The Rooster

TOB LOGO BY Coudal Partners & Susan Everett

The 2011 Tournament of Books Long List

In the spirit of yuletide blood sport, we present the 2011 Tournament of Books Long List.

Days are cold and nights are long. Party people party. Dieters forgive themselves. Bookstores are filled with holiday shoppers clutching lists that all say “10 best books of 2010” and all seem to contain the same titles.

And somewhere deep in a forest, in a cave shrouded in frost, Skinny Puppy posters, and the entrails of advance reader copies, a slumbering rooster begins to twitch.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 Tournament of Books, sponsored by Field Notes, is coming soon.

In the meantime, after multiple requests from audience members, we’re releasing our long list of titles to help with your gift giving. When was the last time we got a year crowded with such excellent fiction? These were the novels (and a few non-novels) that excited us the most in 2010. In March 2011, 16 titles from this list will compete in our seventh annual Tournament of Books. We will release the list of 16 in early January so you can get a head start on your reading.

(If you've new to the ToB and don’t know what the fuss is about, why's Laura Miller called the 2010 ToB “a rare pocket of civility and informed intelligence” or why a homicidal rooster may be the American literary community's sexiest award, check out last year’s tournament. NPR's "All Things Considered" also did a nice job of summarizing the play-by-play.)

But before we get to the list, we’ve got a surprise this year. It’s about our 2011 judges. Namely, you could be one of them.

This year, we’re holding a spot open for the reader who best convinces us in 100 words or less that he or she would make a superlative judge. Show us your Rooster knowledge, your sense of what it takes to do the job right. Email your entry (no attachments) to talk at by Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010. If you tweet about it afterwards, or Face-share it, or Tumble it on super-hot, we’ll think on you kindly.

One final note: Though we would have included them on the list, we made it house law this year that books by TMN staff can’t be entered into the Tournament of Books. Therefore, you won’t see You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin, Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr, The Thousand by Kevin Guilfoile, or The Report by Jessica Francis Kane featured on the list below.

However, we highly encourage you to check them out. Also check out the beautiful notebooks from our title sponsor, Field Notes. And you can’t go wrong shopping through our book sponsor, Powell’s Books. Now to the long list. See you in March.

The 2011 Tournament of Books Long List

The Pregnant Widow, by Martin Amis
The Infinities, by John Banville
The Map of True Places, by Brunonia Barry
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender
If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, by Robin Black
Ordinary Thunderstorms, by William Boyd
Doubles, by Nic Brown
Parrot and Olivier in America, by Peter Carey
Nox, by Anne Carson
Exley, by Brock Clarke
Witz, by Joshua Cohen
The Passage, by Justin Cronin
Stiltsville, by Susanna Daniel
Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky
The Autobiography of Jenny X, by Lisa Dierbeck
Room, by Emma Donoghue
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky, by Heidi W. Durrow
A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Aliss At The Fire, by Jon Fosse
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
Safe from the Sea, by Peter Geye
The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano
The False Friend, by Myla Goldberg
36 Arguments for the Existence of God, by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon
Museum of the Weird, by Amelia Gray
Bloodroot, by Amy Greene
The Line, by Olga Grushin
Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles, by Kira Henehan
Horns, by Joe Hill
The Four Stages of Cruelty, by Keith Hollihan
Sleepless, by Charlie Huston
Next, by James Hynes
The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson
Great House, by Nicole Krauss
The Surrendered, by Chang-rae Lee
The Man From Saigon, by Marti Leimbach
The Instructions, by Adam Levin
The Ask, by Sam Lipsyte
What We Are, by Peter Nathaniel Malae
Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War, by Karl Marlantes
Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel
An Object of Beauty, by Steve Martin
The Lost Books of the Odyssey, by Zachary Mason
C, by Tom McCarthy
Solar, by Ian McEwan
Driving on the Rim, by Thomas McGuane
The Spot, by David Means
American Music, by Jane Mendelsohn
How to Read the Air, by Dinaw Mingestu
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell
The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, by Thomas Mullen
Red Rain, by Bruce Murkoff
Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray
February, by Lisa Moore
Bound, by Antonya Nelson
A Beautiful Place to Die, by Malla Nunn
The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer
Voice of America, by E.C. Osondu
Foreign Bodies, by Cynthia Ozick
The American Painter Emma Dial, by Samantha Peale
The Wilding, by Benjamin Percy
This Is Just Exactly Like You, by Drew Perry
Rut, by Scott Phillips
Model Home, by Eric Puchner
The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman
The Canal, by Lee Rourke
You Were Wrong, by Matthew Sharpe
So Much for That, by Lionel Shriver
Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, by Helen Simonson
My Hollywood, by Mona Simpson
The Madonnas of Echo Park, by Brando Skyhorse
Private Life, by Jane Smiley
The Singer’s Gun, by Emily St. John Mandel
The Frozen Rabbi, by Steve Stern
The French Revolution, by Matt Stewart
Illustrado, by Miguel Syjuco
The Lonely Polygamist, by Brady Udall
Aurorarama, by Jean-Christophe Valtat
Kapitoil, by Teddy Wayne
The Colony, by Jillian Weise
All Clear, by Connie Willis
Savages, by Don Winslow
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, by Charles Yu


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