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2018 TOB - The Tournament > Semi-final Rounds

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message 1: by Amy (last edited Mar 23, 2018 08:58AM) (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Semi-final Round Discussions:
Round 1: Fever Dream vs. Dear Cyborgs
Round 2: Pachinko vs. Exit West


message 2: by Bob (new)

Bob Lopez | 391 comments Fever Dream has a good chance...can you imagine a double winner?! Really solidifies the reputation of the Summer TOB, too, I think.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Bob wrote: "Fever Dream has a good chance...can you imagine a double winner?! Really solidifies the reputation of the Summer TOB, too, I think."

oh that's a good point! although, I think we proved the staying power of a small, creepy book w/Han Kang's The Vegetarian surviving to the finals of the alt-TOB 2016 & then zombie-ing on "real" TOB 2017.


message 4: by Daniel (last edited Mar 25, 2018 12:53AM) (new)

Daniel Sevitt | 91 comments I've actually read all four of these books and I don't want any of them to win. I've looked through the list of Rooster winners over the years and other than The Sellout which I felt was just trying too hard, I think it's an excellent list of books I could recommend to anyone.

I would probably recommend Exit West, but it was still a bloodless disappointment for me. The others were unsatisfying reads.

I predict the return of LitB and that it will take the Tournament, once more people are allowed to vote on the outcome.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 642 comments Daniel wrote: "I've actually read all four of these books and I don't want any of them to win. I've looked through the list of Rooster winners over the years and other than The Sellout which I felt was just tryin..."
I’m in the same boat, hoping for one of the zombies to take it.


message 6: by Brenda (new)

Brenda Baker | 34 comments Yes ! An all zombie final!


message 7: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments OK, like much of America has had to do....remaking my brackets from here on out, here’s what I hope will happen.

Semi:
Fever Dream knocks out Dear Cyborgs
Exit West knocks out Pachinko.

Zombie:
Dear Cyborgs and Pachinko go away.
LitB and SUS are the final zombies.

SUS beats Fever Dream
Exit West beats out LitB

Final:
In my perfect final, where Exit West narrowly knocks out Sing Unburied Sing, but since those were my two favorite books of 2017, I would be happy no matter what. It would make me sad for LitB to knock out Exit West or to win: between taking the Booker and white man vs. PoC, I think Hamid deserves The Rooster. (Plus I disliked LitB and loved Exit West — if you want magical realism, I think the doors worked better than the bardo, and I think Exit West has much more to say about our current times.)


message 8: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Peebee, from this and your TOB commentary, and looking at your ratings of the books we have in common, I feel like you're almost my book-twin, lol. But I think I'd rather SUS win out over EW...I loved them both, they were my two favorites, but SUS is the only book in the tourney that broke my heart. I think they're equally deserving, though.

(OT, but I see Nutshell on your TBR shelf, and can wholeheartedly recommend it. I read it a month or two ago and it was such a fun, different, interesting read. McEwan can be kind of hit and miss with me, he has some I've loved but some I couldn't get through, and this was one I looked forward to getting back to every day.)


message 9: by Peebee (new)

Peebee | 68 comments Yes, I think you’re right, Elizabeth....and might feel the same way if SUS hadn’t won the National Book Award, and Exit West hadn’t lost to LitB in the Booker. All the books I love should have at least one literary award, right? And The Rooster is a lot cooler than some of the stuffy highbrow awards....

OK, I will circle back to get Nutshell. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for McEwan, and then when I read his books, I kick myself for waiting....Autumn just came in (which I’ve put off a few times, but want to read eventually) — sounds like you liked it too.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 600 comments Peebee wrote: "OK, I will circle back to get Nutshell. Sometimes I’m not in the mood for McEwan, and then when I read his books, I kick myself for waiting....Autumn just came in (which I’ve put off a few times, but want to read eventually) — sounds like you liked it too. "

I'm not a particular fan of McEwan either, but I really really enjoyed reading Nutshell.


message 11: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 25, 2018 06:07PM) (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Peebee wrote: "The Rooster is a lot cooler than some of the stuffy highbrow awards...."

Oh it is, it is! I mean after all, they don't make Man Booker notebooks, tee-shirts, totes and mugs, amirite?

Ali Smith is such an amazing writer...Autumn isn't an easy read (there's still symbolism I'm not sure I fully understood), but her sentences are beautiful, I loved the relationship between Elisabeth and Daniel, and it was fascinating to see how Smith constructed the story. (Interesting to learn more about Brexit too.)


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Peebee, Your predictions are my hopes. I would be so happy to get an EW v. SUS final. I bracketed that match to happen in the semi-finals, with SUS as the victor, and EW coming back as a zombie. I bracketed LITB v. SUS as the final—not my preference, but it seemed so obvious at the outset. I still think they are the likely finalists, but I've been wrong 8/11 times in this ToB. Come on, EW!


message 14: by Adam (new)

Adam (adamstephenhall) Thank God.


message 15: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments I didn't hate Dear Cyborgs, and reading the judgment today made me question how it got this far.

