The Rooster

The Rooster Summer Reading Challenge: The Final

It’s time to announce which our of summer reads heads to the 2018 Tournament of Books.

Nozlee: The winner of the 2017 Rooster Summer Reading Challenge, in a landslide, with 49 percent of the vote, is: Fever Dream.

An overview of the very first Rooster Summer Reading Challenge, by the numbers:

  • One winner: Fever Dream will now be a contender in the 2018 Tournament of Books, which kicks off next March.
  • Twelve weeks of conversations about books: That’s three times what we get during the tournament.
  • Three fantastic guest judges: A final thank you to Victor LaValle, Amelia Gray, and Rachel Khong for their weekly chats.
  • Five long list-worthy books: A Separation by Katie Kitamura, Ill Will by Dan Chaon, Marlena by Julie Buntin, The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge, and Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan. While they didn’t make it through our judges and your vote, they’ve earned their spots as some of 2017’s best works of fiction. (And the conversation isn’t over—you can catch up on this summer’s action here.)

Later this fall you’ll see our annual long list, where we present each year’s cream of the fiction crop (here’s last year’s installment), which we then cull into our shortlist of tournament contenders. Until then, rest assured Fever Dream will be in the mix when the Rooster returns in the spring.

Rosecrans: This was our first Rooster Summer Reading Challenge, and we’re already planning to do it again next year. Thank you to everyone who read along and commented and made this summer so much fun. (I mean, we read some truly discomforting books, but it was fun, right?) And a huge thank you to Field Notes for sponsoring the Reading Challenge. Make sure to check out their stunning new Campfire edition—which comes with the only patch we’d never trade.

Andrew: We also want to extend our enduring gratitude to all our sustaining members. It can’t be overstated: The future of the Tournament of Books, The Morning News, and events like the Rooster Summer Reading Challenge depends on your support. We started our membership drive in March, and thanks to your funding, we were able to put together this event—and, we hope, more in the months and years ahead. Please, if you haven’t already, find out why we’re asking for your support, and join us as a Sustaining Member.

Nozlee: Let us know what worked and didn’t work for you—we’re listening. Would you have preferred to spend less time on each book? Are themed pairings of books important to you, or not so much? How can we make this even better next year?

It was a great summer. Thanks for spending it with us. We’ll see you soon!


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

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