It’s Tournament of Books Time!

It’s my very favorite time of year . . .

Time for the Morning News Tournament of Books!


The Tournament of Books (aka the ToB) is basically the literary version of March Madness, hosted every spring by The Morning News. This year is the tenth (!) anniversary of ToB, and it’s going to be fun. A list of 16 (or so) finalists is posted every year, chosen from the previous year’s fiction releases—though not necessarily from the bestseller lists. Usually the list will contain at least a few bestsellers, some books that got a lot of buzz in the book world even if they didn’t make the bestseller lists, and some quirky titles that most people probably missed but stood out in some way.

In March, the 16 finalists will be paired off in a March Madness style tournament bracket, and each pair of books will be read by the chosen judge for that round, who will choose one to advance to the next round, explaining just what it was about that book that made them pick it. There is also commentary from the ToB Chairmen, which is always entertaining, and readers chiming in from all over the globe, betting and predicting and having a blast.

At the end, two books will remain. Those two books are read and judged by the entire panel of judges, and the winner wins the crown of Rooster of 2014.

If you’re still confused, NPR has a great story on the ToB here, from one of its earlier years.

The Tournament of Books is truly becoming like March Madness for bookworms, and it’s an event that I personally look forward to. Starting last year, I decided that I would challenge myself to read as many of the books on the ToB shortlist as possible between the time of the announcement and the tournament itself. I only made it through about half of last year’s list, but I discovered some great books that way and knocked several more out of my TBR (to be read) pile.

This year, I’m going to try to make it through all of the finalists before the tournament starts. And to make it more fun, once each round is posted in March, I’ll share my picks with you and make a few predictions about who I think will win!

This year’s shortlist:

At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Long Division by Kiese Laymon
The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
Hill William by Scott McClanahan
The Son by Philipp Meyer
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
[Winner of the Pre-Tournament Playoff Round

Pre-Tournament Playoff Round: Life After Life by Kate Atkinson vs. Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel

If you’re interested, you can also find the longlist that these books come from here. The longlist is always a great source for interesting books to check out.

I’ve already read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (our December Book of the Month pick) and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (Verdict: I really enjoyed it), so that means I already have two down. But I have yet to read the rest of the list, so it looks like I’ll have my hands (and TBR pile) full until March. I already made a pit stop at my local library yesterday, and picked up The Dinner, The Son, and The People in the Trees. I’ll keep you all posted on my progress, and feel free to join in with me!

Happy reading (and rooster-ing)!



2 thoughts on “It’s Tournament of Books Time!

  1. Pingback: Tournament of Books X: The Goal | Life:Merging

  2. Pingback: Tournament of Books X Mini-Reviews | Between the Lines Book Club

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