Tournament Of Books 2016 | Progress & Predictions


The time has finally come! I’ve been reading as feverishly as possible, and to date, have read eight of the final 16, DNFed two, and am currently reading two titles. I’m, of course, hopeful I can fit a few more in (specifically The Sympathizer) before their respective discussion dates, but we shall see.

The Tournament officially kicked off yesterday with the Play-In Round between Tyler’s A Spool Of Blue Thread and Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries. I’m happy the judges went with A Spool Of Blue Thread for two reasons: 1) I liked it, and 2) it was the one between the two I had actually read. Go me.

In case you’re curious regarding my progress since the list was first announced, here’s an updated list for you with titles crossed off if I’ve either completed or DNFed:

Ban En Banlieueby Bhanu Kapil

Bats Of The Republicby Zachary Thomas Dodson

The Book Of Aronby Jim Shepard (currently reading)

Fates And Furiesby Lauren Groff (Haiku Review)

The Invadersby Karolina Waclawiak (Haiku Review)

A Little Lifeby Hanya Yanagihara (Review)

The New Worldby Chris Adrian & Eli Horowitz (currently reading)

Oreoby Fran Ross (DNF)

Our Souls At Nightby Kent Haruf

The Selloutby Paul Beatty (Haiku Review)

A Spool Of Blue Threadby Anne Tyler (Review)

The Story Of My Teethby Valeria Luiselli (DNF)

The Sympathizerby Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Tsar Of Love And Technoby Anthony Marra (Haiku Review)

The Turner Houseby Angela Flournoy

The Whitesby Harry Brandt/Richard Price (Haiku Review)

Now, onto The Bracket. I painstakingly spent hours (okay, minutes) of intense thought over my choices… and, of course, there is always the chance (and likelihood) of an upset or two… but here’s where I settled:


Only time and intense deliberation will tell if any of my predictions will stand against the test of the judges wrath/opinions! Will you be playing along with this year’s Tournament of Books?


  • Interesting that both you and Shannon have Love & Techno beating out A Little Life! Now I definitely have to read it! Hoping to get to it this year.

    • I think, in terms of the Tournament, A Little Life is too big for it’s britches, and The Tsar will take it down… but we shall see, as ALL has QUITE the following. I’d honestly be fine either way since I really loved both… but a little part of me wants The Tsar to edge over the line to take it. YES READ IT 🙂

  • I’m so sad that it’s almost certain A Little Life and Tsar will go up against one another early on. In my bracket though I have ALL coming back (zombie) and going back up against Tsar. That would be my ideal… but we shall see.

    • This was my prediction, too! The fact that the guest judge (who is a psychologist) is judging ALL vs. Tsar has me worried ALL will go down. No doubt it will be back, though. I really hope both are there in the end!

      • How fun would it be to get them to the end for the multiple judging? *Crosses Fingers*

      • I think whichever one loses will make it back around as a zombie… part of me wants The Tsar to take the win at least in that match-up…. not for any real reason other than “just because”…

    • At least it’s a “fair” match-up.. and it will certainly be interesting to say the least. I think whichever one loses will come back as zombie for sure… but sometimes it’s just so hard to predict…

  • I’ve read five on the bracket and DNF’d two before giving up completely on reading any others. I figured I’d read what had interested me, and that was good enough. I would like to see A Little Life advance to the end. I hope it’s a zombie pick if it gets knocked out.

    • 5 is pretty good! I think it’s going to get kicked out and then return as a zombie… but that’s just intuition 🙂

  • Eight books! Not too shabby. I just picked up Tsar from the library today, so I am going to have to read that next I guess!

    • I think The Tsar is totally worth a read in general, but also because I think it’s going to go far in the ToB. Obviously I could see A Little Life taking it out… but somehow I think it will persevere.

  • I’m not playing, but I am following along. It’s one of the most fun bookish events, IMO. The judgements and commentary are always entertaining. I’d like to see a surprise winner; FaF and ALL are so popular compared to some of the other books that it’d be nice to have one of them win.

    • I like this event because it’s less “literary” in the serious way, and yet intelligent and smart. It also highlights some lesser known fiction, which I like as well.

  • Nice progress with the books! I just wanted to stop by, I’d say more but my brain is fried from being in trial all day 🙂

    After Ave. of Mysteries was knocked out I went ahead and picked up Blue Thread on audio, I’m getting through it — but I hate Abby with all the irritability I can manage. Have to decide if I can handle listening to it before bed tonight. 🙂

    • I actually liked Blue Thread (and also listened to it on audio)… not in any life-long-lasting-earth-shattering way… but I did enjoy it.

  • I was SURE that Fates and Furies was going to advance way farther than it has turned out to do! It’s gotten so much buzz and attention, and people seem really enthusiastic about it, and far less enthusiastic (or, more measuredly enthusiastic) about Bats of the Republic.

  • Wow, you have made great progress through these! The only one I’ve read is The Tsar of Love and Techno and I loved it so much, I’m rooting for it to win 🙂

  • You’re a ToB hero. Sorry that your bracket broke so early haha