Tournament of Books discussion

172 views
2019 TOB - the Tourney > Semi-finals plus Zombie Rounds

Comments Showing 1-50 of 98 (98 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Amy (last edited Mar 22, 2019 07:59AM) (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments SF 1: Warlight v. The Dictionary of Animal Languages
SF 2: House of Broken Angels v. The Mars Room
Zombie 1: winner SF #1 v. Z1 currently There There
Zombie 2: winner SF #2 v. Z2 currently My Sister the Serial Killer

3/21: this made me notice the zombies are from the same Opening Bracket (Round 5). There's a chance for a rematch.
3/22: Overstory knocked out by There There so if anyone's keeping track the ordered list of zombie votes so far:

1st and 2nd (order unknown): There There & My Sister the Serial Killer
3rd: The Overstory
4th: Washington Black


message 2: by Amy (new)


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 830 comments What a fantastic job the RJ did!!


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments This was a beautiful write-up! She obviously took it seriously, reading Dictionary 3 times!


message 5: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 830 comments Amy wrote: "This was a beautiful write-up! She obviously took it seriously, reading Dictionary 3 times!"

Right? I mean, I loved Dictionary, but I couldn't have stood to read it more than once...


message 6: by Tristan (new)

Tristan | 105 comments Elizabeth Arnold wrote: "Amy wrote: "This was a beautiful write-up! She obviously took it seriously, reading Dictionary 3 times!"

Right? I mean, I loved Dictionary, but I couldn't have stood to read it more than once..."


She somehow anticipated all of the comments accusing judges of not having read one of the books.


message 7: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 642 comments Maybe she lurks here.


message 8: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes | 130 comments Outstanding review. Makes me want to read both books. But, unlike her recommendation, I'd probably begin with DoAL!


message 9: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 886 comments I was hoping for the DoAL to move forward, but I agree with the judgement being exceptional. My fingers are crossed for MStSK to zombie through to the Rooster now. :)


message 10: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Arnold | 830 comments MStSK and House of Broken Angels are the only two I still really care about. (The Mars Room and There, There were fine, and deserve to be where they are, but I wouldn't mind seeing them go.)

I'm going to be biting my fingernails tomorrow...But if House loses, there's a good chance it'll knock out MStSK, since I'm guessing more people had read it before voting. (Or maybe it was just popular here on GR?)


message 11: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 116 comments do we know already which side of the brackets the 2 zombies go? I can never figure that out.


message 12: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Blue | 24 comments Something that just occurred to me: last year I followed the tournament without having read Fever Dream, but even from the very first judgment I got a sense of what it was and why people liked it. This year I'm following the tournament without having read Warlight (well, I read one chapter and then--probably unfairly--DNF'ed), and even though the semifinal I feel like I don't really have a sense of it. Is it just me, or is it something about Warlight or the judgments?


message 13: by Heather (new)

Heather (hlynhart) | 308 comments Lark wrote: "do we know already which side of the brackets the 2 zombies go? I can never figure that out."

I think typically they go against the winner from the opposite side of the bracket--but as of now, both zombies are from the right side, so I'm not sure how they place them in that case.


message 14: by Sophia (last edited Mar 25, 2019 12:24PM) (new)

Sophia Blue | 24 comments They try to avoid rematches, so if Mars Room wins There There will face Warlight, I believe, assuming HoBA doesn't zombie. if HoBA wins I'm not sure how they'll decide.


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments Lark - usually they try to swap the sides for zombies (eg if it comes from the right side of the bracket, match it to the left side (Zombie Round1) but with remaining zombies all from the right side of the bracket it’s anybody’s guess!


message 16: by Tristan (new)

Tristan | 105 comments Janet wrote: "Maybe she lurks here."

Maybe, but I thought the judge's had written their opinions awhile ago and they are just now being released. I suspect that even if she lurked here, her decision must have been in before anyone made any of those comments.


message 17: by Erin (new)

Erin Glover (erinxglover) | 101 comments Sophia wrote: "Something that just occurred to me: This year I'm following the tournament without having read Warlight (well, I read one chapter and then--probably unfairly--DNF'ed), and even though the semifinal I feel like I don't really have a sense of it. Is it just me, or is it something about Warlight or the judgments?."

I can't seem to finish Warlight either Sophia. So far, I'm missing what the fuss is about. It's the only one on the list I DNF. Aren't the reviews by GR members generally bad? I can't remember but I couldn't make myself finish that book. If it wins a poll for a group read, I'll probably make myself read it though. It was just so...boring?


message 18: by Alison (new)

Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 459 comments Erin wrote: "I can't seem to finish Warlight either Sophia. So far, I'm missing what the fuss is about. ..."

For me, Warlight had me from the first chapter. I loved the haziness of it. I thought the second portion was less interesting. But a ton of people report that they thought the second portion was the better one, so I don't even know. I do think that if you don't love it 50 pages in, you can safely abandon it.


message 19: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissabeez) | 19 comments Wouldn't the advance of the brackets keep the judges from writing their complete judgement as they might not be able to predict the matches?

