Tournament Of Books 2017 | Prepping, Planning, & Strategizing

Ok, folks. It’s time. After obsessively refreshing (and refreshing, and refreshing) The Morning News site, impatiently and anxiously awaiting the short list announcement, I find myself overall quite tickled by the results.

Last year was honestly a bit of a disappointing line-up, and I found myself loosing interest, and never even ended up posting final thoughts, or really much of anything along the way. This year promises to be a different story, I’m hoping.

I apologize in advance for the excessive use of parentheses, but… whatever, get over it. I have.

At the time of the list announcement, I have read a whopping grand total of three of the short list selections (The Mothers, The Vegetarian, and Grief Is The Thing With Feathers). I own one additional book (Homegoing), and am currently listening to one (okay, two) other(s) via audiobook (The Underground Railroad and My Name Is Lucy Barton).

My strategy going forward is to focus on reading the ones I wanted to read back when I first heard about them (i.e. Homegoing, All The Birds In The Sky, Version Control, We Love You Charlie Freeman). Depending on how quickly, or not, I get through those will determine what others I end up picking up. And, let’s be honest, I’m at the mercy of my library holds list and my mad skills in working the system in my favor. (Insert evil laugh track here).

The “play in” this year will be between the three sports related books (Sudden Death, Theย Sport of Kings, and The Throwback Special). Barf, not really my thing. I’m not going to even consider reading any of those until I know which one makes the final sixteen… and honestly, probably not even then.

There are also one or two I’m just not digging, and will pretty much 100% for sure not be getting to, which is cool by me. Lastly there are some real chunksters on the list this time around (The Nix, Version Control, The Sport Of Kings), although they could have been realllllllly mean and included the over 1,200 page Jerusalem, which I *NEVER* would have even considered trying to pick up at this time in my life… or ever.

So, I have a plan, let’s put it into action! Any of you out there reading along for ToB17? I’d love to chat about it, and hear your reading strategy.


  • LouLouReads

    There are a few books on here that I really want to read (The Underground Railway, Homegoing, My Name is Lucy Barton), and I’d never heard of Moonglow before but it sounds *great*, so I’m tempted. I suspect, though, that if I actually formally announced I was doing it, I’d immediately lose all interest in those books, so it would feel like work. Maybe I will read just enough to allow me to take part in the discussions? Like you, I’m at the mercy of the library list, and it’s unlikely that they’ll order all or even most of these in.

    • I always find having read at least several allow me to better enjoy the discussions, and have strong opinions of my own. It’s always such a challenge to get to them all, so picking and choosing is what works best for me. Let me know how Moonglow goes if you get to it! (I’d skip Lucy, but I might be in the minority on that one…)

  • Kate

    Not participating but almost all of these books appeared on my thoroughly and independently *cough* researched List of the Best of 2016 According to All the Best of Book Lists – so I’m sure you have lots of good reading ahead.

    • So far it’s going swimmingly, and I’m hoping to relive #ToB15 wherein I discovered a hidden gem of a book, and one I still think about often… All The Birds Singing… that I otherwise likely wouldn’t have read.

  • Ha – love your take on this. Am with you on never ever considering picking up Jerusalem. But – can I plug Throwback Special for a second? It’s a sports book, but not really. It’s more a book about male friendship and the social commentary is great. I really liked it. Plus, it’s short.
    Good luck!!

    • Yes, I just saw it on your “not enough attention” list… if that ends up being the play in, I’ll likely at least give it a try. I’m just not into football… or male friendships… HA! But I *AM* into social commentary ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kailana

    Looks like you will have a lot of fun! There are some books that I really would like to get to in 2017 that happen to be on the list. Really should get to them!

  • Ha! I love that we’re sharing a brain on many of these. I’m about to start Lydia Millet’s book on audio and have a feeling it’s going to be a good one for me (or at least I hope so!)

    • Let me know how that one goes… it’s one of the ones I was going to skip all together,but if you tell me otherwise……..

  • My only strategy is to read and enjoy all the judgings! I am pleased with myself for having read, I think, five of the shortlisted books, including two that I think are likely to go far, Homegoing and The Underground Railroad. Of the ones I haven’t read, several I missed out on purpose (The Vegetarian, My Name Is Lucy Barton), and the big one that I haven’t yet read and want to is Version Control, which looks weird and cool. May the best book win!

    • I need to get to Homegoing immediately, and think Version Control is going to be coming up next for me. Of the ones you purposefully skipped, I *did* enjoy The Vegetarian quite a bit, but not enough to push you to give it a chance. Lucy was the worst, good choice ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m pumped to see the bracket!!!

  • Good luck! I would love to try to get three books in before March but am not certain if I will be able to do so. I was quite impressed with the list this year too and cannot wait to see what happens with the judging!

    • As always, it’ll come down to what’s matched up against what. I would love to sit in on those discussion meetings… I’m sure it’s debated how far they want to push it, and how much they want to mess with us. Love it ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy reading!

  • Sarah dePina

    Don’t be put off by the sports theme, Throwback Special was one of the best books I read in 2016, totally took me by surprise.

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