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A very stupid thing begins again. Credit: TMN.

If Grief Is the Thing With Feathers makes the personal private, Homegoing makes the public personal.

Alliteration, playful crows, and much insight in Miranda Popkey's terrific assessment of Thursday's contenders.
↩︎ The Tournament of Books
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Photographs from across the country of the Great American Librar(ies).

Personal conflicts in the week so far at the Tournament of Books.

The Tournament of Books Staff

On Tuesday, Bim Adewunmi was forced to decide between The Underground Railroad and All the Birds in the Sky.

I loved both books so much, and in such different ways, that it felt like picking between a banana and a plantain: Both are delicious and nutritious, and both look very similar from a distance, but they are two very different beasts, and they generate very different reactions in my core. It’s been a difficult few months, sorry.

Today, Wednesday, ToB Reader Judge Tim Rinehart finds personal connections with The Mothers and Version Control.

My world right now is powerless, confused, and illusory. Scientists are planning protest marches. There are no time machines. 

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Jane would have been in her teens when she wrote these fake marriage entries, and some could say it reveals a mischievous side during her younger years.

The never-married Jane Austen turns out to have faked her own marriage twice.
↩︎ BBC
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I am well aware that I am not well-schooled enough to appreciate this novel.

The opening round closes with a controversial opinion, as Judge Pamela Ribon struggles with a book outside her wheelhouse, so to speak.
↩︎ The Tournament of Books
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Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet is part literary novel and part psychological thriller. It’s a quiet, ominous book, confined to the mind of its heroine and full of questions about resolutely unhip matters like the meaning of existence. 

Author Caille Millner decides between Sweet Lamb of Heaven and Homegoing.
↩︎ The Tournament of Books
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The truth is, there is no “proper” subject for poetry. All of life is its subject. Nothing should be out of bounds.

Meet Grindr's new poet-in-residence, Max Wallis.
↩︎ The Guardian
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Day three of the Rooster tests literary fiction against genre: Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and Charlie Jane Anders’s All the Birds in the Sky.

For Friday's bout in the Tournament of Books, novelist V.V. Ganeshananthan compares Han Kang’s The Vegetarian and Charlie Jane Anders’s All the Birds in the Sky.

As a college student, I studied with a teacher who wanted me to buy and to use a garden guide as part of my writing habit. The book she recommended was beautifully illustrated—a gorgeous object. I happily carried it around and turned to it in green spaces. It was the first time I had really tried to look at nature with a more attentive gaze, to name what I was seeing, and to understand my relationship to it. 

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As allegories for our present go, pairing The Underground Railroad with Black Wave was a little obvious. Just the one—a popular juggernaut about white supremacy—or the other—a drug-fueled, one-way trip to the apocalypse—sure, fine. But both together?

Day two of the ToB finds Kirstin Butler deciding between an indie hit and one of the biggest books of the year.
↩︎ The Tournament of Books
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Opening day in the 2017 Tournament of Books features three "highbrow sports" titles.

The Tournament of Books begins today, with author and Rolling Stone sports editor Jason Diamond overseeing our "highbrow sports" play-in round: C. E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings, Chris Bachelder's The Throwback Special, and Álvaro Enrigue’s Sudden Death

Writing about a sport should never be just about a game. Sure, you need your daily recaps and breakdowns. Tell us why this trade will matter in the long run, or how a starting guard going down with an injury can actually benefit a team. But there’s always a deeper story there.

Check it out, say hi in the comments, and enjoy the show! It's going to be a great month.

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It’s not really a contest. We’re not even sure it’s a “tournament.” What the ToB has been and will be, as long as we’re putting it on, is a month-long conversation about novels and reading and writing and art that takes place on weekdays in March.

In case you're new to this, here's a primer on how the Tournament of Books works.
↩︎ The Tournament of Books
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