The Tournament of Books 2018

Hey guys! If you follow me on the social medias, you may have noticed my first read of the year is the late Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since seeing the American film adaptation in 2011, I always wanted to read the source text. The TBR jar hath spoken that this is the first read of 2018.

However, I’ve recently started listening to a podcast called So Many Damn Books, and Christopher and Drew have made me aware of this amazing thing that happens in March that I have to be a part of.

It’s called The Tournament of Books, and it’s an annual event in March (during March Madness) where 18 of “the best” books from the previous year are pitted against each other, March Madness bracket-like style, and voted on by prominent people in the literary world.

Here’s how it works:

“Each weekday in March, starting March 7, 2018, two of the books below will be read and considered by one of our judges (also listed below). One book from the “match” will be chosen to advance, with the judge required to explain in detail how he or she came to their decision. Then the judge’s decision is evaluated first by our official commentators, then by you, the Rooster fan, wherein you politely and respectfully describe how your heart was broken and your mind inflamed by such erroneous arrogance. And the next day we do it all over again.”

It’s hosted by The Morning News, an independent web ’zine, published weekdays since 1999. If you’re interested in learning more about this year’s Tournament of Books, click here.

So, what I’m saying is, I’m going to be participating this year, and probably in the years to come. I think it’s a fun way to read current books, talk about books, and meet people who also love books. In fact, Christopher and Drew met in the comment section of the Tournament of Books years ago and started a podcast! They are fantastic, and I’m really excited to participate this year. Sorry, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… Maybe I’ll pick you back up after the tournament in March; however, I also have to read a few books in anticipation of this year’s adaptations, like VanderMeer’s Annihilation and Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. So I guess we’ll see… I love my TBR jar, buuuuut sometimes I feel like I should just choose what book to read when I’m in a certain mood. So I may not continue the TBR jar in 2018. We’ll see. It’s a cute concept, and it’ll help me read those books that I want to read but also don’t want to read. Like Crime and Punishment. But I also have an agenda.

Back to the tournament: the bracket isn’t made yet, but the books have been announced, and I have not read a single one! Shows how much of a book failure I am… I want to read them all, of course, but c’mon, do you really think I can read 18 books within 3 months? I think not. Especially with my full-time work schedule and all the crap that gets in the way of reading. I may try aiming for reading half. Or three-fourths. Or however many I can get through until March. Here’s the list of books in this year’s Tournament of Books and whether I’m planning on reading it or not.

Tournament of Books 2018

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

About: Two best friends and artistic partners who are about to make their big break when a long lost friend comes back seeking retribution.
Likelihood of reading this one: 4/5

The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch

About: A near-future world where Earth is a war-torn battleground and what citizens are left now live on a platform floating above their destroyed home.
Likelihood of reading this one: 4.5/5

Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim

About: Two Asian-American outcasts who bond over their love of comics and also an alternative/future universe featuring a team of superheroes.
Likelihood of reading this one: 3.5/5

The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis

About: What appears to be a nonfiction book about a man who realized he was gay and also realized he was probably going to be a disappointment to his family.
Likelihood of reading this one: 1/5

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

About: A civil war is impending on two secret lovers’ homeland, and they make the hard decision to step into the unknown and leave their home behind.
Likelihood of reading this one: 1.5/5

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin

About: A woman in the hospital and a boy by her side, together telling a haunting story, though the two are not related.
Likelihood of reading this one: 3/5

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong

About: A 30-year-old woman who quits her job, leaves town, and moves back in with her parent.
Likelihood of reading this one: 2/5

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

About: A couple, how/why they got together, and how/why this simple act affects the entirety of Idaho.
Likelihood of reading this one: 4/5

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

About: A freshman at Harvard who winds up in Hungary to teach English during the summer, where she realizes she is doomed to become a writer.
Likelihood of reading this one: 1/5

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

About: Abraham Lincoln’s dead son and his midnight trip to the crypt to visit his son’s body.
Likelihood of reading: 1/5

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

About: A pregnant immigrant who winds up in jail, and a woman who can’t get pregnant but craves to be a mother.
Likelihood of reading this one: 1.5/5

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

About: A woman becomes the first female naval diver and slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her father’s disappearance.
Likelihood of reading this one: 1.5/5

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

About: In her teens, a women fell in love and brought a child into the world, but when she found out the man was married, she rejected him and married someone else, which would later bring many consequences.
Likelihood of reading this one: 2/5

Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac

About: I honestly don’t even know how to explain this one so just go look it up..
Likelihood of reading this one: 2/5

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

About: A young boy has mixed-race parents, one of whom was in jail and the other is addicted to drugs, and somewhere in there is the ghost of another young boy.
Likelihood of reading this one: 2/5

So Much Blue by Percival Everett

About: A man is working on his masterpiece of a painting and has a lot of regrets and thoughts.
Likelihood of reading: 1.5/5

Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

About: A wrestler in his senior year falls in love and begins to slip.
Likelihood of reading: 2.5

White Tears by Hari Kunzru

About: Two young men post a fake video on the internet, only to discover it’s not so fake after all, and it takes them on a spiraling journey back through history.
Likelihood of reading this one: 1/5

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Whew! Definitely a wide array of literature. There’s a lot of diverse, unique books here, and I know I won’t get to them all, so I’ll probably start with whatever most appeals to me, and work my way down until March.

I think what’s really great about this tournament is that it gets you to read books you might not normally read, maybe books outside your comfort zone. And honestly, anything that promotes reading is awesome in my mind.

Let me know if you guys have ever participated in this before! And if you’re a newcomer like me, let me know if you plan on participating and what books you intend to read! Please check out this awesome tournament! I’ll keep you guys posted all through March with daily blog posts on general info, eliminations and advances, and highlights from this event.

Happy reading, guys! I hope you’ll all join me in reading these breakout books from 2017.

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My name is Alyssa and I am a bookworm. I have a degree in English and am the metadata support clerk at Junior Library Guild. I am also the Lead Proofreader for Flash Fiction Magazine. Other than that, I'm just a loser who loves books.

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