Tournament of Books discussion

Lincoln in the Bardo
This topic is about Lincoln in the Bardo
note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
278 views
2018 TOB - The Tournament > Zombies and Final Showdown

Comments Showing 1-50 of 143 (143 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1 3

message 1: by Amy (last edited Mar 27, 2018 10:24AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments placeholder for those love-em or hate-em zombie rounds and the final decision

so far we're trending to Lincoln in the Bardo vs. Semi-Final Winner 1 & Sing, Unburied, Sing vs. Semi-Final Winner A
both big, buzzed-about books with well known and respected (and awarded) authors.

update 3/27: Exit West replaces Sing, Unburied, Sing (by only 2 votes!)
Zombie Round #1: Fever Dream vs. Exit West
Zombie Round #2: Pachinko vs. Lincoln in the Bardo
Final Round: Winner Z1 vs. Winner Z2


message 2: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Well my big regret is White Tears getting knocked out in the first round by The Idiot. I think White Tears would have prevailed over Fever Dream and Dear Cyborgs, and would have been a worthy alternative to Exit West in the semi-finals.

If TOB were ice skating or gymnastics then the "degree of difficulty" multiple for Fever Dream would be much below the multi-cultural and complicated braids of story in Exit West. I rated Fever Dream way above Exit West in my reviews of each (5 stars vs. 2 stars) but I will be dissatisfied if Fever Dream prevails because it doesn't try to do nearly as much. This may not make sense to anyone except me!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 642 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "Well my big regret is White Tears getting knocked out in the first round by The Idiot. I think White Tears would have prevailed over Fever Dream and Dear Cyborgs, and would have been a worthy alter..."

This is also my biggest sense of loss. Sing Unburied Sing and Lincoln in the Bardo hold acclaim from other top awards but I do believe White Tears is just as if not more deserving. Bummer.


Janet (justjanet) | 647 comments I'm still smarting over White Tears....if it had gotten any other judge....


Ruthiella | 366 comments I am super sad that White Tears did not prevail either. For me personally (though I loved the Idiot very much) it was the best book of the entire Tournament. It completely took me by surprise. I think I read the last third of the book with my mouth agape thinking "WHAT?".


Jason Perdue | 629 comments Woah. Did I stumble into the wrong topic?


message 7: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments It's interesting that I haven't read SUS or LitB and yet I'm still disappointed that LitB is in and SUS is out.

My jaw is still on the floor that Exit West zombied. I did not expect that. Add it to the long list of things I did not expect from the ToB.

This was the most I've read ahead of the tournament, and I'm not sure I would have read many of these otherwise. Grateful to have been introduced to Fever Dream, The Animators, and White Tears in particular.


message 8: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Bretnie wrote: "My jaw is still on the floor that Exit West zombied. I did not expect that. Add it ..."

Exit West was released a year ago to great anticipation due to Hamid's reputation (and lots of publishing buzz), it started showing up in award lists well before the end of the year and was included in Obama's Top 10 list. Entertainment Weekly named it their #1 book of the year (Lincoln was #2) ... so I'm not really surprised it zombied. I did anticipate Sing, Unburied, Sing to beat LitB though for votes.


message 9: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments though Sing, Unburied, Sing was published much later than LitB or EW so it had a handicap.


message 10: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Jason wrote: "Woah. Did I stumble into the wrong topic?"

Charlie Shaw has come back to haunt the zombie round


message 11: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments Yeah, I'm heartbroken about SUS and White Tears dropping out. Especially sad about SUS because I'm ready to start listening to the audiobook TOMORROW after holding off all this time so I could be in sync with my IRL book group. Now, the listening experience will be doubly sad.


message 12: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "I will be dissatisfied if Fever Dream prevails because it doesn't try to do nearly as much. This may not make sense to anyone except me!..."

Makes a lot of sense, Lark.


Daniel Sevitt | 91 comments Nuther White Tears fan here. It was my favorite to take the whole thing. It surprised, delighted and challenged me as much as any other book I read in the past year (see also My Absolute Darling and The Golden House).

