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2016 Tournament of Books > 2016 Rooster Wants You!

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message 1: by JenniferD (last edited Dec 09, 2015 06:40AM) (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments This morning, The Morning News has begun to rollout the 2016 Tournament of Books!!


Today, they are looking for two things:

1. your favourite work of fiction published in 2015
2. applicants for the reader judge position

You can submit your replies here:
http://www.themorningnews.org/post/vo...

One vote and/or entry per person. Deadline for both is midnight Eastern, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Thanks!


*********

Let us know here which book you chose as your favourite, and if you are applying to be a reader judge.


message 2: by JenniferD (last edited Dec 09, 2015 10:45AM) (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments after much hemming and hawing, i voted for Sweetland as my favourite read of 2015. maybe there will be enough of us to put it more solidly on their radar?

i can't decide if i want to apply to be a reader judge. is anyone from his group going to go for it? i am totally curious about how many people applications they receive for this role!!


message 3: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 112 comments Jennifer wrote: "after much hemming and hawing, i voted for Sweetland as my favourite read of 2015. maybe there will be enough of us to put it more solidly on their radar?

i can't decide if i want ..."


Does the reader judge typically only judge in the final round? That's what happened in 2015.

Personally I think all the judges should be "reader judges." Bloggers and active readers are a different breed from writers, for the most part, and they will have a lot to say about these books that will be surprising and enlightening (the way I have been surprised and enlightened in this group).

There are more disclosures than I would like to see, in TOB judgments, of professional relationships between TOB judges and the authors of books being judged. I trust the fairness of these people, but mutual history and/or friendship can sometimes make the judgments very polite. It would be fun to have several more degrees of separation between authors and evaluators.


message 4: by Drew (new)

Drew (drewlynn) | 421 comments poingu wrote: "Bloggers and active readers are a different breed from writers, for the most part,"

And musicians!


message 5: by lark (last edited Dec 09, 2015 10:59AM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 112 comments Drew wrote: "poingu wrote: "Bloggers and active readers are a different breed from writers, for the most part,"

And musicians!"


yes, well, exactly. Stephin Merritt was one of the few last year without professional relationships or personal ties. Having relationships may not change the outcome of a given judgment but probably leads to more polite written comments. Although Merritt was dissed in the comments, and given the Dale Peck award by TOB commentators, his judgment was not really like Dale Peck's in 2006. Peck pooped on all serious books ever written and refused to make a judgment whereas Merritt told us why he hated the two books assigned to him, and picked the one he disliked least.


message 6: by AmberBug (new)

AmberBug com* | 444 comments poingu wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "after much hemming and hawing, i voted for Sweetland as my favourite read of 2015. maybe there will be enough of us to put it more solidly on their radar?

i can't ..."


But if they used all reader judges - who would make up the peanut gallery in Disqus? ;p


message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason Perdue | 622 comments This stint as an Alt-TOB judge has been plenty to quench that thirst for power. I will not be submitting my annual plea to be a reader judge.


message 8: by Drew (new)

Drew (drewlynn) | 421 comments Jason wrote: "This stint as an Alt-TOB judge has been plenty to quench that thirst for power. I will not be submitting my annual plea to be a reader judge."

I agree, Jason. I'm nervous enough about writing something for our group much less throwing it out for the big, wide world to read.


message 9: by Judy (new)

Judy (wisdomkeeper) | 80 comments I applied once to be any kind of judge there but didn't get the gig. I am glad! I think it would take up too much time. I already squander hours on reading the list every Jan and Feb. But I love the idea and wouldn't miss it for anything.


message 10: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 299 comments AmberBug wrote: "poingu wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "after much hemming and hawing, i voted for Sweetland as my favourite read of 2015. maybe there will be enough of us to put it more solidly on their r..."

I think a good blend of avid readers and authors would be great. But I think when you have one person judging the two books there will always be some degree of subjectivity that may make their choice of the winner subject to criticism/outrage by some and fist pumping in validation by others.

I think that is part of the fun of the TOB.


message 11: by Kaion (last edited Dec 09, 2015 08:00PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 27 comments Eh, I've seen some of the judges and their "judging" *cough* (Andrew W.K.).

I have full confidence that y'all are more than capable, ability-wise.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I voted for The Tusk That Did the Damage. This great story deserves more attention, and I was so pleased to see it on the longlist.


nomadreader (Carrie D-L) (nomadreader) | 68 comments I voted for The Shore by Sara Taylor, which was my favorite read of 2015. I was disappointed to see only one of my top three on the longlist (After Birth). I also adored Girl at War and was sad to not see it included. That being said, there are many great books on the longlist and many I haven't read.


message 14: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 112 comments Kaion wrote: "Eh, I've seen some of the judges and their "judging" *cough* (Andrew W.K.).

I have full confidence that y'all are more than capable, ability-wise."


Wow, I was curious and just read Andrew W.K.'s judgment of Wolf Hall v. Book of Night women and it's really terrible, in makes Stephen Merritt sound like Aristotle.