For as much as I have muttered about some aspects of "Warlight" after it knocked out "Milkman," I also loved the atmospheric and melancholic nature of the writing. Several scenes blending nature observation and characters merging with the landscape still come back to me, even after some of the aspects of the storyline have fallen away.

I probably read the book "too fast" in order to get it squared away for TOB, but I am glad I stuck it out. Nathaniel made me ache with his essential loneliness and I still want to put him in front of a warm fire and make him eat a hearty bowl of beef stew served with a hunk of dense brown bread, after giving him a big motherly squeeze, of course.


message 20: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments Melissa wrote: "Wouldn't the advance of the brackets keep the judges from writing their complete judgement as they might not be able to predict the matches?

For as much as I have muttered about some aspects of "W..."


The judges only get the two books that come to them so if they have quarterfinal or semi-finals they can figure out which books beat other books to get to them (if they know the bracket up front) but they won't know why or how. Nor do they know what happens after their round. So there is some risk of covering the same ground as the previous person who moved the book forward but no real risk that they know much else besides knowing the final two a few weeks (or less?) before that head-to-head so they can pick their favorite and write-up a reason why.
When we ran the alt-TOB, I think we did the final head-to-head voting only 1 week prior to the big day and then had a few days to get the 'why' written down & turned in.


message 21: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissabeez) | 19 comments Oh dear....I thought they were real time......

Well, at least there's still Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny!


message 22: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments SF#2 - HoBA V Mars Room: I expect people will have thoughts https://themorningnews.org/tob/2019/t...


message 23: by Rachelnyc (new)

Rachelnyc | 61 comments I deflated during the first sentence of the judgment since it was obvious which way it was going. HoBA was my favorite book on the short list and I’m glad it made it this far but I didn’t expect The Mars Room would be the one to take it down.

Hoping for a There There vs MStSK final with MStSK winning it all!


message 24: by Sophia (last edited Mar 26, 2019 08:14AM) (new)

Sophia Blue | 24 comments I really liked this bit from the judgment, which does a good job of expressing why I was never fully got on board with HoBA:

Despite these touching interludes, I never was able to truly love this book. Probably that’s because the centripetal force of the narrative is protagonist Big Angel’s charisma, and I just can’t get on board with a guy who proudly declares “I am Don Corleone” with zero sense of irony.

Also, wooo, MStSK!


message 25: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 481 comments Rachelnyc wrote: "Hoping for a There There vs MStSK final with MStSK winning it all! "

Meeee tooooooo!

I never ever would have guessed that Warlight and The Mars Room would be in the final four. But there you go.


message 26: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 116 comments Now I'm really curious about how they decided where the zombies were going to end up for the semis.

This means that our Zombie Round is set, as Warlight will take on debut sensation There There in tomorrow’s match. Then on Thursday, The Mars Room will face debut sensation My Sister, the Serial Killer. How about that?

I personally would have loved it the other way--Warlight v. MStSK and The Mars Room v. There, There. Maybe it's a strategic decision to avoid having an all-male final?


message 27: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Blue | 24 comments I think it's just because Mars Room and There, There already had a match.


message 28: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 642 comments Well this just totally sucks....I figured HOBA would have enough votes to zombie.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm so sad about today's decision. I scrolled right to the bottom (GASP!), and then to the zombies (NO!). I thought this was the year that my favorite was going to the finals. Dammit, ToB! You broke my heart again!


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 581 comments For the first time in my ToB history, my Zombie pick (HoBA) was in the ballpark. I tried to save it. Although I can't complain about Mars Room, which is the first Kushner book I've liked.


message 31: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Oertel | 886 comments Definitely surprised by today's judgement and that Warlight and The Mars Room made it this far. MStSK vs. There There for the finals would be awesome!


message 32: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 642 comments So of the remaining contenders I’m rooting for
MSTSK
then
Warlight
The Mars Room
There, There


message 33: by Peggy (new)

Peggy | 181 comments HOW DOES WARLIGHT KEEP WINNING?!?
Sorry to shout, but, honestly, it's confounding to me. I know there are those around here that love it, but every time it advances I have a total WTF moment. Yesterday the judge perfectly described the novel as "diaphanous" with vaporous characters, and I agree completely; only for her it was a strength and for me it was definitely not.

I was shocked by today's judgment, too, though it was well-reasoned.

Looking forward to the Zombies. Actively rooting against Warlight at this point. I had no idea it would come to this.


message 34: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissabeez) | 19 comments "Warlight" and "The Mars Room" seem like kind of conventional picks. I thought the TOB judges might risk loving some more daring titles.

I am ride or die with MSTSK!


message 35: by lark (last edited Mar 26, 2019 10:58AM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 116 comments Peggy, I haven't been able to find my way past the first few pages of any Michael Ondaatje novel ever published--the sentences all seem so diaphanous to me that they drift right away from any sort of semantic sense and I stop reading.

