
Booker Prize for Fiction > 2020 Booker Prize - shortlist predictions

Comments Showing 1-49 of 49 (49 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ang (last edited Sep 10, 2020 01:36AM) (new)

Ang | 1685 comments This topic is the place for you to second guess this year's Booker judges' shortlist choices.

Unlike the dynamic rankings, we want you to predict what the judges are most likely to select rather than which of the books you liked most.

We will close the thread just before the shortlist announcement.

If we get a reasonable number of responses, Hugh will compile the results and post that here too. We can also compare the predictions with the actual shortlist and see who came closest.


message 2: by Hugh (last edited Sep 16, 2020 12:17AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3101 comments Mod
Since this is about predictions, I don't see any point in measuring anything other than the number of nominations for each book:

These are the final counts:

Pos, Book, Count
1, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, 20
2, Apeirogon by Colum McCann, 19
2, The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel, 19
4, Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward, 16
5, The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste, 13
6, Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi, 12
~~~~~~
7, How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang, 8
8, This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga, 7
9, Who They Was by Gabriel Krauze, 6
9, Real Life by Brandon Taylor, 6
11, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, 5
12, The New Wilderness by Diane Cook, 2

No predictions:
Redhead by The Side of the Road by Anne Tyler

A few post-announcement notes:
We had 133 predictions of which 60 were correct, which makes us slightly worse than random monkeys!

Nobody got more than 4 right - our most successful punters were:
4 - Ang, James, Chris, Cristiano and Sam

... and the rest:
3 - Dylan, Laura, WndyJW, Nicholas, Tracy, BookerMT2, Anita and the combined table above
2 - Hugh, Paul, LindaJ^, Robert, John, Cynthia, Nicole, Angie
1 - Val


message 3: by Hugh (last edited Sep 12, 2020 08:06AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3101 comments Mod
As for my own predictions, I am really not sure. I would like to think that the group's top four will all make it (Shuggie Bain, TMATL, Apeirogon and Love & Other Thought Experiments) but past experience suggests at least one major shock. I would like to see The Shadow King too, and the final place is very close and may depend on politics and balance, so for now I'll go with the one I least want to see, because that often makes the shortlist!

The Mirror & the Light
Apeirogon
Shuggie Bain
Love & Other Thought Experiments
The Shadow King
Who They Was


message 4: by Paul (last edited Sep 10, 2020 02:14AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8494 comments Not read enough of the list to form my own view, but the external view seems to be:

1 TMATL
2 Who They Was
3 Such a Fun Age
4 Shuggie Bain
5 Apeirogon
6 This Mournable Body

(very much hoping that is wrong as 1-3 aren't longlist worthy and 6 has the flaw of needing to read three books not one to fully* appreciate it)

* On Mournable Body, it is fair to say that those who've read it stand alone feel it works perfectly well as such. But also fair to say that those who've read all three (including others who don't post here) have seen additional subtleties to the third, hence the "fully" was trying to reflect both views. Haven't read even the third myself!


message 5: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments It's not easy to predict a shortlist because I think it is somewhat easy for a book to get on a longlist by being a favourite of a single judge but not easy to push it on.

I (and others) disagree with Paul's declared flaw of This Mournable Body (as has been discussed on that thread).


message 6: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8494 comments Yes shortlist predictions are always hard. My annual reminder...

a) there are 1,716 possible shortlists
b) the judges are individuals with their own idiosyncratic views. Pick 6 people here from the dynamic rankings and you'd end up with very different shortlists.
c) the judges picked them so e.g. my dislike of Who They Was is clearly not shared by them. Indeed the books that feel to any of us that they least belong on the longlist may be more, not less, likely to make it
d) they've read them at least twice (which ought to make a difference albeit there seems less evidence of that down the years)

The favourite of a single judge one can play out differently as well. Often it does play out that way - i.e. 'yes you can have it on longlist but no more'. But then I'd say last year's Booker had at two judges with very strong personalities who fought for their favourite all the way to joint winner.

And I guess there can be the over-my-dead-body issue with a judge as well - historically judges have testified to ending up with compromise choices.


message 7: by Val (new)

Val | 1016 comments 1) The Mirror and the Light
2) Love and Other Thought Experiments
