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2019 TOB - the Tourney > Quarterfinal Rounds

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message 2: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 330 comments whaaaaat


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments Well, damn.


message 4: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments I seriously wasn't even going to check this morning, this is the biggest upset I can remember.


message 5: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Sund | 27 comments I need moments like this so that when someone is mad about sports, I can think to myself, "Ah, this is like that time Milkman got knocked out of the competition for no reason." Thanks TOB, for helping me empathize with sports people, something I once thought impossible.


message 6: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 330 comments I just finished Warlight last night and it's a lovely book, but Milkman was piercing. This is depressing - my two favorites eliminated one after the other.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Here's the link to Warlight v. Milkman. https://themorningnews.org/tob/2019/w...-

This is going to be a fun day in the commentariat!


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 19, 2019 07:16AM) (new)

It seems the judge is not a fan of experimental fiction. I'm with her on that, though I didn't read Milkman. The page-long paragraphs, stream of consciousness—not for me, thanks!

However, I am sorry for all you Milkman fans, of which there are many. I'm guessing you feel much like I did when Exit West was dismissed so cruelly last year.


message 9: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments Tina wrote: "Here's the link to Warlight v. Milkman. https://themorningnews.org/tob/2019/w...-

This is going to be a fun day in the commentariat!"


Milkman was the most divisive book this year, people either adored it or despised it, and neither side understood the other. So I knew with the wrong judge anything could happen (but...I didn't really believe it would.) I like Abigail Nussbaum's comment. She's basically saying the judge is an idiot, ha.


message 10: by Kip (new)

Kip Kyburz (kybrz) | 238 comments So devastated it's not Zombie-ing either. I like both current Zombies so that's a benefit (although Washington Black really falls apart for me post-Arctic). I just thought Milkman was such an incisive look into the Troubles and I could listen to Middle Sister describe her whole life in audiobook form.


message 11: by Tristan (new)

Tristan | 105 comments As one who strongly disliked Milkman, and has grown annoyed at being told how wrong I am, and how I need to listen to it on audio, and how I just don't get what the author is trying to do, etc, etc, I could not be happier that it is out of the tournament. I'm sorry for those of you who loved it, but I can't take any more of the commentary about it.


message 12: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Here is what I don't get about Milkman: that other people found it a difficult read. I'm not setting myself up as a high-falutin' "I love difficult books" kind of reader because I'm not. I just found this book so damn easy to read. It flowed like my thoughts. It made me laugh. I loved the person telling me this story, because she was -easy- to follow, not because I thought it was marvelously abstract and obtuse and experimental and innovative. To me it was none of those things. It was someone sitting down and telling me a story.

That is the great mystery to me of the Milkman debate.

It may explain why sometimes in conversations people get intensely irritated with my train of thought and where it wanders.


message 13: by Tristan (new)

Tristan | 105 comments Lark wrote: "It may explain why sometimes in conversations people get intensely irritated with my train of thought and where it wanders."

I haven't been able to figure out what personality quirks make someone like Milkman vs. hate it.

When I'm having a conversation with someone and they go off on a tangent for ten minutes before coming back to reach the original point, I'm damn close to pulling my hair out. I attribute that to my job as an attorney and religious devotion to only presenting relevant evidence. So much of Milkman didn't seem "relevant" to the "story."


message 14: by Kip (new)

Kip Kyburz (kybrz) | 238 comments Lark wrote: "Here is what I don't get about Milkman: that other people found it a difficult read. I'm not setting myself up as a high-falutin' "I love difficult books" kind of reader because I'm not. I just fou..."

Yes, so much this, it was like a mind meld with Middle Sister. I have been afraid to voice this opinion because of also coming across as high-falutin'. In addition, while not Irish at all, my parents lived in Ireland for about a decade and I thought maybe that crystallized the way of speaking/thinking more for me than others. I have struggled mightily with many 'experimental" novels, but this one was wonderful. happy someone else had this same thought.


message 15: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 19, 2019 08:50AM) (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments One of the things that got me was the quote the judge used...It was beautiful, lyrical, said so much about shame in general and in her world (and I love the phrase "the most disguised of all emotions, fear.) How did it not have "punch?" The end of the last sentence!! What does she mean by "not enough punch," that it has too many words?

