Interest in a Tournament of Books club?
December 6, 2018 2:56 PM - Subscribe

The Tournament of Books is a March-madness style match up of contemporary fiction. The actual competition starts in March, but the longlist is already posted and the shortlist will be announced in January. Would there be interest in a 2019 Tournament of Books book club?

As noted in MetaTalk, DirtyOldTown started a Fanfare book club for the 2018 ToB, but we were a little too late by the time we realized we had a critical mass. This year we can start earlier. There are already some posts up for books on the longlist that are waiting for commenters.

I would be willing to organize the posting, but I'm open to suggestions for how to do so. Do we make it an actual "club" style with days that we plan on having read the book by? How do we handle the volume of books (16 in the final tournament)?
posted by tofu_crouton (18 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I'm not real sure how we should organize it, though. It's hard to get the books in the same order sometimes, depending on how availability is at a person's library and/or how many you are willing/able to buy.

From the long list, I'm super stoked to read Alice Isn't Dead and The Book of M.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:52 AM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

TOB love! I'm in for reading and commenting on the shortlist with you all. I don't think I can commit to reading in a particular order/schedule, but I'd be happy to jump in on the individual posts.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 1:21 PM on December 11, 2018

I haven't even read all the books on my list from the 2018 TOB, but I am still totally up for this. I loved that we had the posts last year.
posted by gladly at 6:22 AM on December 12, 2018

I'll play. maybe have folks sign up for books they've read, or will read, by tournament time and have them post a review on why it should or could win/lose a matchup. that way all the books (at least on the shortlist) could be reviewed.

super motivated folks could read 2 and do a tourney style match-up if they want.

I followed the ToB hard for years but have recently backed off trying to read all or most of the competitors because, in the end, i found that I actually enjoyed fewer of the books than i would have liked. it can be exhausting.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:38 AM on December 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

That is the very best idea. Seconded all around.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:30 AM on December 13, 2018

I like that OHenryPacey. The other idea I was going to propose was that we post batches. Post 5 or so at a time and people can read which of those 5 they have time for and can find.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:36 AM on December 13, 2018

Welp the shortlist came out today! Surprise!

I made a spreadsheet for folks to volunteer to post (per OHenryPacey's suggestion).

Except for The Overstory, I haven't read any on the shortlist.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

The shortlist is pretty strong, and thanks to you all i guess i've been sucked into the ToB already for this year.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:09 AM on December 14, 2018

I've read two from the shortlist, which is pretty good for me. I'm picking one I haven't read though, but I loved The Imperfectionists so much, Rachman is my choice. Great way to manage the posting, tofu_crouton.
posted by gladly at 1:49 PM on December 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yay for the unexpectedly early shortlist. I appreciate the expanded reading time.

I also love the posts & reviews idea!

I've only read book so far, My Sister, the Serial Killer, which I enjoyed and wouldn't mind being my zombie pick, although I'm hoping to read two more by the time the zombie vote is due.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2018

Do we make it an actual "club" style with days that we plan on having read the book by? How do we handle the volume of books (16 in the final tournament)?

I think it's worth it to create the actual club just in case people wander through the clubs page, see the active event calendar, and find out that way this is happening--I don't think it needs to be more meaningful than that. It's conceivable someone would read on that schedule but more likely it'd just be a sort of encouragement to contribute something around then (like, even just review/interview links to expand on a simple cover-blurb-only post).
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:54 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just read The Book of M from the long list and I gotta tell you, it got shafted. Imagine the scifi-gone-allegorical goodness of Blindness or Annihilation rendered with the immediacy of a zombie apocalypse story, but with POV characters from both the survivors, and with the grimdark and cruelty excised and replaced with empathy.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:48 AM on December 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

There is now an official club!

I'm on the waitlist for My Sister the Serial Killer. Plan on reading There There over the next few days and then posting that one once I'm through.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:00 AM on December 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the spreadsheet, and this thread! I've been bad about reading for a while, and this is a good kick in the pants.

I've started into Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, and it starts out pretty brutal, but gets ... less. Violence to children, even implied, is often hard for me to read.

America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo, Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, and The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner are in my reading queue, but I also have also checked out Mary Beard's How Do We Look, so I should probably read that soon :)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on January 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

I am not sure how March Madness works (that's a sportsball thing, right?) but I need a kick in the pants to read some more so I joined the club.

When we volunteer for a book are we volunteering to read it, read it and make a post about it, anything else? Are we all reading all the books or just the ones we volunteer for?

I apologize if this is all explained somewhere and I missed it. As an excuse, I have only finished half my coffee this morning - so far - and it's decaf.

(And then it occurred to me to google Tournament of Books, which is helpful but I'm still not completely sure I get it).
posted by bunderful at 5:45 AM on February 15, 2019

Just the one you volunteer for.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2019

When we volunteer for a book are we volunteering to read it, read it and make a post about it, anything else? Are we all reading all the books or just the ones we volunteer for?

The idea is that, with the volunteers posting. we have a jumping off point for discussion once the tournament begins. Come tournament time, the bracket is where you will find the "matchups" wherein a judge will be reviewing two books at once and picking one to advance, while the other is "eliminated". I put that in scare quotes because over the years the ToB has devised a way to resurrect fan favorites as zombies to re-animate later in the tournament.

So read any book(s) you want, the more you read the more you can participate in discussions about the various books, and thanks for volunteering if you choose to pick a book still open on the spreadsheet.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:48 AM on February 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's almost tournament time, and this year I've read more of the contenders than I've ever had before. Knowning that there would be posts about them here definitely helped with that. Thanks y'all.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:56 AM on February 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

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