Tournament of Books discussion

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message 2: by Amy (last edited Jul 15, 2016 04:11PM) (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Descriptions in Order of Tournament Head-to-Heads
Round One: The Girls vs. The Core of the Sun
The Girls : A teenage girl wrestling with puberty gets caught up with the wrong crowd, a group that reflects the real life "Manson" cult’s self-made family. The book is set in the same time period and uses many of the facts from the murders/case but the real story surrounds this young girl and how powerful the pull of curiosity within a young mind truly is.
The Core of the Sun : Think The Handmaid’s Tale + 1984, only funny. An introduction to the sub-genre “Finnish Weird.” Printed in paperback.

Round Two: The Portable Veblen vs. Sweetgirl
The Portable Veblen : This strange novel will have you in tears, from the absurdity of talking squirrels to the raw emotions behind marriage. Don't judge this book by the cover, the Author delves deep into reality but with humor sprinkled perfectly throughout. McKenzie covers marriage, love, nature, economy, philosophy, and so much more.
Sweetgirl : Life, death and irony among the rural poor of the upper Midwest. Think Winter’s Bone marries True Grit, and prepare to laugh and be touched.

Round Three: The Vegetarian vs. The Book of Harlan
The Vegetarian : Booker International Prize winning novella by South Korean writer Han Kang is a surreal three-part story about choice, abuse, obsession, and death. Quietly disturbing and never predictable, it has plenty to chew on for hungry alt-ToB readers.
The Book of Harlan : The great Bernice McFadden shows a side of WWII you may not have seen before…two African American jazz musicians, drawn to the excitement of Paris in the late 1930’s, end up in Buchenwald when Paris falls to the Nazis. Straight-ahead storytelling at its finest.

Round Four: The Guest Room vs. Beatlebone
The Guest Room : When a bachelor party goes awry, the men involved have to pick up the pieces, not only of their relationships and home life but dealing with the troubling emotions brought about by the event. This is a book that takes a hard look at sex trafficking and how close to home it can reach.
Beatlebone : A buddy/road trip story, only the buddies are 1978-era John Lennon and a local chauffeur/fixer who has to be one the great characters of 21st century Irish literature. Rocker-outlaw Steve Earle called this “next-level literature.” Worth checking out the audiobook if you like audio at all.

Round 5: The Sport of Kings vs. Not Dark Yet
The Sport of Kings : The tome of the tourney – this family saga in the Kentucky hills is sweeping in scope with issues relevant to current events. Henry Forge becomes a first time horse breeder/racer, teaming up with his daughter and a man fresh out of prison to attempt to overcome the areas’ bloody past and his own familial ghosts.
Not Dark Yet : The title implies a world sinking below the disaster horizon we are currently still arguing about; "Yet" being the inevitable future. A man struggles with nature and love in what Buzzfeed called a "fascinating, surreal, gorgeously written book, and like nothing you’ve ever read before." Printed in paperback.

Round 6: The Association of Small Bombs vs. Daredevils
The Association of Small Bombs : What makes a terrorist? How does a “small” act of terrorism change lives and destinies? This thoughtful, carefully written novel explores these questions in the context of 1999 Delhi.
Daredevils : In 1970’s Arizona and Idaho, 15-year old Loretta is given by her parents to the Harder family as a sister wife but yearns for freedom while 17-year old Jason chafes at his father, his religion and his cows while obsessing over Evel Knievel. Each has to discover what ‘freedom’ means and if they are daring enough to grasp it.

Round 7: What Is Not Yours, Is Not Yours vs. Bright Lines
What Is Not Yours, Is Not Yours : Helen Oyeyemi's mind-bending short stories range from fairy tale orphans and wolves to Being John Malkovich-esque puppet/human dreams to subversive feminist playbook, just to name a few. And how can you resist a book with a story called "If a Book Is Locked There's Probably a Good Reason for That, Don't You Think?"
Bright Lines : Taking place during a summer in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, Ella struggles to accept herself and come out to her adoptive Muslim family; her Uncle Anwar, aunt Hashi & attractive cousin Charu. Meanwhile everyone else in the house has their own awakenings. Available in paperback.