Oh yeah, crazy brackets!

The Fever spreads...


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 642 comments Once the poison gets into the water, it can't be undone. ;)


message 17: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments I'm someone who has deep deep love for Fever Dream but I'm still baffled about how it won the summer TOB and has lasted this long in the official tournament. It's a short story. A perfect short story, but still.


message 18: by Bob (new)

Bob Lopez | 391 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "I'm someone who has deep deep love for Fever Dream but I'm still baffled about how it won the summer TOB and has lasted this long in the official tournament. It's a short story. A perfect short sto..."

Every victory is a blessing.


message 19: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Oh! Can you imagine a short-story TOB!? Every line analyzed!? That would be SO great!


Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 97 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "I'm someone who has deep deep love for Fever Dream but I'm still baffled about how it won the summer TOB and has lasted this long in the official tournament. It's a short story. A perfect short sto..."

What makes it a short story rather than a novel? I loved Fever Dream, and I am a terrible reader for short fiction, so I am curious to hear more about the distinction you're making.


message 21: by Ehrrin (new)

Ehrrin | 114 comments Bryn (Plus Others) wrote: "Lark Benobi wrote: "I'm someone who has deep deep love for Fever Dream but I'm still baffled about how it won the summer TOB and has lasted this long in the official tournament. It's a short story...."

I have another question about categorization with the short list books. How is Lincoln in the Bardo not a play? I mean, it's missing the stage direction, but otherwise? It feels much more of a play than a novel to me.


message 22: by jo (new)

jo | 429 comments Wanna go on record saying that there couldn’t be a better person than Ashley ford to decide between Exit West and Pachinko. Of course, cuz she’s awesome, she’ll pick EW.


message 23: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Amy wrote: "Oh! Can you imagine a short-story TOB!? Every line analyzed!? That would be SO great!"

Oh, I would LOVE this! It would be so great to be introduced to brilliant new short stories/short story authors. (Plus, reading 16 stories would be a heck of a lot easier than reading 16 books.) I feel like in general, short stories are so under-appreciated, when really they can be just as powerful as novels, and it's amazing to see what an author can do when every word is important...

Somebody should buzz this into the ears of the TOB gods. :)


message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Sorry Jo!


message 26: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments I can't believe this judgment is making me so emotional, lol. I tease my husband over the way he reacts to defeats in sports, but NOW I UNDERSTAND!!!!


message 27: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Well not much to be sad about here--it's a literal win-win situation. Unless you really wanted Sing Unburied Sing to win everything, but it already has won elsewhere, so this feels very fitting all in all.

This judgment finally got me to appreciate Pachinko, too, which I had harsh feelings about when I read it.


message 28: by lark (last edited Mar 27, 2018 08:20AM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Bryn (Plus Others) wrote: "What makes it a short story rather than a novel? I loved Fever Dream, and I am a terrible reader for short fiction, so I am curious to hear more about the distinction you're making. ...."

I'm thinking that Fever Dream's brevity makes it a very linear experience and it's almost unfair to compare its success in telling that one story to the challenges other authors faced with telling their 'baggy monsters' as I think Henry James called novels.

But I don't really like modern short stories much either--I stopped reading them religiously anyway sometime after the Carver peak. Here is the kind of story I mean--John Cheever's "The 5:48"--

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/19...


message 29: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "Well not much to be sad about here--it's a literal win-win situation. Unless you really wanted Sing Unburied Sing to win everything, but it already has won elsewhere, so this feels very fitting all..."

I think I may subconsciously be picturing Jojo thrown into a gutter. I can't think of any other reason I might care so much.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Elizabeth wrote: "I think I may subconsciously be picturing Jojo thrown into a gutter..."

Your subconscious is brutal! Don't worry about Jojo. That kid is a survivor.


message 31: by Megan (new)

Megan (gentlyread) | 67 comments I've enjoyed reading the judgments so much this year, and Judge Ford's was, unsurprisingly, no exception. I loved these two lines about Exit West: "With each door, each new opportunity, and each dream for a life with the potential for a little less suffering, both Saeed and Nadia refine their definitions of Home. And of course, as redefining something so fundamental tends to do, it also forces a redefinition of their relationship to one another." That was one of my favorite things about EW, and Judge Ford's elucidation made me realize just how much I liked that part. Nadia's and Saeed's relationship was always in motion, and their uncoupling (I mean, I think I hate that word, but it works here) was treated with sincere tenderness and seriousness, because people are and, simultaneously, aren't some aspect of Home, and that's mixed-up and complicated.


message 32: by jo (new)

jo | 429 comments Holy smokes wut.


message 33: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Tina wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "I think I may subconsciously be picturing Jojo thrown into a gutter..."