"I didn’t know shame. I mean as a word, because as a word, I hadn’t yet entered the communal vocabulary. Certainly I knew the feeling of shame and I knew everybody around me knew that feeling as well. In no way was it a weak feeling, for it seemed more potent than anger, more potent than hatred, stronger even than that most disguised of emotions, fear. At that time there was no way to grapple with or transcend it. Another thing was that often it was a public feeling, needing numbers to swell its effectiveness, regardless of whether you were the one doing the shaming, the one witnessing the shaming, or the one having the shame done unto you. Given it was such a complex, involved, very advanced feeling, most people here did all kinds of permutations in order not to have it: killing people, doing verbal damage to people, doing mental damage to people, and not least, also not infrequently, doing those things to oneself."


message 16: by lark (last edited Mar 19, 2019 08:49AM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Tristan wrote: "So much of Milkman didn't seem "relevant" to the "story." ..."

Well that might be the great divide right there. The diversions all locked into one another for me, where every scene and happening had a place in the whole of the novel, by the end.

I'm thinking of other works now where what feels extremely digressive as I read it then hits me, in the end, as utterly relevant and whole and incisive. "My Dinner with Andre" and Henderson the Rain King come to mind, both of which I love.


message 17: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 647 comments And I’m a CPA so I favor spare but beautiful prose. I’m not totally against stream of consciousness but it has to be really good, like Beloved good. I can count on one hand the stream of consciousness books I’ve loved.


message 18: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments I don't feel Milkman is stream of consciousness. It's someone telling a story. It hits me like oral history.


message 19: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 463 comments Kip wrote: "Yes, so much this, it was like a mind meld with Middle Sister...."

I thought about this today, because of the judgement. I think that the brilliance of this novel becomes apparent when you do make that jump into middle sister's consciousness, so that you're no longer reading about her, but experiencing things through her eyes. If, for whatever reason, you don't make that jump, the book doesn't work for you.

That's what I've managed to figure out from the comments by those who didn't fall for it, at least.


message 20: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 131 comments I think the main difficulty I had with Milkman was the wandering thought process. My brain is "liney and dividy", as in utterly linear. I've had to consult with teachers who think in random spirals and concentric circles, and I spent much mental energy trying to capture the relevant points from their comunications. So reading this felt like being back at work. :) Once my brain organized around the pattern, I started getting the message with less work, and ultimately liked the story despite those challenges. I do think you hit on an important difference in readers, Tristan.


message 21: by Karin (new)

Karin (8littlepaws) | 97 comments I think I'm one of the only middle ground people on Milkman. I did quite like it, but I don't love it and I don't see it making any personal best-of lists for me. I found a lot of the prose really evocative and thoughtful (and I'm a CPA too for the record, shrug). I think that shame paragraph quoted here is excellent.

I find myself biased against Warlight if anything--Male Literary Giants and World War II fiction in general are two of my passes.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 600 comments Lark wrote: "I don't feel Milkman is stream of consciousness. It's someone telling a story. It hits me like oral history."

Exactly my experience with the audio. In some places it almost seemed like chanting, like the sound of someone murmuring the rosary. haven't seen the printed book, but I'm wondering whether more white space in the text would have made the difference without taking away the sense of stream-of-consciousness.


message 23: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 131 comments Karin wrote: "I think I'm one of the only middle ground people on Milkman. I did quite like it, but I don't love it and I don't see it making any personal best-of lists for me. I found a lot of the prose really ..."

I was also more middle of the road, Karin. Liked the underlying themes very much, just found the way it was written challenging. And I thought that paragraph on shame wonderful, AND full of punch. Go figure.


message 24: by Kip (new)

Kip Kyburz (kybrz) | 238 comments The commentary the other day delved into how reading order can affect experience; I read Warlight shortly after Life After Life and I think that Warlight does not stack up to the latter for me and that really colored my opinion. Warlight did nothing wrong for me, it just didn't outdo any iteration within Life After Life.


message 25: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments I read Milkman and I have always disliked stream of conscious narratives. I very much appreciated MStSK’s short chapters and spare prose for example. But I’m with Lark: I read a chapter at a time in a sitting and they swoop and dive and play with words but always seem to come back to a central core so each chapter felt a complete whole. I loved it. I’m really hoping this gets picked up by the education system actually - it seems so ripe for an English class to digest! (Bump out one of the Hemingways!)


message 26: by Peggy (new)

Peggy | 195 comments Warlight was a slog--some beautiful writing, yes, but, for me at least, a slog. And the further away I get from it, the more resentful I get at being stuck with Nathaniel as our protagonist rather than the infinitely more interesting mother, sister, or girlfriend. Nathaniel. Ugh.

