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2014 Book Suggestions for TOB

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Liz Schubert (LizSchubert) | 5 comments I don't have any suggestions but I am wondering if anyone else has any ideas of what might make it so I can get a jump on reading.


message 2: by Ed (last edited Aug 09, 2013 07:52AM) (new)

Ed (EdZafe) | 74 comments Hi Liz,

I am having a difficult time figuring out what may make the list myself!

The one slam dunk for me seems to be Kate Atkinson's "Life After Life" -- tho I was shocked that it didn't even make the long list for this year's Booker Prize.

One book that did make the long list and that I loved was Ruth Ozeki's "A Tale For The Time Being" -- but don't have a good gut feeling about it making it to ToB.

I'd give Colum McCann's "Translantic" a good shot (have not read it yet).

Amazon came out with their best books of the year so far (have found year-end lists are a pretty good indicator) and their top fiction picks are:

Atkinson's "Life After Life"
Phillip Meyer's "The Son"
Meg Wolitzer's "The Interestings"
Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed"
Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor & Park"
George Saunder's "Tenth of December"
Helene Wecker's "The Golem and the Jinni"

Beyond Atkinson, I've read 3 of those, wishy-washy on Meyer (in the minority view there) and Wolitzer (quite mixed reviews) - and Hosseini was reliably good (as always for me, but strikes me as too mainstream/popular for ToB).

Rowell is YA, so don't know if ToB will go that route again ("Fault" did pretty well last year) and might throw in Saunders for a short story collection as they like to do.

Keep an eye out for the Booker winner (announced mid-October), think that's usually a sure-thing.


Drew (drewsof) I've been pondering this of late myself. I think the big ticket novels of the late summer / early fall are certain to be at least long-listed (Dissident Gardens, Night Film, Bleeding Edge, etc) and whatever starts taking home prizes as the year winds down.
But my own personal hopes are the new Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill's NOS4A2, The Facades, Americanah - and I think Tao Lin's Taipei could cause a ruckus akin to Sheila Heti and Helen DeWitt in the last two tournies.
I'm also gonna wager that the play-in this year is with short story collections (and not just because I proposed the idea...) - there are so many high-profile/interesting collections this year, it would make sense.

What's everybody else thinking?


Stacy | 105 comments Mod
Ed's list is very good. I do think that A Tale for the Time Being will be chosen. It's got great reviewer potential.

My only additions would be:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Me before You by Jojo Meyers

Looking to upcoming books:
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (Nov pub date)
Someone by Alice McDermott (Sept pub date)
Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Sept pub date)
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (August pub date)


Katie | 46 comments I might add "Vampires in the Lemon Grove" by Karen Russell. Agree on a lot of the others thrown out and have read most of them


message 6: by Marilyn (last edited Aug 09, 2013 09:18AM) (new)

Marilyn Barrett (marilynbarrett) | 3 comments My longlist of possibilities include:
The Golem And The Jinny by Helene Wecker
Life After Life bt Kate Atkinson
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
Night Film by Marish Pessl
Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
&Sons by David Gilbert
Maddadam by Margaret Atwood
Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
Tenth of December by George Saunders


Katie | 46 comments You Are One of Them by Elliot Holt is another book with a lot of buzz, perhaps a bit mainstream/popular but it would probably be on my long list. I read it and liked it but didn't totally get all the hype I had read about online.


Liz Schubert (LizSchubert) | 5 comments Has anyone seen these 'speed dating' book videos from Book Expo America? There are a couple of books on here that I wonder if they will make it to TOC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBO0oO...


Kelly (tootired2sleep) | 20 comments Some of the books that I feel could make the long list at least:

The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
Woke Up Lonely, Fiona Maazel
The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner
& Sons, David Gilbert
All That Is, James Salter
In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and Woods, Matt Bell (they usually have one semi-obscure book)

If any short stories get through, I feel like it'll be Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell or A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel, though I'm pulling for I Want To Show You More by Jamie Quatro.


Topher | 19 comments I'm guessing Tenth of December is a lock for a short story slot.


