The Rooster

TOB LOGO BY Coudal Partners & Susan Everett

The 2010 Tournament of Books Long List

Now is not the time to look backward over a decade. Now is the moment to look forward: to the 2010 Tournament of Books.

The end of a decade supplies an apex. Seems like everyone is trying to draw together 10 years of political and cultural history to make matters resolve—to hastily survey the aughts’ seismic shifts in case any mountains or canyons appeared undetected in the social landscape.

Here at The Morning News, we say F-that; leave it to our Martian conquerors down the road. Let’s look instead to 2010 and the imminent Tournament of Books. Time to crank up your winter reading!

For the first time in the Tournament’s six years, we are releasing our long list; the shortlist—the list of the 16 contenders for the Rooster—will appear in January, as well as the team roster of 2010’s judges. But since the culmination of this year’s Tournament, so many Rooster fans wrote in and asked to see the full list of books that were considered for the brackets, we decided to open the secret bunker doors and let in the light on next year’s contenders.

Our criteria for selecting the titles on the long list were the same as we normally adhere to. Books must be novels (for the most part), and must have been published for the first time in English in 2009 (for the most part). Considerations included: our own reading experiences; recommendations from family and friends, readers, publishing folk, and TMN staff; critics’ opinions, from internet shoppers to prestigious names; prize-winners; other media groups’ best-of lists; sales records, high and low; too much hype or too little hype; independent publisher versus big bad media; authors’ reputations; authors’ previous participation in previous Tournaments; blurb quantity and quality; etc. So yes, pretty much everything except the cover art.

Of the following 50 titles, we doubt you’ll have a bad time reading any of them. Only 16, however, will we consider strong enough to withstand blood sport in March.

But before we get to the list, some additional sponsors have signed up to support the Rooster this year, and we’d like to introduce them.

First, we’re very proud to announce that the 2010 Tournament of Books will be presented by Field Notes notebooks. It’s a collaboration we feel matches the Rooster spirit perfectly: an independent, feisty small company producing beautiful, well-made notebooks to encourage reading, writing, drawing, list-making, and literary whatnot. Their COLORS editions are a covetable subscription; check out this cute video that will make you, too, lust for seasonal paper products.

Also jumping on board this year, the terrific and extremely tasteful people at Urban Outfitters, who will be supporting the ToB as our media sponsor. Hats off to them! We’re grateful for their endorsement of contemporary literature as hip as hell.

Finally, our steadfast partner,, the legendary, independent bookstore who supplies the Tournament’s backbone: great books, great prices. We appreciate their joining us once again.

When you support our sponsors, you support the ToB. So thank you—we appreciate it. And now, no more blah blah, on to the long list. Happy reading, and we’ll see you in January!

ToB Chairs,
Rosecrans Baldwin
Kevin Guilfoile
Andrew Womack

The 2010 Tournament of Books Long List

The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood
The Anthologist, Nicholson Baker
Rage, Sergio Bizzio
The Women, T.C. Boyle
Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon
Trouble, Kate Christensen
Little Bee, Chris Cleave
Fever Chart, Bill Cotter
Four Freedoms, John Crowley
Everything Matters!, Ron Currie Jr.
Spooner, Pete Dexter
Homer & Langley, E.L. Doctorow
Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, Apostolos Doxiadis
The Believers, Zoe Heller
Last Night in Twisted River, John Irving
The Book of Night Women, Marlon James
Under the Dome, Stephen King
The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver
Big Machine, Victor Lavalle
Chronic City, Jonathan Lethem
The Golden Mean, Annabel Lyon
Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
Ransom, David Malouf
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel
The City & The City, China Mieville
Manituana, Wu Ming
A Gate at the Stairs, Lorrie Moore
Miles from Nowhere, Nami Mun
Once a Runner, John Parker
Lark and Termite, Jayne Anne Phillips
Generosity, Richard Powers
Inherent Vice, Thomas Pynchon
Wetlands, Charlotte Roche
My Abandonment, Peter Rock
That Old Cape Magic, Richard Russo
Burnt Shadows, Kamila Shamsie
The Help, Kathryn Stockett
Far North, Marcel Theroux
The Alternative Hero, Tim Thornton
Brooklyn, Colm Toibin
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Wells Tower
This Is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper
My Bird, Fariba Vafi
The Book of Fathers, Miklos Vamos
The Informers, Juan Gabriel Vasquez
A Short History of Women, Kate Walbert
Half Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls
The Little Stranger, Sarah Waters
Sag Harbor, Colson Whitehead
Lowboy, John Wray


The Tournament of Books’ organizers Andrew Womack and Rosecrans Baldwin are TMN’s co-founders. Baldwin’s most recent book is Everything Now, winner of the 2022 California Book Award. For his other books, try More by The Tournament of Books Staff