TOB can just be thought of as a silly exercise, because it is silly to think you can choose objectively between two very different, excellent books written with serious literary intent. But even so, making the effort turns it into something very amazing, where there is so much to learn, from our own reactions, and from other people who have made the same serious effort.


message 15: by JenniferD (last edited Dec 10, 2015 09:49AM) (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments nomadreader (Carrie D-L) wrote: "I voted for The Shore by Sara Taylor, which was my favorite read of 2015. I was disappointed to see only one of my top three on the longlist (After Birth). I also ad..."

that book hung around on my considerations for the alt-TOB right to the end.. and i hadn't even read the whole thing. i was quite impressed with it, and i love great debut novels. i hope to get back to it soon!!


message 16: by Judy (new)

Judy (wisdomkeeper) | 80 comments To me TOB seems a precariously balanced combination of silly and serious, that it was created as that combination since the beginning, that it teeters too far to one side or the other occasionally, but that above all else it is FUN FOR BOOK GEEKS!!


message 17: by lark (last edited Dec 10, 2015 10:01AM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 112 comments Judy wrote: "To me TOB seems a precariously balanced combination of silly and serious"

Yes, I like the balance, and I feel bad that publishers have started sending out press releases and trying to make this into something of a real contest where the winner is supposed to be better, the Best...when the futility of such a judgment is exactly the point.

But the reading and decision making of the judges needs to be serious, because it's in the act of serious reading that you get to the realization again and again of how arbitrary artistic judgments are between two outstanding books. Without the effort the lesson isn't there.

Also the books chosen need to be outstanding, written with serious literary intent. TOB does such a good job with that. Books that don't have something uniquely great about them (even if it's something a given reader doesn't like) are a waste of everyone's time and that's why I love how much thought TOB puts into picking these books every year.


message 18: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca H. | 99 comments I just applied to be a reader judge. Fingers crossed! :)


message 19: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments Rebecca wrote: "I just applied to be a reader judge. Fingers crossed! :)"

good luck, rebecca!!!!


message 20: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 299 comments Jennifer wrote: "nomadreader (Carrie D-L) wrote: "I voted for The Shore by Sara Taylor, which was my favorite read of 2015. I was disappointed to see only one of my top three on the longlist ([book:..."

I have a couple on my shelf and I am always teetering back and forth when to read.

I love book family saga stories and I love history and I have lived in the Chesapeake area and was also exploring its history.

So many books - not enough time!


message 21: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 299 comments Rebecca wrote: "I just applied to be a reader judge. Fingers crossed! :)"

Best of luck Rebecca!!!


message 22: by Heather (new)

Heather (hlynhart) | 308 comments I just applied to be a reader judge too. I have become drunk with power since being selected to be an Alt-TOB semifinal judge, so I figured this was the next logical step for me.


message 23: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments awesome, heather! good luck!!


message 24: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca H. | 99 comments Heather wrote: "I just applied to be a reader judge too. I have become drunk with power since being selected to be an Alt-TOB semifinal judge, so I figured this was the next logical step for me."

Good luck to all of us applying for the reader judge spot! Even though only one person can win it and we can't all get a spot, it would be awesome if someone from the Alt.TOB won, no matter who it is.


message 25: by JenniferD (last edited Dec 11, 2015 08:50AM) (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments there will be so much cheering and excitement if one of our group members is chosen as the reader judge!! that would be so awesome!!! :D


message 26: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1081 comments poingu wrote: "Kaion wrote: "Eh, I've seen some of the judges and their "judging" *cough* (Andrew W.K.).

I have full confidence that y'all are more than capable, ability-wise."

Wow, I was curious and just read ..."


Wasn't it just incredibly bad? That was my first year of the TOB. I loved Night Women so much, and was gutted by that arbitrary dismissal. Glad Marlon James got better treatment from the TOB judges this year, although he didn't win. Well, except for that little Booker Prize thing. :-)


message 27: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 299 comments Nominating my fav read for 2015 was so hard for me to choose this year.
I read a lot of books that I really enjoyed, read lots of authors for the first time.

But I did not have a runaway fav like I did last year - A Brief History of Seven Killings.

So for 2015 I submitted The Sellout.


message 28: by Ohenrypacey (new)

Ohenrypacey | 60 comments I was the reader judge a few years ago. It was stressful in a fun way. I knew right away that neither of the books i was given to read (first round) were going to win. I really liked one of them and hated the other, so it was an easy decision. It all happened in January, so, since I was also a judge for the finals, I knew way in advance of the final round which 2 books were finalists. That aspect took some of the fun out of following the tournament as it happened, but i was glad I participated.
It's a good peek into the inner working of the tourney itself, and the correspondence back and forth (mostly over editing) was always very friendly and positive.
The funniest thing was learning there is a hard and fast rule against using ANY sports analogy when writing the judgment, kind of a founding principle, even though it's always during march madness.
If you're on the fence, you should apply, just do it!

My fave book this year was the Sympathizer, but I limited my reading to authors representing minority or marginalized voices. It was a close call with the Sellout.


message 29: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1081 comments Ohenrypacey wrote: "My fave book this year was the Sympathizer, but I limited my reading to authors representing minority or marginalized voices. It was a close call with the Sellout...."

