The Morning News

The Morning News Tournament of Books, sponsored by Powell’s Books, is an annual battle royale amongst the top novels in “literary fiction” published throughout the year. Read more about this year’s tournament »

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» Meet This Year’s Judges «
» Check the Bloggers’ Office Pool «
» Relive the Action: 2006, 2005 «
» Contact the Tournament Staff «

Powell's Books

The 2007 Tournament of Books is over. To view this year's Tournament, go here.


From the Booth

Alentejo Blue


Against the Day


GUILFOILE: John, you and I were sideline champions of Sam Lipsyte’s Home Land in last year’s tourney, and although it didn’t win it was a thrill to see it march unexpectedly into the finals and lose, ultimately, to a very good book. Lipsyte’s review, which praises Against the Day while also admitting that he was defeated by it, seems to be as good a summary of all the reviews of that book I have read.

WARNER: I’m impressed by Against the Day’s ability to march on in the tournament with Judge Lipsyte not even reading the whole book. To me, this suggests that the magic of Pynchon’s appeal must be…magic, that his novels contain some sort of incantation or hypnotic spell amongst all those words.

GUILFOILE: The Book Bloggers in the Office Pool seemed to be afraid of Pynchon as well, and only two of the six picked Against the Day to make it this far. That means that we still have Condalmo in the lead with 10, followed by The Millions and Powell’s own Mr. Brockman with 8, Book Nerd with 7, Kate Sutherland with 5, and Shaken and Stirred in sixth place with 4 points.

WARNER: Afraid of its magical spells, perhaps.

GUILFOILE: But everyone is still in it. Thanks to the Zombie Round, even those bloggers whose champions were eliminated early could still rise from the grave to take the title.

WARNER: Indeed, like Willy Wonka, the Zombie Round makes all things possible. I’d like to see more tournament-style events embrace the Zombie Round. Imagine a Democratic primary where an early eliminated John Edwards comes back into contention at the convention and secures the nomination by eating both Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s brains. We’re talking drama, baby!

GUILFOILE: Stay tuned.

« Return to the judge’s decision for this match.

The Standings


• Round One •

Half of a Yellow Sun v. Absurdistan
judged by Brady Udall

The Echo Maker v. The Emperor’s Children
judged by Marcus Sakey

Firmin v. Brookland
judged by Sarah Hepola

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo v. The Road
judged by Maria Schneider

Arthur and George v. One Good Turn
judged by Kate Schlegel

The Lay of the Land v. English, August
judged by Colin Meloy

Alentejo Blue v. Apex Hides the Hurt
judged by Dan Chaon

Against the Day v. Pride of Baghdad
judged by Anthony Doerr

• Round Two •

Half of a Yellow Sun v. The Emperor’s Children
judged by Jessa Crispin

Firmin v. The Road
judged by Mark Sarvas

One Good Turn v. The Lay of the Land
judged by Maud Newton

Alentejo Blue v. Against the Day
judged by Sam Lipsyte


Half of a Yellow Sun v. The Road
judged by Elizabeth Gaffney

One Good Turn v. Against the Day
judged by Sasha Frere-Jones


The Road v. Against the Day
judged by Andrew Womack

One Good Turn v. Absurdistan
judged by Rosecrans Baldwin


The Road v. Absurdistan
All Judges + Jessica Francis Kane