“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.”
February 10, 2016 8:47 AM   Subscribe

The Brackets for The Morning News 2016 Tournament of Books by The Tournament of Books Staff [The Morning News]
You already know the titles and judges that will participate in this year’s tournament. You likely perused the “long list” for a glance at 86 of our favorite works of fiction from last year. You might have even checked out our 11 previous tournaments, just to whet your appetite—or maybe you have no idea what we’re talking about, in which case you should go read this primer. [Download the 2016 brackets as a .PDF]
Here is a schedule of this year’s match-ups. (Also, we get a cut from any purchases made through the links below.)

March 7
2015 ToB Introduction
by Kevin Guilfoile & John Warner

Play-in Match
March 8
Avenue of Mysteries v. A Spool of Blue Thread
Judged by Lizzie Molyneux, Wendy Molyneux, and Kelvin Yu

Opening Round
March 9
Fates and Furies v. Bats of the Republic
Judged by Maria Bustillos

March 10
The Sympathizer v. Oreo
Judged by Brad Listi

March 11
The Turner House v. Ban en Banlieue
Judged by Miriam Tuliao

March 14
Our Souls at Night v. The Whites
Judged by Syreeta McFadden

March 15
A Little Life v. The New World
Judged by Choire Sicha

March 16
The Book of Aron v. The Tsar of Love and Techno
Judged by Doree Shafrir

March 17
Play-in Winner v. The Story of My Teeth
Judged by Daniel Wallace

March 18
The Sellout v. The Invaders
Judged by Liz Lopatto
posted by Fizz (9 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
My bets have been placed. I will say this though (and I know this is not an uncontroversial position), if John Irving wins any round, including the play in round against Anne Tyler, I'll know the whole thing can be disregarded for my purposes.

With that said, this is groovy and I wish I'd known about it years ago.
posted by janey47 at 8:53 AM on February 10, 2016

I've got my money on A Little Life and The Sellout. Consolation prizes going to A Spool of Blue Thread and Fates and Furies.
posted by Fizz at 8:54 AM on February 10, 2016

I have been following the ToB for some time but this is the first year I've actually been paying attention enough to try reading some of the books first! Unfortunately, when you have to wait for library holds to come in, you always end up reading only the books no one actually cares about.

Fates and Furies is going to crush Bats of the Republic, which is a dull enough book that it probably would never have gotten published without the "illuminated book" gimmickry.

I liked parts of The New World but if it's going up against A Little Life I don't imagine it has any chance.

My favorite so far is Our Souls At Night but I have yet to read any of the big juggernaut books (Fates and Furies, A Little Life, etc.)
posted by Jeanne at 9:10 AM on February 10, 2016

My brackets show an unexpected win for The Sellout. I say unexpected because before I saw what was paired with what for whom I thought it would be Tsar.
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:16 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love the ToB. There's such joy in pitting books against each other, in highlighting the absolute silliness and idiosyncrasy in judging books, and the fun in comparing and articulating our reading experiences. And I find frustrated joy in complaining about the zombie round every year (nooooo, don't bring back the boring, most popular/hyped/over-talked-about books!)--though, really, one of my favorite recent judgments was a zombie round judgment, Jane Hu's The Goldfinch v. The Good Lord Bird.

I'm rooting for The Sellout and Oreo this year.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 9:43 AM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

As a judge I'm going to be watching the conversation here with great interest and very closed lips.
posted by babelfish at 12:15 PM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just heard about this a couple weeks ago, and I was a little surprised to find I hadn't read a single one of these books...then I remembered that I read pretty much only Golden Age mysteries last year. And Terry Pratchett, always Pratchett. It was a rough year.

So far I've read The Whites and A Spool of Blue Thread...they were both okay, writing was pretty good but they were both a little boring and a little depressing. And the endings for both were lacking, for both I got to the end and thought 'Really, that's it?'.

Our Souls at Night is up next (library roulette), but if all 16 are like the first two I might give up. Although not until after reading the Story of My Teeth and Bats of the Republic just because of the titles.
posted by lemonade at 8:52 PM on February 10, 2016


Do yourself a favour and pick up A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It's a fascinating book that examines love, friendship, sexuality, and abuse. Set in NYC and about four friends who are just starting their post-secondary careers. Not everyone loves it, and its fairly divisive in how people read it. I made a massive post about it last year. If anything, it's a book that will provide you with plenty of discussion and maybe even a little bit of controversy.
posted by Fizz at 4:28 AM on February 11, 2016

lemonade-- in the Goodreads group, The Tsar of Love and Techno has almost universal acclaim, so you might try that one. A Little Life seems about 50/50; some people love it, some people hate it.

I actually preferred it over Tsar (which I didn't finish) because they are both emotionally manipulative of the reader, but Tsar is much more tightly edited and ends up feeling more manipulative in the end. I think I'm in a minority with that opinion though.

Bats of the Republic seems to have disappointed a lot of people, so maybe skip that one if you've already been let down twice.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:34 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

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