I have also big love for LitB and SUS, but if I had to pick a second choice it might have been The Animators which won this year’s Fates and Furies award for being a different kind of reading experience by the end than how it started.


Ruthiella | 366 comments Lark Benobi wrote: "Jason wrote: "Woah. Did I stumble into the wrong topic?"

Charlie Shaw has come back to haunt the zombie round"


Clearly some of us are not ready to let go. : )


Jason Perdue | 629 comments Lot of (white) tears being shed. I loved the book, but didn't it go out like 2 weeks ago? And to The Idiot, an arguably better, or, at least, equal and worthy, book?


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

Lark Benobi wrote: "Well my big regret is White Tears getting knocked out in the first round by The Idiot. I think White Tears would have prevailed over Fever Dream and Dear Cyborgs, and would have been a worthy alter..."

Finally, a ToB/sports comparison that I understand.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 600 comments Daniel wrote: "Nuther White Tears fan here. It was my favorite to take the whole thing. It surprised, delighted and challenged me as much as any other book I read in the past year (see also My Absolute Darling an..."

I had White Tears as the ToB winner, and picked it as my zombie just in case, so my ToB prediction record remains unchanged over all these years......


Trudie (trudieb) | 27 comments Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "Lark Benobi wrote: "Well my big regret is White Tears getting knocked out in the first round by The Idiot. I think White Tears would have prevailed over Fever Dream and Dear Cyborgs, and would have..."

I am absolutely with you here, different judge, different weather conditions I am sure it would have been in the final four. The triumvirate of SUS, LITB and White Tears has really been one of the highlights of my past 12 months of reading and I was looking forward to more analysis of them out of this years tournament.


message 19: by Jesi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jesi (jesinishibun) | 21 comments Trudie wrote: "I was looking forward to more analysis of them out of this years tournament. "

Exactly! I don't really mind my brackets being busted, but I was hoping to talk about White Tears a lot more than we have.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

My anticipation is building for today's match. On my decimated original brackets, I predicted that EW would be knocked out by SUS in the semi-finals and would rise as a zombie to face, and be defeated by, LitB today. I would have been satisfied with that.
But my beloved Exit West cannot be edged out by Fever Dream. Come on, Judge Lapidos, I'm counting on you!


message 21: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Arnold | 887 comments I've been thinking EW would prevail, but really this matchup is SO judge-dependent. I couldn't imagine anybody not loving EW, but apparently there are legions who don't.

I haven't been able to bring myself to read FD, but I feel like it has this weird, creepy, hypnotic pull on the judges. Maybe it actually is pure evil.


message 22: by Ace (new) - added it

Ace (aceonroam) OMG this is ridiculous I'm so over fever dream. Seriously.


message 24: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments This seems to be the perfect time to invoke that classic California response in times like these:

yeah, no.


message 25: by Lola (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lola | 118 comments Ace wrote: "OMG this is ridiculous I'm so over fever dream. Seriously."

I'm with you, Ace. I loved them both but I loved EW more and really wanted it to take home that bloody bird.


message 26: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan (gentlyread) | 67 comments "A tight and form-fitting domesticated animal" made me laugh out loud.

Is Fever Dream now the most winningest book in ToB history, counting the summer tournament (or did we pass that milestone a round ago?)? And is this our first finalist in translation?


message 27: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments At what point does the underdog become hated because it's too popular? I'm starting to feel guilty for continuing to root for Fever Dream!


message 28: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Bretnie wrote: "At what point does the underdog become hated because it's too popular? I'm starting to feel guilty for continuing to root for Fever Dream!"

Bretnie of the books that are left I'm totally rooting for Fever Dream! It remains the underdog in every respect compared with the other two books still in contention.


Jason Perdue | 629 comments We've been talking about, or hearing people struggle to describe Fever Dream, for over 10 months and not a single, full-throated expression of love for it from anyone.

Off the top of my head, The Vegetarian was translated. Another creepy book that was a struggle to define and hard to recommend.


message 30: by Katherine (new)

Katherine (katsikes) Ugh. That is all. Just ugh.


