I’ve been a little distant from the Tournament of Books this year, but I’m going to hop in with a bracket and hope it rekindles my love affair. My effort to read more tournament titles, particularly after the short list came out, was a bit of a failure. I was bummed that some of my favorites from the long list didn’t make the cut (Welcome to Braggsville, I’m looking at you) and wasn’t overly blown away by the choices in front of me. All told, I read 8 of the final titles and I thought the bracket wouldn’t be too hard. Nope.
Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel, by Zachary Thomas Dodson
The Turner House, by Angela Flourney
Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff
Our Souls at Night, by Kent Haruf
The Tsar of Love and Techno, by Anthony Marra
Oreo, by Fran Ross
The Book of Aron, by Jim Shepard
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara
The bracket was damn near impossible, you guys. Very few of the books I read were up against each other, so there was a bunch of speculation involved. I take my favorites into consideration, but make my choices based on what I think will win, not necessarily what I want to win. Game face!
Let’s be real here, most of the outer brackets were guesses. I’d say I’m confident on maybe two of them (I can’t see Fates and Furies or The Tsar of Love and Techno being knocked out in round one). It never fails that the big, buzzy title gets knocked out early, so I’m hedging my bets that A Little Life’s journey will be interrupted. Never fear, though! I’d bet a ridiculous amount of money that it reappears as a Zombie Pick to hop back in. Picking the second Zombie was super difficult this year (the books are so polarizing!), but The Tsar of Love and Techno is so well loved and such a universally beautiful book that it’s even my pick for the overall Rooster.
If you’re following along, how do you see things playing out?