Not Delicious Foods? I loved all three of those books, but DF was the winner for me. Hmmm, now that I say that, I realize I listened to all three, and may have been influenced by the awesome way Hanaham performed his book, and especially the way he gave voice to Scotty.


message 30: by Ohenrypacey (new)

Ohenrypacey | 60 comments Jan .. thanks for the heads up on Delicious Foods, it was not, until a moment ago, on my tbr list.


message 31: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments just a reminder:

if you are thinking about applying to be a judge, the deadline is midnight tonight (EST).


message 32: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1081 comments Ohenrypacey wrote: "Jan .. thanks for the heads up on Delicious Foods, it was not, until a moment ago, on my tbr list."

Oh, I hope you like it. If you do audio books, at all, it's a treat -- the author reads it himself and is a performance artist as well a writer.


message 33: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1081 comments Ohenrypacey wrote: "My fave book this year was the Sympathizer, but I limited my reading to authors representing minority or marginalized voices. It was a close call with the Sellout...."..."

PS: Are you writing anything about your year in reading? I haven't limited myself to minority/marginalized voices but have definitely upped my quota and am interested in hearing from others who are doing the same or have titles to recommend.


message 34: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments Good luck to my fellow applicants to be the reader-judge. It would really free up my March if I wasn't participating as much in TOB then. :) As it is, I've been setting up my work schedule for next year & am just not going to push myself to accomplish much that month. Priorities!


message 35: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 299 comments Jan wrote: "Ohenrypacey wrote: "My fave book this year was the Sympathizer, but I limited my reading to authors representing minority or marginalized voices. It was a close call with the Sellout...."..."

PS: ..."


I saw this list this morning and it caught my eye because one of fav books for 2015 that I think deserves attention was mentioned - Jam on the Vine.

http://lithub.com/10-overlooked-novel...

A couple of other comments about the books on the list.

Balm: A Novel - I thought the author's first book wasmuch better - Wench

Ruby - this was actually released in 2014 and was one of my top reads for 2014. Not quite sure I agree with what the article gives as a blurb - but here is what I thought of the book:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit...

I like Kyung-sook Shin writing style.


message 36: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 112 comments Beverly wrote: "I saw this list this morning and it caught my eye because one of fav books for 2015 that I think deserves attention was mentioned - Jam on the Vine.

http://lithub.com/10-overlooked-novel..."


Thanks for the link. I like the way the author kept saying things like, "ok, this isn't a perfect book, but so what, because it's great in all these other ways!" It's so easy to get distracted with the flaws and there will always be flaws.

I keep coming back to this weird perception that doing this alt-TOB, which is at its heart an exercise in being judgmental, has really opened me up to being less judgmental. So what if a book isn't the best in all ways? etc.


message 37: by Kaion (last edited Dec 20, 2015 02:35PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 27 comments Ohenrypacey wrote: "I was the reader judge a few years ago. It was stressful in a fun way. I knew right away that neither of the books i was given to read (first round) were going to win. I really liked one of them an..."

The Sympathizer is one of the reads I keep mulling over from this year. It reads so well as counterhistory, I don't know if that's enough for how poorly it reads as fiction.

I hope it makes the final 16 if only I can read other people's thoughts on it.

Particularly, I find it interesting how reluctant readers seem to be in acknowledging that it is fundamentally about the Vietnamese-American/Asian-American experience.


message 38: by Ohenrypacey (new)

Ohenrypacey | 60 comments I think that even more broadly, it's a book about the duality of every identity.
Loyal soldier/enemy mole; lover/assassin; immigrant/refugee; commanding officer/liquor store owner; virgin schoolgirl/rock n'roll temptress, etc.
I thought it worked very well as fiction. It was an interesting narrative device to have every soldier described by rank, and possibly a modifier, while friends and lovers, Americans, and even rivals like Sonny were given names.
I thought it was an amazing twist *caution spoiler* that 3/4ths of the book denounced (quite correctly) the colonial ideology, the American dream (for non-whites), and expanded greatly on the difficulties of being displaced from one's homeland, only to have his return to Viet Nam (possibly as a hero) turn out to be nothing like an ideological paradise for a loyal revolutionary, but rather a nighhmare that breaks his mind and sends him into exile once again.
I thought Nguyen's writing was layered and nuanced, dramatic and full of wonderful turns of phrase, allusions, humor and intellect, without being navel-gazey and overcooked. I quite enjoyed it.


message 39: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 35 comments Has anyone voted for any of our Alt-TOB books to be the 16th book? I say this purely out of the self-interested hope that it will help me get all 16 books finished by March :)


message 40: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1081 comments Kaion wrote: "The Sympathizer is one of the reads I keep mulling over from this year. It reads so well as counterhistory, I don't know if that's enough for how poorly it reads as fiction.
..."


Kaion, you are such a thoughtful reader. My feelings/thoughts about The Sympathizer are much closer to Ohenrypacey's. If you have time/inclination, I'd love to hear more about what aspects didn't work for you. Thanks!!


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