Welcome to The Morning News Tournament of Books, 2017 edition.
- Judge Nicole Chung concludes the quarterfinals with a difficult decision between two widely loved books. Updated 1d ago
- Alliteration, playful crows, and much insight in Miranda Popkey's terrific assessment of Thursday's contenders.
- Photographs from across the country of the Great American Librar(ies).
Personal conflicts in the week so far at the Tournament of Books.
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.
The week so far in the Tournament of Books: genre debates, politics not-as-usual, and a highly personal reading of dust jackets.
Here's the round-up so far: Monday saw Steph Cha debating genre and style and sheer entertainment while reading My Name Is Lucy Barton and Version Control.
One of the nice things about fiction is that it keeps us away from that particular abyss as a side effect of the search for beauty and meaning. Also, sometimes, it’s straight-up about alternate realities accessible through rifts in the space time continuum.
Then on Tuesday the commetariat got heated around Susannah Calahan's verdict when deciding between The Mothers and High Dive.
I had too much fun reading—OK, maybe “fun” isn’t the perfect word to describe novels about abortion and terrorism, but how else to explain the pure joy in reading, or rather the wish to distill both books down to their essences and inject them into your bloodstream so that you too could write like these two?
Today, Wednesday, former ToB contender Will Chancellor weighs in with certainly one of the more creative responses we've seen before from a judge; already the comments are giving him high marks.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay was the first contemporary novel I fell in love with, and it sketched out what I wanted in my fiction from that point on: international intrigue, linguistic shamanism, and Salvador Dalí in a brass diving helmet. I can only remember finding one flaw in Kavalier and Clay—and it pissed me off to no end. The back flap included the following note about our author: “He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Ayelet Waldman, also a novelist, and their children.” I immediately wished I could unread that. Why foreclose the possibility that I was reading a gay writer describe Sam Clay’s sore fingertips in his lover’s mouth? I understand, theoretically, being in a happy marriage and wanting to celebrate that in print. But get it off my dust jacket, man!
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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.
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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