Your subconscious is brutal! Don't worry about Jojo. That kid is a survivor."


But is he? IS HE? I've pictured it going both ways. I really feel like I need a sequel.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Megan wrote: "...Nadia's and Saeed's relationship was always in motion, and their uncoupling (I mean, I think I hate that word, but it works here) was treated with sincere tenderness and seriousness, because people are and, simultaneously, aren't some aspect of Home, and that's mixed-up and complicated."

Yes, that's why their relationship felt so authentic to me. Their unwinding from each other was an inevitable part of letting go of Home.


message 35: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Tomorrow we finish out the tourney over in the Zombie & Final Round: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 36: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Tina wrote: "Yes, that's why their relationship felt so authentic to me. Their unwinding from each other was an inevitable part of letting go of Home...."

Yes. absolutely.


message 37: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 366 comments Elizabeth wrote: "But is he? IS HE? I've pictured it going both ways. I really feel like I need a sequel.."

I think the end of SUS is open so the reader can decide either way, but in my version, both Jojo and Kayla are 100% OK. There was something about the way the book ended that gave me that impression; a hopeful one.


message 38: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 27, 2018 01:16PM) (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Ruthiella wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "But is he? IS HE? I've pictured it going both ways. I really feel like I need a sequel.."

I think the end of SUS is open so the reader can decide either way, but in my version, b..."


I'm glad you think so...I was leaning toward Kayla being okay (because she has and will always have Jojo), but Jojo eventually falling after Pop's death into the cycle of desperation and anger passed down through the generations. (It was the scene with the police officers that got to me most, I think, seeing how he was beginning to understand the world, and changing because of it.)


message 39: by Ruthiella (new)

Ruthiella | 366 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I'm glad you think so...I was leaning toward Kayla being okay (because she has and will always have Jojo), but Jojo eventually falling after Pop's death into the cycle of desperation and anger passed down through the generations. (It was the scene with the police officers that got to me most, I think, seeing how he was beginning to understand the world, and changing because of it.)"

Agree that Jojo has to face a lot of hard truths that many 12 year olds are unaware of. But I think it is important to realize while Kayla has Jojo, Jojo has Kayla. His sense of responsibility for her (in my version of how the story continues) will keep him on track and focused.


message 40: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 27, 2018 04:59PM) (new)

Ruthiella wrote: "I think it is important to realize while Kayla has Jojo, Jojo has Kayla. His sense of responsibility for her (in my version of how the story continues) will keep him on track and focused."

That's how it goes in my version too. Equally important to Jojo's sense of responsibility is Kayla's adoration of him. Unconditional love can sustain a person through difficult times. As long as Jojo and Kayla have each other—and I choose to believe they will continue to have each other—they will both be okay.


message 41: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments This is a good way to judge how powerful a book is, when weeks/months after you've finished it you're still trying to figure out, and stressing over, how the characters are doing. :)


message 42: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "Bryn (Plus Others) wrote: "What makes it a short story rather than a novel?"

I've been thinking about the Exit West vs Fever Dream matchup - both relatively short books. Exit West I liked, but didn't love, and wished that he spent more time with the characters and story - basically wished it was longer and a little more developed.

Fever Dream I loved, maybe because of its short length. I think it was such an intense read with such a frantic pace that if it were longer it would have been too much or wouldn't have been as effective for me.

Dear Cyborgs and The End of Eddy were both about the same length as Fever Dream, which is interesting since they all had such a different feel.


message 43: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments The Mookse and the Gripes GR group has a short story TOB going on right now. Great group and great stories.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 642 comments Amy wrote: "Oh! Can you imagine a short-story TOB!? Every line analyzed!? That would be SO great!"

Only if they include "Cat Person," one of the most heavily debated (and thus heavily known/publicized) short stories of all time.


message 45: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 888 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "The Mookse and the Gripes GR group has a short story TOB going on right now. Great group and great stories."

What an interesting group! Thanks for mentioning it. Trying to find online copies of some of the short stories mentioned...


message 46: by Ruthiella (last edited Mar 28, 2018 10:28PM) (new)

Ruthiella | 366 comments They could also do a graphic novel TOB. That might be interesting. This is a format I shy away from. I never know what to look at first: pictures or words? And this disconcerts me I think.


message 47: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Oh I could come up with a graphic novel longlist NOW!


message 48: by jo (new)

jo | 429 comments Where do we discuss the final?


message 49: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 30, 2018 07:43AM) (new)

jo wrote: "Where do we discuss the final?"

The "Zombies and the Final Showdown" thread

That would be a good name for a rock band.


message 50: by jo (new)

jo | 429 comments Thank you tina!


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