Kelly (tootired2sleep) | 20 comments I totally forgot about George Saunders! I haven't read it yet, but I can't wait. If any short stories get in, it'll be that one.


Jamie Bradway (jbradway) | 69 comments Mod
I have read very little that would qualify for the next TOB, but strongly recommend Tenth of December. I'm just past the halfway point of In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods and I already believe this will be a good addition to the competition. For everything that so far misses, a point for originality and lyrical quality is added. I haven't read anything like it.

Neil Gaiman's new novel is nothing special, really. I thought the Golem and the Jinni was missing something, too - didn't connect with it emotionally.

The only one I'm really looking forward to that others have mentioned is Transatlantic. I'll have to squeeze in a light read or two before getting started, though. Maybe Koch's The Dinner?


Tracie Carroll (Carroll6) | 1 comments Jamie...The Dinner is awesome!! I highly recommend it as a lighter read. I read it in a few days. Hard to put down though:) Enjoy!


Julie (julnol) | 14 comments Jamie, I loved Tenth of December - and excellent compilation of short stories.

I struggle to say anything positive about Transatlantic, which according to the cover is titled "Transatlantic - A Novel". A novel it wasn't! It was a collection of loosely linked short stories, none of which measured up to those in ToD. I also felt that All That Is was, in some ways, a collection of short stories - or at least stand-alone chapters.

So, if there was to be a short story collection on the list, for me it would have to be Tenth Of December.


Kim (kclaw) | 3 comments I wonder about Margaret Atwood's "MaddAdam", because it's the final instillment in a trilogy. Anyway, I think Ruth Ozeki's "Tale for the Time Being" should take the Canadian spot :)

I agree that Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life", George Saunders's "Tenth of December", Marisha Pessl's "Night Film," and Neil Gaiman's "Ocean at the End of the Lane" are likely to end up on the long list at least.

I also think JK Rowling's pseudonymously published The Cuckoos Calling will turn up.


Kelly (tootired2sleep) | 20 comments I'm halfway through Tampa by Alissa Nutting and am wondering if it'll make the list. It gets points for controversy and excellent writing. I'm not sure it'll make many "Best of 2013" lists because of the subject matter, but Nutting really is a very talented writer and it'd be interesting to see how it plays out in the TOB.


Jane Ciabattari | 1 comments I agree re: Rachel Kushner's The Flamethrowers, Adichie's Americanah, and the George Saunders. Bob Shacochis's The Women Who Lose Her Soul is powerful. I liked the Wolitzer...


Allison | 3 comments I'd like to throw in Ned Beauman's Teleportation Accident as a possible choice.


Gail (gailparis) | 3 comments A very different but wonderful short novella in rhythm (think "Twas the Night before Christmas) by David Rackoff: "Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel"


Diane | 6 comments Although George Saunders' Tenth of December is rightfully receiving such good reviews, I think that Aimee Bender's The Color Master is very strong as well. Karen Russell's Vampires in the Lemon Grove is quite good, too, though more uneven in quality than the other two collections I've mentioned here. I've read elsewhere that perhaps the short story collections might be offered as the pre-tournament playoff. What do you think? (I love seeing fine short stories get the recognition they so richly deserve.)


Topher | 19 comments FYI: National Book Award Long List announced today.
In addition to some we've mentioned already, there's a bunch of heavy hitters:

10th of December, George Saunders
Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon
Pacific, Tom Drury
End of the Point, Elizabeth Graver
The Flame Throwers, Rachel Kushner
The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra
The Good Lord Bird, James McBride
Someone, Alice McDermott
Fools, Joan Silber

I obviously wouldnt be surprised to see any of these in the tournament, and I'm very excited to check out Flame Throwers now.


Ohenrypacey | 24 comments I'm reading the new Pynchon now, so far so good.


message 23: by Ed (new)

Ed (EdZafe) | 74 comments Yeesh, I hope I do better job having read some ToB books in advance vs. this NBA long-list... 0 for 10, and only 4 (Saunders, Pynchon, Lahari and Marra) on my to-be-read list.