3) Apeirogon
4) This Mournable Body
5)
6) How Much of These Hills is Gold

Prediction: Shuggie Bain will appear on my list when I have read it.


message 8: by Ang (last edited Sep 12, 2020 05:22AM) (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Note, following Hugh's lead, I changed the specification so that not all 6 need to be listed, nor do any need to be given a ranking. Okay to do so of course.


message 9: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauratheditz) | 59 comments 1. Shuggie Bain
2. The Mirror and the Light
3. Love and Other Thought Experiments
4. Apeirogon
5. The Shadow King
6. Burnt Sugar

(On my dynamic rankings list, I have Real Life in my top six, but that's due to my own personal preference. I have doubts it'll make the shortlist, so this is where my predicted shortlist currently stands.)


message 10: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Haiken | 517 comments This is really hard because I'm still so surprised about the books that are on the longlist and have no sense of what the judges are looking for or responding to.

The Mirror and the Light
Apeirogon
Love and Other Thought Experiments
Shuggie Bain
Burnt Sugar
How Much of These Hills is Gold


message 11: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tstan) | 315 comments 1. Apeirogon
2. Love and Other Thought Experiments
3. Shuggie Bain
4. The Shadow King
5. The New Wilderness- just because I disliked it so much, of course it will be.
6. How Much of These Hills is Gold


message 12: by Debra (new)

Debra (debrapatek) | 343 comments I haven't read many of the books, so here's my partially informed list:

1. The Mirror and the Light (haven't read, but have an idea from reading Cromwell)
2. Apeirogon (current favorite)
3. Love and Other Thought Experiments (currently reading)
4. Shuggie Bain (currently listening to on Audible)
5. Burnt Sugar (read and liked)
6. Who They Was (haven't read, but basing this on the discussion)


message 13: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 4592 comments What I want:

1. The Mirror and the Light
2. Shuggie Bain
3. Burnt Sugar
4. Apeirogon
5. The Shadow King
6. Love and Other Thought Experiments

What I think:

1. The Mirror and the Light
2. Shuggie Bain
3. Burnt Sugar
4. Apeirogon
5. ? Probably one of the US writing students
6. ? Probably one of the US writing students


message 14: by Nadine (last edited Sep 10, 2020 02:10PM) (new)

Nadine (nadinekc) | 198 comments WndyJW wrote: "What I think:

1. The Mirror and the Light
2. Shuggie Bain
3. Burnt Sugar
4. Apeirogon
5. ? Probably one of the US writing students
6. ? Probably one of the US writing students"


Some debuts are stronger than others ;) I'm trying to think of an extraordinary debut novel by an author who wasn't in an MFA program. All I can come up with is Awaeke Emezi and Freshwater. The bios I've seen say that she has an MPA from NYU - which is a Masters in Public Admin, I think?


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5246 comments Shuggie Bain would be my suggestion.


message 16: by Val (new)

Val | 1016 comments Nadine wrote: "Some debuts are stronger than others..."
I'm over-generalising here, but might the difference be that some authors
already have a story they are itching to tell, so learn the skills to do so
and others
have a story, want to learn the skills so they can tell it, then go away and blend those until they can tell a story well
?


message 17: by Robert (last edited Sep 11, 2020 01:18AM) (new)

Robert | 1971 comments My predictions :

1) Apeirogon
2) Love and Other Thought Experiments
3) Burnt Sugar
4) Who They Was
5) The Mirror and the Light
6) Shuggie Bain

If you click on the blog link you'll get my reviews on 4 out of the 6 books - https://thebobsphere.wordpress.com/20...


message 18: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Robert, please could you also list them within the post? I think there are issues with seeing links on the phone app. I know we're linking to reviews which is fine but a simple list of your chosen six would be great for this purpose. Thanks.


message 19: by Robert (new)

Robert | 1971 comments Ang wrote: "Robert, please could you also list them within the post? I think there are issues with seeing links on the phone app. I know we're linking to reviews which is fine but a simple list of your chosen ..."

Sure!!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5246 comments The Booker Prize liked your suggestions.


message 21: by Robert (new)

Robert | 1971 comments Really 🤩 that never ceases to amaze me


message 22: by Val (new)

Val | 1016 comments That is an excellent review of a book which is difficult to describe, even when I am trying. Thank you Robert.


message 23: by Robert (new)

Robert | 1971 comments Thanks - I am blushing


message 24: by John (last edited Sep 11, 2020 06:26PM) (new)

John Banks | 159 comments 1. Apeirogon
2. Shuggie Bain
3. The Mirror and the Light
4. Love and other Thought Experiments.
5. This Mournable Body
6. How Much of These Hills is Gold