Round 8: LaRose vs. Laurus
LaRose : The death of a child both splits and forever binds two families in North Dakota. A beautiful novel about loss, justice and healing by a revered author at the height of her craft.
Laurus : A non-Western medieval epic following Laurus through the centuries as he wanders the world seeking redemption, faith and fidelity. This one is difficult to find outside of libraries but the paperback will be released Aug 9th.


message 3: by Avanders (new)

Avanders | 3 comments Yay great shortlist! I've not even heard of several of the books! Looking forward to reading/hearing comments/etc.!


message 4: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments very cool job with the shortlist!! now to figure out some reading plans. heh!!! :)

the link to the bracket and tourney doc doesn't seem to be working in either place it's been posted. (sorry!!)


message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan | 69 comments Yea for the shortlist! Thanks for the hard work compiling it.


message 6: by Mainon (new)

Mainon (bravenewbooks) | 91 comments Oh man, based on the great things I've heard about both LaRose and Laurus, the judge for round 8 is going to have their work cut out for them.


message 7: by Sherri (new)

Sherri (sherribark) | 358 comments Great list. I just need to get through The Fireman and Homegoing and then I can focus on these. I wasn't going to participate because of work schedule, but this is too good of a list to pass up.


message 8: by Drew (new)

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments Great shortlist! I am especially glad to see Association of Small Bombs on it. I just finished this book and it is terrific.


message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim Taone (dustyfloors) | 6 comments Great shortlist. I'm very excited to get cracking on this!


message 10: by AmberBug (new)

AmberBug com* | 444 comments I have to work my way through many of these myself but for many of them... i wanted to! :)


message 11: by Sduff222 (new)

Sduff222 | 8 comments Very excited to see Not Dark Yet make the cut! I bought it a couple months ago and it is still languishing on my coffee table unread.

Part of me really wishes Juliet Takes a Breath had made it, too, but I loved it so much I would hate to read negative critiques. One of those books where I just don't care what's wrong with it, I loved it anyway.


message 12: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 136 comments What a wonderful list! Thank you Amy!


message 13: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments fixed the links :)


message 14: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments Amy wrote: "fixed the links :)"

awesome -- thank you so much for all your work on this. and to everyone who helped with the lists! it's a big job!! :)

are the judges going to be revealed beforehand, or is that to be a surprise?


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments We're going to wait till their decisions are published before revealing the Judge's and their assignments so they feel free to rate and join in on the book threads. :)


message 16: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments But the commentary will be performed by Amberbug, Jason, Jan, myself, nomadreader, Nicola, Kristin-Leigh & Sarah!


message 17: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments sounds terrific! :)


message 18: by Darryl (new)

Darryl (audibleclicks) | 12 comments I'll echo so many other comments and congratulate the organizers on a job well done putting this list together. The Girls is the only book I'm remotely familiar with and that's the way I like it! Time to expand my reading experiences again. Woo hoo!


message 19: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 299 comments Great list! Thanks for all of the hard work and culling through the longlist. Looking forward to the wonderful informative discussions.


message 20: by JoLene (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 7 comments I hadn't heard of a lot of these, but they look interesting from the book descriptions. Excited to watch my first alt.ToB play out :-D


message 21: by Megan (new)

Megan (gentlyread) | 67 comments Excellent job--it looks like a great mix of books! I'm looking forward to diving into reading, and I can't wait for all the judgments and commentary from everyone.


message 22: by Drew (new)

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments I find it useful to list the books from longest to shortest to help organize my reading so here is the list:

560 The Sport of Kings by C. E. Morgan
430 The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie
400 The Book of Harlan by Bernice McFadden
372 LaRose by Louise Erdrich
355 The Girls by Emma Cline
352 Laurus by Evgenij Vodolazkin
336 The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
325 What is Not Yours, Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
320 Daredevils by Shawn Vestal
304 Bright Lines by Tanwi Dandini Islam
304 The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo
299 Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
288 The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan
256 Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
202 Not Dark Yet by Beret Ellingsen
192 The Vegetarian by Han Kang


message 23: by AmberBug (new)

AmberBug com* | 444 comments Thank you Drew! That is really helpful.


message 24: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 241 comments Drew, that's awesome. My reading order often depends on when my libraries let me at various titles, but since so much of what I read is digital I don't know what I'm getting into, page count-wise, when I start them.


message 25: by AmberBug (new)

AmberBug com* | 444 comments I've updated the bookshelf, so the group shows these books as "currently reading". I've moved the TOB16 books to "Read".