Trying to knock off some Booker noms right now, so will probably wait-and-see who makes the NBA shortlist/cut next month before diving in/ re-arranging my TBR list.

While I was agreeing with everyone about the possibility/probability of a short stories play-in round, seems like the Saunders is making the case for a direct entry.


Diane | 6 comments Good grief. I thought I was keeping up with my contemporary fiction until I saw the NBA long list. How can it be that I've only read one of these? Better get busy....


Kelly (tootired2sleep) | 20 comments The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton took the Booker, so there's a good chance we'll see it make at least the long list. Anybody read and liked it?


message 26: by Ed (new)

Ed (EdZafe) | 74 comments Time to get busy!

As Kelly mentioned, the 800+ page Luminaries won the Booker. Think it was just released in the US this past week. Has there been a ToB without the Booker winner?

And just this morning, the National Book Award shortlist was announced. Last year, 3 of 5 made it to ToB... not as many in previous years, but always the winner (it appears).

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
Tenth of December by George Saunders

Lahiri and Saunders seem to have momentum...


Kelly (tootired2sleep) | 20 comments I'm only halfway through The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and it's SO great. No one who loved The Secret History will be disappointed. Tartt is so great at character development, it just flies by.


Gail (gailparis) | 3 comments Totally agree. Am loving Goldfinch. Also loved Lowlands and Americanah this year.


Jason Perdue | 34 comments I haven't read many yet, but I think from the one or two I've read and the buzz about others I'd be surprised not to see:

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

I can't wait for the list. They released in Dec last year I think.


Jennifer D (DawsonOakes) | 158 comments i see it mentioned a few times here already, and i agree that The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner should be in the mix for the 2014 ToB. i really thought it a great novel, but it seems to be dividing readers, so that would absolutely make for interesting debates and discussion.


message 31: by Jason (last edited Nov 18, 2013 02:21PM) (new)

Jason Perdue | 34 comments Kirkus Reviews just released their top 100 fiction list for 2013. I don't believe they are actually ranked. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/issue/b...


message 32: by April (last edited Nov 20, 2013 11:26AM) (new)

April | 19 comments Hello, I'm new to this group, but I would like to jump in and endorse A Constellation of Vital Phenomena for the tournament. I also enjoyed The Lowland. The Luminaries is up next for me, so I can't endorse it yet, but I'm hearing great things about it.

Also, I see that the 2013 book list was announced on Dec. 20.


message 33: by Ed (new)

Ed (EdZafe) | 74 comments Do we have another pretty sure bet with James McBride's "The Good Lord Bird"?

It won the National Book Award for Fiction last night and the past 6 winners have all made it to ToB (Tree of Smoke, Shadow Country, Let The Great World Spin, Lord of Misrule, Salvage the Bones, The Round House).


Ellen H | 93 comments How about Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves?


Jennifer D (DawsonOakes) | 158 comments okay, so i read The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and was suitably impressed. my only past reading experiences of her have been her earlier novel Stern Men, and her journalism work. the whole EPL thing didn't appeal and i haven't read it (nor do i plan to). i was glad gilbert was going back to fiction with this new book.

i think it would make for a very interesting inclusion on the ToB roster. it's not contemporarily set, dark and edgy, but it touches on some big themes that could really be cracked wide open, under the right debater(s).


message 36: by C (new)

C | 9 comments Allison wrote: "I'd like to throw in Ned Beauman's Teleportation Accident as a possible choice."

I don't think this one can. I think the cutoff date is Nov 1.


Kelly (tootired2sleep) | 20 comments BookRiot recently posted their forecast, which includes many of those books already listed here.

http://bookriot.com/2013/11/22/2014-t...


message 38: by C (new)

C | 9 comments Kelly wrote: "BookRiot recently posted their forecast, which includes many of those books already listed here.

http://bookriot.com/2013/11/22/2014-t..."


Interesting! But Night Film & the Atkinson aren't there...