Possible Burnt Sugar will replace one of these (I haven't read it as yet). For me first four are very clear standouts. Still reading Apeirogon (about half-way through) but jumped ahead of the pack. It's shaping up as a masterpiece. I think same about MATL, but have reservations due to its third in a trilogy. 2,3 and 4 on this list I could so easily move around. For example, so tempted at times to shift Love and Other Thought Experiments to 2.


message 25: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 4592 comments Nice reviews, Robert. You’re going to be, “noted book reviewer Robert” soon!


message 26: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. | 38 comments I read (or attempted) all but one of the books this year, which I think is a record for me. But for a couple of gems (my 1 and 2 below) I found the list pretty weak overall. Conversely, Hamnet, Red Pill and Swimming in the Dark all could have, and IMHO, should have made the list, and it would have been stronger.


1. Apeirogon - an important, beautifully done book on a topic which needed it
2. Love and Other Thought Experiments - This is the kind of book Booker was made for
3. The Shadow King - I couldn’t finish, but it’s an underdone topic and I think to the judges
4. Real Life - I think there was a lot to digest here
5. The MIrror and the Light - I attempted Wolf Hall 3 times and just could never get it going, but she’s won twice, so I presume it’s a guaranteed shortlist
6. How Much of These Hills is Gold - I’m scared that Such a Fun Age will actually make the list, but I’d much rather see this book make it


message 27: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 127 comments 1. Apeirogon
2. The Mirror and the Light
3. The Shadow King
4. Love and Other Thought Experiments
5. Burnt Sugar
6. Shuggie Bain


message 28: by Chris (new)

Chris Blocker (chrisblocker) | 44 comments Haven't read all of these yet, so some of this list is based merely on a hunch:

1. Shuggie Bain
2. The Mirror and the Light
3. How Much of These Hills Is Gold
4. The Shadow King
5. Real Life
6. The New Wilderness


message 29: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1602 comments I haven't read them all either, nor did I like more than three, but here is my guess.
1 Shuggie Bain
2 The Mirror and the Light
3 Apeirogon
4 This Mournable Body
5 Burnt Sugar
6. Real Life


message 30: by BookerMT2 (last edited Sep 14, 2020 12:50PM) (new)

BookerMT2 | 44 comments 1 The Mirror and the Light. Think this a given. Can't see the point in longlisting it if they aren't going to shortlist. Probable winner.

2 Apeirogon. I think this will get better on a second more detailed reading. It is an important work and one that plays with structure and form.
3 Real Life.I didn't enjoy it at all but listening to the podcast there was, I felt more general enthusiasm for this title than many of the others. Also ticks a lot of boxes.
4 Shuggie Bain. Surely they can't leave such a good novel off the list? Also in the podcast one of the judges said "we all loved it." Maybe reading too much into the podcast.

5 Such A Fun Age. Feel certain this will be shortlisted. Again based a lot on the podcast. Also it is bang on the message of black lives matter. The right book at the right time.

The last title is much harder to predict and could be any of them. Personally I'd like it to be Shadow King but I think that will miss out.
6 Burnt Sugar. A decent compromise title that will not divide opinon too much.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5246 comments I would largely agree with all your logic Booker MT - probably as like you I am biased by the Podcast.

My views on The Testament last year were the same as yours on TMATL - that once you include it, its hard to then drop it. I hope you are wrong much as I love the author and the book - 3 wins is too much.

I can't see the chair (given her many years or decades of championing of African female writers) being happy with losing both Shadow King and Mournable Body though.


message 32: by Cristiano (new)

Cristiano | 51 comments In no order:

1. Burnt Sugar (it was fresh and the better of the mother-daughter plots)
2. Shuggie Bain (because who didn't fall in love)
3. Real Life (I totally understood where the author was headed and his intentions. Sometimes a bit to flowery)
4. Apeirogon (structure meets emotion. sometimes too much head over heart)
5. The Shadow King (because of African history we were all missing)
6. Love or Hills (I couldn't pick, but appreciate both)

Yes, I omitted TMATL, because it has - in my opinion - no place in our current time.


message 33: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 521 comments I have no idea how to predict what the judges will pick but I am sure one or more of the books I least liked will make the shortlist, as they always do! My top 4 are my favorites and I'm going to stick with them for the short list. Number 5 is also my number 5 because I think it is important, but it could be substituted with This Mournable Body as both have somewhat similar themes. I do not believe both will make the shortlist. My number 6 is my choice on the topic of racism. It could be replaced with Real Life. Again I do not believe both will make the list.

1. Apeirogon
2. The Mirror and the Light
3. Shuggie Bain