Happy reading everyone!


message 26: by JenniferD (new)

JenniferD (jooniperd) | 863 comments thanks, amber!!

quick question: are the threads for discussing each book wide open for the chatting, or would you like us to be careful with spoilers for a bit?


message 27: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1104 comments I'm curious about people's reading strategies for these. Are you trying to read them all? Short ones first? What comes up at the library? Anyone besides me using audio as well as print to be able to read more? And Drew, thanks for the page lengths!! I am super-eager to start on Sport of Kings, but want to get through some of the shorter ones first.


message 28: by Drew (new)

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments Usually I read the longest ones first but I'm saving Sport of Kings for a train trip I'm taking in August.


message 29: by Sherri (new)

Sherri (sherribark) | 358 comments I was going to base my reading on library availability, but most of these are available in hard copy. So I guess I'll just go with what I want to read most and work my way to the ones I'm least interested in if I have time.

I do wish more were available on Overdrive ebook or audio though. If I have to read all hardcopies, I'll probably never finish the list. It's a convenience thing.


message 30: by jess (new)

jess (skirtmuseum) | 146 comments This is a killer line-up! How exciting! I've already read the vegetarian and the girls, which is more than I can say for any of the recent years of TMN TOB. I base my reading on 1. library availability 2. audio book availablity 3. length.

I admit it. I prioritize shorter books because I can read more of them in the allotted time.


message 31: by Ehrrin (new)

Ehrrin | 114 comments Right now I'm trying to read them in sort of order where they fall in the bracket schedule, but also based on library availability. But most of them just came in at once at the library so I'm inundated! I'm currently abooking LaRose and reading Core of the Sun. Once I finish them I'll have 10 down, 6 to go!

This is such a great list! So far my top picks are The Girls, The Book of Harlan, The Association of Small Bombs, and Sweet girl.


message 32: by Ehrrin (new)

Ehrrin | 114 comments ps. Maybe The Vegetarian, too. It's so weird; I think about it a lot.


message 33: by Heather (new)

Heather (hlynhart) | 324 comments I'm currently reading The Portable Veblen, and so far I really like it. Recently finished Sweetgirl, which I really enjoyed as well. So far the only dud for me has been Beatlebone. I tried, but just could not get into it.


message 34: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 50 comments Thanks for putting the effort into the tournament. I forgot about it for awhile after the long list was posted, so when I remembered it was going on last night I hopped on goodreads and had a fun hour or two reading through comments & book descriptions and seeing what is available at the library. I now have several on hold and 2 were available through overdrive. I'm a little over halfway through my first book - Daredevils. I hope I can read a few more before the tournament officially starts.


I'm also reminded of the great books I read for last year's altToB that would have never made it onto my radar. Two that still stick out are Sweetland and Landfalls. Both are highly recommended.


message 35: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Hi gang! we're a little less than 2 weeks away from the start of the tournament and looking forward to the decisions and discussions! As an incentive, there will be prizes (surprise, it's books!) for those who manage the entire shortlist. That's a lot of pages but I'm convinced we can get a few diehards!


message 36: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Oops! Scratch that! We're less than 1 week away! Tourney starts 9/12!


message 37: by Drew (new)

Drew (drewlynn) | 425 comments Amy, what's the deadline for finishing all the books on the shortlist? I won't be done by the beginning of the tournament but hope to have read them all before the end.


message 38: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments yep -- end of the tourney is the target. but if we don't have any completionists by then, I'll make it mid-Oct!


message 39: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 136 comments Any predictions for the first round?

Any predictions for the winner?

Any favorites that you hope will win against all odds?


message 40: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1739 comments Tournament has begun... HERE

Additional judges, commentator & organizer bios HERE


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