Jayme | 8 comments I just finished Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and it is the best book I read this year.


message 40: by Drew (last edited Nov 26, 2013 08:00AM) (new)

Drew (drewsof) Kelly wrote: "BookRiot recently posted their forecast, which includes many of those books already listed here.

http://bookriot.com/2013/11/22/2014-t..."


The BookRiot list feels so... predictable and safe and utterly uninteresting, even having read several of those books. Not to mention wrong - I'll wager either the Atkinson or the Pessl make the list over the Wolitzer and the Waldman, plus we're bound to have something small-press like The Facades and/or something "weird" like David Rakoff's Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish (to fill the Nox/Building Stories slot).

I'm also still betting on a short-story play-in round...


Drew (DrewLynn) | 31 comments Jayme wrote: "I just finished Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and it is the best book I read this year."

Yes, if it wasn't THE best book I read this year, it was in the top two.


Ohenrypacey | 24 comments sounds like we should have read it right after Alias Grace. thanks for the tip.


Lyndsey | 15 comments This seems to be an especially strong year for contenders. I'm always overwhelmed by my to-read list, but this year has really flooded that list. Does anyone else feel that way?


Ellen H | 93 comments I know I do. My list was already overflowing and looking at this bunch of suggestions has me grudgingly adding 8 or 9 more. A part of me wants to see the list and smugly say, "oh, I've already read that!" but that never happens; it's always stocked with bunches of books that are on my list but I haven't gotten to yet (Goldfinch. Burial Rites. Luminaries. Lowland. Americanah. And the Mountains Echoed. AAAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHHHH!).


Lyndsey | 15 comments Ellen wrote: "I know I do. My list was already overflowing and looking at this bunch of suggestions has me grudgingly adding 8 or 9 more. A part of me wants to see the list and smugly say, "oh, I've already re..."

I'm glad I'm not the only one. All those are on my list, too!


Jennifer D (DawsonOakes) | 158 comments Lyndsey wrote: "This seems to be an especially strong year for contenders. I'm always overwhelmed by my to-read list, but this year has really flooded that list. Does anyone else feel that way?"

i feel this way too, lyndsey! i keep going over the 2013 releases, trying to imagine which books are going to be included…and it's a real challenge. more so than i remember from past years, anyway. and i keep trying to imagine the ToB's strategies, which can be entertaining. :)


Lyndsey | 15 comments Ellen wrote: "I know I do. My list was already overflowing and looking at this bunch of suggestions has me grudgingly adding 8 or 9 more. A part of me wants to see the list and smugly say, "oh, I've already re..."

I'm glad I'm not the only one. All those are on my list, too!


Lyndsey | 15 comments Jennifer wrote: "Lyndsey wrote: "This seems to be an especially strong year for contenders. I'm always overwhelmed by my to-read list, but this year has really flooded that list. Does anyone else feel that way?"

i..."


Yes, I love the unpredictable strategy of the ToB, but that makes trying to read ahead for the long list VERY interesting. Ha!


Kim (kclaw) | 3 comments Yeah, I've read a ton of books this year I would be happy to see championed in the TOB. I don't know how long it's open, but I saw on tumblr yesterday that book nomination and reader judge applications are being accepted now: http://www.themorningnews.org/post/th...


Ellen H | 93 comments It makes me feel a little ridiculous, but around this time of year I find myself paranoically wondering if I'm "wasting" my reading, i.e. reading a book that's not going to end up in the Tournament. Right now I'm reading The Cuckoo's Calling, which unlike Kim above I don't think will show up, and I'm antsy to get on with it because of that! It's sort of like the nonsensical thinking that leads to "teaching to the test," isn't it?


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Books mentioned in this topic

Dissident Gardens (other topics)
Night Film (other topics)
Bleeding Edge (other topics)
NOS4A2 (other topics)
The Facades (other topics)
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Rachel Kushner (other topics)
Elizabeth Gilbert (other topics)
Dave Eggers (other topics)
Herman Koch (other topics)
Claire Messud (other topics)
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