4. Love and Other Thought Experiments
5. The Shadow King (This Mournable Body)
6. Such a Fun Age (Real Life)


message 34: by BookerMT2 (new)

BookerMT2 | 44 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "I would largely agree with all your logic Booker MT - probably as like you I am biased by the Podcast.

My views on The Testament last year were the same as yours on TMATL - that once you include ..."


Yes I did think along the lines of your last comment too. Of course may have read too much into the podcast and it was only 3 of the judges speaking. I liked Shadow King very much but maybe This Mournable Body might stack up better on a second read. Not long to wait now.


message 35: by Nicholas (new)

Nicholas (vonlicorice) | 56 comments The Mirror & the Light
The Shadow King
Such a Fun Age
Who They Was
Shuggie Bain
This Mournable Body


message 36: by James (new)

James Pomar | 87 comments My prediction

The Mirror and the Light
Apierogon
Shuggie Bain
The Shadow King
Burnt Sugar
Real Life


message 37: by Dylan (new)

Dylan (dylansbooknook) | 77 comments I'm finding it quite difficult to make predictions this year - largely because the majority of the titles I've read I don't consider deserving of spots on the shortlist. (This gives me hope that those I have remaining will be quite good.)

1) The Mirror and the Light
2) Apierogon
3) Shuggie Bain
4) The Shadow King
5= Love and Other Thought Experiments
5= How Much of These Hills is Gold
5= Burnt Sugar

If I had to choose, it's a toss-up. I really enjoyed Ward's book, but it might be somewhat too divisive. I would reluctantly drop it from my predictions to end up with 6.


message 38: by Angie (new)

Angie The Mirror and the Light
Shuggie Bain
Apeirogon
Love and Other Thought Experiments
Who They Was
This Mournable Body


message 39: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Ang wrote: "It's not easy to predict a shortlist because I think it is somewhat easy for a book to get on a longlist by being a favourite of a single judge but not easy to push it on."

Based on my assertion above, I am going to attempt a prediction which eliminates those which I think were pushed by a single judge and probably won't get further. That's not enough to eliminate 7, but here goes:

In no particular order, my predicted shortlist is:

Shuggie Bain
Love and Other Thought Experiments
The Shadow King
Burnt Sugar
This Mournable Body
Such a Fun Age


message 40: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments What time are you closing the thread, Hugh?


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5246 comments Any thoughts on who might have pushed what Ang?


message 42: by Hugh (last edited Sep 15, 2020 01:52AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3101 comments Mod
Ang wrote: "What time are you closing the thread, Hugh?"
I will do a final update some time between 1630 and 1700 for both this and the longlist rankings.


message 43: by Ang (new)

Ang | 1685 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "Any thoughts on who might have pushed what Ang?"

Not which judge, I'm not really interested in individual tastes, but the books I think were pushed by a single judge and agreed to go onto the longlist: Redhead, Who They Was, and The New Wilderness. I think there is a possibility that The Mirror and the Light, Apeirogon, and How Much of These Hills is Gold were also in that category, but have a better chance of being pushed further (though I am leaving them off my list). I think Real Life may have had initial support from more than one judge, but won't make it to shortlist.

(I am no good at predicting though!)


message 44: by Paul (last edited Sep 15, 2020 03:29AM) (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8494 comments Statistics (not betting odds!) alert.

The three books that most see as possible winners, and are also most predicted here as shortlistees, are Shuggie, TMATL and Apeirogon.

If the judges simply chose randomly then the chances of those three books (or indeed any other three books) being on the shortlist are:

None of them 12%
One of them 44%
Two of them 37%
All three 7%


message 45: by Robert (new)

Robert | 1971 comments I think there's a mistake on the shortlist dynamic rankings page - if im not mistaken the award will be announced at 13 - 13:30pm BST , not at 17:00 as it says there.


message 46: by James (new)

James Pomar | 87 comments Yes, 17:00 is when they’re doing the shortlist celebration, but it will be announced closer to 12:00


message 47: by Hugh (last edited Sep 15, 2020 03:58AM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3101 comments Mod
Oh, that's the danger of using Facebook - the event notifications are more visible than the announcements that matter! I will close both threads in about an hour.


message 48: by James (new)

James Pomar | 87 comments Sorry, I just rechecked the tweet, the announcement will be between 1-1:30 with the shortlist celebration being streamed on Facebook and YouTube at 5:00


message 49: by James (new)

James Pomar | 87 comments As Robert said, of course!! (If I had only read his post as well)


back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.