Janet (justjanet) | 647 comments I can't wait to hear all the wailing when LITB wins it.


message 32: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Jason I really did love Fever Dream--I think it was my first read of 2017 and, looking back, it was great to read it before anyone else told me what to think. My review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

My only regret to see it in the finals is that it is not really a novel, imo. But I'm letting go of that pedantic definition now that it's by far my favorite book still standing. Also I've read the even sparer Die, My Love by another Argentinian, Ariana Harwicz (blurbed by Schweblin) and it felt like a "novel" to me for sure and I hope it makes next year's tournament!


Jason Perdue | 629 comments Janet wrote: "I can't wait to hear all the wailing when LITB wins it."

I'll be dancing on Fever Dream's grave if it happens.


message 34: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments I loved Fever Dream also. Here I am feeling guilty for loving a book that people hate while other people are finding joy in the prospect of other people's sorrow.

Maybe the post-ToB peace next week will be a good break for me.


Janet (justjanet) | 647 comments Jason wrote: "Janet wrote: "I can't wait to hear all the wailing when LITB wins it."

I'll be dancing on Fever Dream's grave if it happens."


What would the TOB be without "trash talk"?


message 36: by Jason (last edited Mar 28, 2018 09:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jason Perdue | 629 comments I'm happy to hear some people proclaim their love for it. I've actually been too timid to admit my love for LitB because of all the hate and "white male author" comments. But for me, this is Saunders redemption tour for the 10th of Dec snub.

I agree Bretnie, this ToB has been stressful. I'm reading a non-current or possible future ToB book during the tourney for the first time ever.


message 37: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Megan wrote: "and is this our first finalist in translation?"

believe so, though The Vegetarian made it all the way to Zombie round last year.


message 38: by Lola (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lola | 118 comments Jason wrote: "We've been talking about, or hearing people struggle to describe Fever Dream, for over 10 months and not a single, full-throated expression of love for it from anyone.

Off the top of my head, The..."


See above; I loved it. I just loved EW more.


Karin (8littlepaws) | 97 comments I had to pop in here (usually I'm a lurker) to ask what the deal with FD is. I liked it but didn't love it. I thought it was too obscure. I'm also not a parent (not yet, maybe someday?) and the rescue distance didn't resonate with me whatsoever--if anything it resonates in a bad way with me, in that "helicopter parent" way. Is this just a book that you won't get unless you're a parent?


message 40: by Jesi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jesi (jesinishibun) | 21 comments Karin wrote: "Is this just a book that you won't get unless you're a parent? "

I wouldn't say that. I was affected by the book, but not necessarily by the "rescue distance" aspect (also not a parent). What propelled me forward was the sense of dread brought on by the knowledge that something catastrophic and far-reaching has happened, and the urgency of Amanda trying to figure out "the important thing."


message 41: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments Janet wrote: "Jason wrote: "Janet wrote: "I can't wait to hear all the wailing when LITB wins it."

I'll be dancing on Fever Dream's grave if it happens."

What would the TOB be without "trash talk"?"


Haha, love you guys.

PS: Team LitB or Pachinkoo at this point, although I love the idea of FD taking the Rooster too. Of course, it really should have been SUS.


Karin (8littlepaws) | 97 comments Jesi wrote: "Karin wrote: "Is this just a book that you won't get unless you're a parent? "

I wouldn't say that. I was affected by the book, but not necessarily by the "rescue distance" aspect (also not a pare..."


Yeah I found that rather interesting myself, but it didn't have all that strong a hold over me when I compare it to other favorite books. I gave it a 3/5.


message 43: by Ruthiella (last edited Mar 28, 2018 11:14AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ruthiella | 366 comments Karin wrote: "I had to pop in here (usually I'm a lurker) to ask what the deal with FD is. I liked it but didn't love it. I thought it was too obscure. I'm also not a parent (not yet, maybe someday?) and the res..."