I have Milkman queued up on audio but haven't started. Still, the paragraph on shame the judge supplied as evidence AGAINST the book felt amazing to me. Made me want to start it today. So a very strange judgment indeed.

Happy the two Zombies remained, though. Want more discussion of BOTH those books.


message 27: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 61 comments I'm another one who generally dislikes stream of consciousness novels but loved Milkman. I read it in print and coincidentally my library audiobook became available today. I was expecting to listen to it as it moved forward into the finals but I still want to experience the audio since so many rave about it.


message 28: by Jason (new)

Jason Perdue | 627 comments I have nothing. There is no objective truth. I'm disappointed that there won't be more discussion of my favorite book. I will say again that the audiobook for Milkman is worth a listen for anyone that felt it was inaccessible (and for everyone else).

I'm officially Team MStSK til another zombie bumps it out.


message 29: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Tittle | 49 comments I'm okay with Warlight winning because I feel like Milkman will stand the test of time and end up on syllabi and best of lists. This feels like a Golden Globe v. Oscars v. Independent Spirit Awards type thing.


message 30: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 132 comments Sarah wrote: "I'm okay with Warlight winning because I feel like Milkman will stand the test of time and end up on syllabi and best of lists. This feels like a Golden Globe v. Oscars v. Independent Spirit Awards..."

Sarah this is how I wanted to feel yesterday--the win for "There There" means relatively little to that book since the novel is already lauded and on its way to syllabi, whereas "America is Not the Heart" deserves more readers and more recognition.


message 31: by Jason (new)

Jason Perdue | 627 comments Sarah wrote: "I'm okay with Warlight winning because I feel like Milkman will stand the test of time and end up on syllabi and best of lists. This feels like a Golden Globe v. Oscars v. Independent Spirit Awards..."

I love this. But, I am trying to figure out which of the awards shows the ToB is. Gotta be the Indie Spirits, no?

Yikes!
2007: Little Miss Sunshine/The Road

But...
2018: Get Out/Fever Dream


Jennifer (formerly Eccentric Muse) | 26 comments when she said, right before quoting the unbelievably beautiful paragraph with incredible poetic rhythm, that Milkman is "348 pages of page-long paragraphs ... that lack in any sort of poetic rhythm ...", she destroyed any credibility her judgement might have had for me.

Dislike the prose because it's too experimental for you, too stream-of-consciousness, too circuitous, wordy or in any other way dislikable to you ... that's fair. But to call it lacking in either poetry or rhythm? or worse, both? This is Just. Plain. Wrong.


message 33: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Jennifer (aka EM) wrote: "when she said, right before quoting the unbelievably beautiful paragraph with incredible poetic rhythm, that Milkman is "348 pages of page-long paragraphs ... that lack in any sort of poetic rhythm..."

I was so confused by her choice of passage; I thought she must have meant it to be an example of beauty and depth before I realized she was pulling it out as proof of her criticism.


message 34: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 463 comments Amy wrote: "I was so confused by her choice of passage; I thought she must have meant it to be an example of beauty and depth before I realized she was pulling it out as proof of her criticism. ..."

I mean, the breathy stabs paragraph from the Zebra judgment did what the judge said it would. This paragraph was just so beautifully crafted that is disproved the judge's allegations.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 600 comments Jennifer (aka EM) wrote: "Dislike the prose because it's too experimental for you, too stream-of-consciousness, too circuitous, wordy or in any other way dislikable to you ... that's fair. But to call it lacking in either poetry or rhythm? or worse, both? This is Just. Plain. Wrong."

I know, it's all poetry and rhythm!! She needs to listen to the audio and reconsider.....


message 36: by Jan (new)

Jan (janrowell) | 1099 comments I can’t either.


message 37: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 20, 2019 05:40AM) (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments Wow.