So it must be a taste thing. Like almost everything I guess.


message 36: by Julie (last edited Mar 26, 2019 12:16PM) (new)

Julie (julnol) | 113 comments Is this where I come to complain about the gender of the judge, the judge's usual reading choices, the words used in the judgement, the failure of the judge to appreciate the book?

I am devastated by the lost of Billy Lynne's Long Halftime Walk to The House of Broken Angels where Skippy Dies


message 37: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Blue | 24 comments I'm a little confused by all the Mars Room/Orange is the New Black comparisons I'm seeing in the comments over there. Granted I only watched a couple episodes of OitNB years ago, but didn't the protagonist only have a one or two year sentence? Quite a bit different from Romy's two life sentences.


message 38: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 116 comments i was struck by the word "corny" in today's judgment.

I get it, but also it's quite a step beyond "sentimental," a word I thought now and then when reading House of Broken Angels. This is a very emotional and demonstrative family and maybe it's just too much for some readers.

To me The Mars Room had a distancing feeling, emotionally speaking. It's not corny on any level. I wonder if that's what moved it more into the comfort zone for this judge.


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Julie wrote: "Is this where I come to complain about the gender of the judge, the judge's usual reading choices, the words used in the judgement, the failure of the judge to appreciate the book?..."

No. All those complaints belong in the Commentariat. : )


message 40: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments Lark - yeah I never thought “corny” - calling himself Don Corleone without irony was charming actually. I loved the picture of a Mexican American patriarch who plays with the stereotype of macho-ness with his familial love, humiliation, pride, boisterousness, romanticism and loyalty on full display. Irony would have been misplaced. Angel blows-up the macho male stand-in.


message 41: by Lola (new)

Lola | 118 comments Amy wrote: "Lark - yeah I never thought “corny” - calling himself Don Corleone without irony was charming actually. I loved the picture of a Mexican American patriarch who plays with the stereotype of macho-ne..."

Absolutely agree with this. I read the commentary and just kept shaking my head...and felt my heart cracking into little pieces. As we all know, not every book is for everyone-HoBA clearly wasn't for this judge. Just another thing that makes the ToB so wonderful and yet so very frustrating at the same time for me.


message 42: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 116 comments Urrea's Into the Beautiful North actually was too corny for me when I read it but I think I've mellowed.

The time spent in Little Angel's head--he seemed the most down to earth of them all--as well as all the exquisite details, like women's heels sinking into the grass at the cemetery--make House of Broken Angels able to pull of the weight of all the emotion and nostalgia in this novel, imo.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 581 comments Amy wrote: "Lark - yeah I never thought “corny” - calling himself Don Corleone without irony was charming actually. I loved the picture of a Mexican American patriarch who plays with the stereotype of macho-ness with his familial love, humiliation, pride, boisterousness, romanticism and loyalty on full display. Irony would have been misplaced. Angel blows-up the macho male stand-in..."

Perfectly put, Amy. It totally upended my knee-jerk hostility to macho-ness.


Nadine in California (nadinekc) | 581 comments Lark wrote: "Peggy, I haven't been able to find my way past the first few pages of any Michael Ondaatje novel ever published--the sentences all seem so diaphanous to me that they drift right away from any sort ..."

Diaphanous should be restricted to romance novels so I'd never have to see it again ;) The only Ondaatje I've read is Divisadero and I think it may be an outlier for lack of diaphonousness. I read it in 2012 and gave it 4 stars, but in retrospect it's more of a 3.


message 45: by Janet (new)

Janet (justjanet) | 642 comments I think anyone who goes to a Urrea event will “get him” and would have a better opinion of HOBA. The Don Corleone line just made me chuckle.


message 46: by Melissa (last edited Mar 26, 2019 09:19PM) (new)

Melissa (melissabeez) | 19 comments I sooooo love his roman a clef "Running in the Family," that I can never really hate Ondaatje even when he annoys me.

I agree that "Divisadero" is less dreamy but it shares an important similarity with "Warlight" in that he explores the callowness of youth as well as our ability to only see our younger selves clearly across the distance of years.

"The Cat's Table" and "Warlight" share other common themes: the unreliability of memory, the disappointment of family, and the comfort to be found in strangers. I often wonder if these themes rise out of his own experience of being separated from his mother in his early years in Sri Lanka, only joining her in England later, or the absence of his father in his life. Toss in British boarding schools.....


message 47: by Amy (new)

Amy (asawatzky) | 1691 comments There There rises from the grave - will it consume Warlight? https://themorningnews.org/tob/2019/z...


message 48: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 280 comments Man, talk about the little novel (written by an internationally acclaimed old white man) that could.


message 49: by Kip (new)

Kip Kyburz (kybrz) | 212 comments More like Tournament of Meh


message 50: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 116 comments Wow. I never expected this outcome. I didn't care for There, There, and to date I've found Ondaatje unreadable, but I've always been a bit thoughtful about how TOB favors debut authors over established writers. So, interesting.

I'm not sure Ondaatje i.d.'s as an old white man.


« previous 1
back to top