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20th January
written by Steph
Apologies for the double post, but I couldn't contain myself! 'Tis the most wonderful time of the year, everyone! The time of year when The Morning News truly starts revving up for their annual Tournament of Books! The (incredibly) long list was released a while back, but today they finally announced what the 16 contenders vying for the top spot will be... Anxious to see this list? So was I! Here are your sweet sixteen: The first year I was aware of the ToB, I had read a grand total of ZERO books when the list was released. Last year, I had read two. This year? THREE! I've already read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Room, and Freedom. Of the remaining contenders, I have copies of : A Visit From the Goon Squad, Bloodroot, So Much for That, and Super Sad True Love Story. I would also like to read Skippy Dies at some point, and would maybe read The Finkler Question. I have not heard of (or if I have, I've since forgotten) Nox, Bad Marie, Lord of Misrule, Next, Model Home, Kapitoil, or Savages. I think this year promises some GREAT competition and I'll be anxious to see how things go when the tournament kicks off on March 7, 2011. Not sure how this will affect my TBR reading plans, as I've been trying to avoid the library as a well in a bid to read my own books. Then again, maybe it doesn't really matter that I haven't read all the entrants because what are the odds that Freedom isn't going to take this? Anyone placing bets? Who are you rooting for? [For the record, I'm not saying that I want Freedom to win, just that I think it will.]


  1. I’ve read 4 (loved Room & Skippy Dies, didn’t like So Much For That or The Finkler Question) I’m hoping to read The Lord of Misrule and Super Sad Love Story soon. It looks like a great list and I look forward to following what happens.

  2. 01/20/2011

    I saw the announcement on my facebook feed earlier today and then completely forgot to look it up. Thanks for the list! As someone who was disappointed in Lemon Cake, I’ll be curious to see what they have to say about that one. I haven’t read any of the others but several of them are on my virtual TBR list, although Freedom is not one of them. Franzen’s novels just don’t appeal to me.

  3. 01/20/2011

    I posted on the same thing today! And I am definitely rooting for Nox by Anne Carson. Was pleasantly SHOCKED to see it on the short list. It was my favorite read of last year, and I feel a sudden and overwhelming need to promote it to all. Would be the bomb if it won!

  4. 01/21/2011

    Exciting!… er… how does the Tournament work? Why is it called a Tournament?

  5. 01/23/2011

    @ Jackie: It really does look like a great lineup this year. There aren’t any obvious clunkers, in my opinion, though I admit that not all of them appeal. I’ll definitely be eager to see how it all shakes out!
    @ Lesley: I do tend to enjoy Franzen’s writing, but I admit Freedom is not my favorite book by him. It’s weird to say this, as I haven’t even read it, but I’m rooting for Skippy Dies!
    @ Frances: I went back and looked at your Nox post and I agree that it’s very cool that it made the shortlist. At the very least, I’m sure it will bring it more readers, which is really the best fallout of this whole thing!
    @ Alex: The ToB is a basketball style tournament (like the sweet 16 NCAA in basketball), where 16 books go head to head until one winner is picked. There books are assigned their first rounds based on seeding, and one judge reads the two books in the match-up and picks a winner. As each book advances, it goes up against another winner, until there are two finalists… and then ALL the judges read those two finalists and pick a winner. It’s super fun for book nerds as the judging is always really funny and it gets a lot of great discussion going. For more details, the official page is here:

  6. 01/24/2011

    Interesting shortlist, Steph! I think ‘Freedom’ is definitely the favourite, but I think the dark horses are ‘Room’, ‘The Finkler Question’, ‘Skippy Dies’ (has got so many rave reviews) and ‘So Much for that’ (because Lionel Shriver will always be a contender). I have only read ‘Room’ from that list, and am hoping to read ‘The Finkler Question’ sometime. Looking forward to March 7 🙂

  7. 01/24/2011

    I saw this announcement, and was so excited that I have already read a couple of these books! I am going to be following this competition more closely than last year, and will be excited to see who takes the prize!

  8. 01/24/2011

    I forgot to mention this. Wonderful to know that you have already read three books from the shortlist! Awesome!

  9. 01/25/2011

    @ Vishy: I think it would certainly be a lot more interesting if Freedom didn’t win, but I find it really hard to believe that it won’t take the top prize. Either way, I think we’ll be in for interesting judging!
    @ zibilee: It’s always exciting when the books on the list aren’t completely unknown. I’m happy to see that many books I’ve been wanting to read are on the list – hopefully this will give me the push I need to finally read them!

  10. 01/28/2011

    I’m going to read The Finkler Question because it’s been selected for our book group. I don’t read many male writers, so it’s about time I started it!

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