Fever Dream didn't wow me either. Of the summer TOB books, I LOVED Ill Will and very much liked A Separation. The rest I was "meh" about.

What I like about the TOB and the discussions surrounding it is hearing from the cheerleaders about why the book worked for them. Like Idaho. I love how all these readers are reading into to the gaps of the story. Fascinating, even though I really disliked the fact that those gaps were there.


message 44: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Team Fever Dream!

to (try to) answer the helicopter parent thing... I think this is just a very visceral representation of sensing danger while feeling helpless to actually do something about it - whether the danger is real or imagined.

I think most people have felt anxiety or suspicion on behalf of actors when seeing them near water, at least if they've seen Jaws or any of the many inspired 'don't go near the water!' This is regardless of actually caring for the characters or knowing anything about them.
Meanwhile, we're socialized or naturally inclined to care for the smallest/helpless among us so FD taps into that anxiety for ones we're supposed to worry about. that the danger is undefined also causes us to question the validity of our response...
When I was in France and childless, I was shocked to see parents with seeming disregard for their children's safety; wide distances between them on the crowded metro, running blocks ahead on a busy street, and in one case, a father who parked his stroller outside a cafe and went inside to order (I was poised to leap through the open window in case a baby-snatcher appeared!). These challenged my idea about what the daily risk to kidnappings, loss and injury really are to children.

Most people have something that causes them to question their own actions & reactions to things, but I think ALL parents regularly agonize over whether they are crazy-making.


message 45: by jo (new)

jo | 429 comments Janet wrote: "I can't wait to hear all the wailing when LITB wins it."

Me, I’ll cancel my $$ support for Morning Mews. Just kidding. But I’ll be sooooooo annoyed.

I haven’t read a single one of the remaining books. I may consider reading Fever Dream just cus it’s short. Angreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


message 46: by Jan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments Amy wrote: "Team Fever Dream!

to (try to) answer the helicopter parent thing... I think this is just a very visceral representation of sensing danger while feeling helpless to actually do something about it -..."


Amy...so you are brilliant and insightful as well as hard-working and efficient? Damn!! And also, thank you!!!


message 47: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments I haven't read Lincoln in the Bardo or even the book jacket blurbs because last year I read Radiant Terminus and it had enough bardo-talk in it to use up all my interest in bardos.

So now I'm thinking why the heck wasn't Radiant Terminus in the TOB? It's endless, the number of books that deserve to win any annual best-of prize....which is lucky for us readers.


message 48: by Bryn (Plus Others) (last edited Mar 28, 2018 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryn (Plus Others) (brynplusplus) | 97 comments Jason wrote: "We've been talking about, or hearing people struggle to describe Fever Dream, for over 10 months and not a single, full-throated expression of love for it from anyone. "

I have seen quite a few people express love for it -- but here you go: It was amazing, incredible, one of the best books I have read in a long time, I will never forget it, I loved it even though I had to spend the entire time I was reading it checking to make sure my children were still breathing. It made me think about many things in a new way -- rural/urban divides, folk religions, how people invent explanations to give them a sense of control over tragedy, the abnegation of agency by people even when that agency is in their self-interest, the way that women in particular are both held responsibility for the safety of children and simultaneously taught to dismiss their fears as meaningless or denigrated for having them...


message 49: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Arnold | 887 comments Damn, Bryn, you're the first person who's actually made me curious about that thing.


message 50: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments I'm not a parent (and have no plans to be), and it was still my favorite of the tournament (although a matchup against White Tears or The Animators would have had me conflicted).

I think of one of things that gripped me, which has increased through the tournament based on some of the commentary, is this idea that there are things you can't protect your kids from (or yourself!) - that there are a lot of dangers out of your control. Feels especially relevant with the gun debate lately. People in power have influence over the risks in our lives. That's scary.

It's also just a wild read, and the style either works for you or it doesn't, regardless of whether you have kids.

Sorry if you guys are sick of me talking about my love for Fever Dream! I feel compelled to respond any time someone asks why people love it so much! :)


« previous 1 3
back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.