The Golden State vs. Dictionary of Animal Languages:

https://themorningnews.org/tob/2019/t...


message 38: by Kip (last edited Mar 20, 2019 05:40AM) (new)

Kip Kyburz (kybrz) | 238 comments Wow, talk about the little book that could. Might have to blaze through Dictionary this weekend. I never read Golden State as reading the commentariat on it made me anxious enough.


message 39: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments I loved Dictionary (and the judge's description of it), but I feel like he must not have read more than 50 pages of The Golden State. I'm actually pretty sure he didn't, and that doesn't feel fair to me, he gave up way too soon and missed the joys of it.


message 40: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments I had back-burned Dictionary in favor of Mars Room for the tourney and now I’m wondering if I made the wrong decision! Well - one more weekend to pick it up and still comment on it!
So sad to see Golden State go but I assumed Washington Black was going to stomp on it this round so my bracket isn’t any more ruined than it already was in Opening Rounds.


message 41: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 20, 2019 07:14AM) (new)

Collin was an early champion of Dictionary of Animal Languages, and his enthusiasm pushed me to read it when I otherwise wouldn't have. What a shame that he's not in the mix to revel in its success.

EDIT: Sorry, Collin, I spelled your name incorrectly, and I misused an apostrophe. It's early, folks!


message 42: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments Tina wrote: "Collen was an early champion of Dictionary of Animal Languages, and his enthusiasm pushed me to read it when I otherwise wouldn't have. What a shame that he's not in the mix to revel in it's success."

I've been thinking this too...I'd like to have him here. But in the Dictionary thread he said he's raptly following, even though he's not commenting.


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Tina wrote: "Collen was an early champion of Dictionary of Animal Languages, and his enthusiasm pushed me to read it when I otherwise wouldn't have. What a shame that he's not in the mix to revel i..."

Oh, good! I'm glad he's enjoying it.


message 44: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1737 comments Boy for some reason it seems like the bracket to judge matchups have all been unfortunate. (Or mostly). I feel like most judges skimmed or didn’t finish at least one of the TWO books they needed to read and weren’t the right audiences at all. Wonder if this is because we’re veering away from fiction readers/writers with the judges or if it was just the opposite of kismet.


message 45: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments Amy wrote: "Boy for some reason it seems like the bracket to judge matchups have all been unfortunate. (Or mostly). I feel like most judges skimmed or didn’t finish at least one of the TWO books they needed to..."

I would love to have the whole tournament judged by women one year so I don't have to rack up every decision that kills my favorite books to the judge being male. (My Sister, Milkman, Golden State)

Not that all females would vote for the same book or would read the books any differently. But my mind wouldn't go to that default after reading every decision.


message 46: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 20, 2019 08:16AM) (new)

Bretnie wrote: "I would love to have the whole tournament judged by women one year so I don't have to rack up every decision that kills my favorite books to the judge being male. (My Sister, Milkman, Golden State)."

Yesterday, a female judge took out Milkman.


message 47: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 883 comments Tina wrote: "Bretnie wrote: "I would love to have the whole tournament judged by women one year so I don't have to rack up every decision that kills my favorite books to the judge being male. (My Sister, Milkma..."

She's a journalist, though. I'm guessing that affects the types of books she reads.


message 48: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 131 comments I've not read either of these books, but the reasoning in the decision seems to confirm my thinking that our response to a novel is utterly emotional and subjective. This decision seemed based more on the feelings aroused than the content or styles used, although those styles and contents contributed to how the emotions responded. So interesting.


message 49: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 504 comments Tina wrote: "Yesterday, a female judge took out Milkman."

Argh, you're right! I guess I'll have to quit my whining. :)


message 50: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 61 comments I am pleased with the decision (and also thankful to all here who encouraged me to seek out a copy of TDoAL!) but I have to agree with @Elizabeth Arnold about the judge most likely not finishing The Golden State.

I must admit my feelings for it were similar to his in the early stages of the book but it definitely grew on me and I ended up enjoying it quite a bit, Just not as much as Dictionary.

I am going to need to go to an art museum to prepare for the turmoil I will feel reading tomorrow's decision! ;)


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