Vasilly and I chatted about our Tournament of Books disappointments when the list of finalists was published on January 7, but I didn't post on the roster immediately as has been my habit in previous years. Primarily because I was really cheesed off that there was nothing on that list that I could get behind in this yearly celebration of undisciplined criticism. I enjoy the ridiculousness of it all. And they ruined it for me (she pouted).
My favorite reads of last year were strong favorites, books that stood out far above the other reads of the year - The Infatuations (with UK cover design of course) by Javier Marias, a spinoff from the Marias read in Balzac's Colonel Chabert, and The Tenth of December by George Saunders. Marias didn't even make the long list for this event (although the National Book Critics Circle did see fit to make The Infatuations a finalist on their list last week), but Saunders did and I considered his inclusion in the short list a given. I bet a lot of readers thought the same. But no. Not there.
So in the spirit of the event, I'm considering comparing the winner of each round in the ToBX to The Tenth of December in order to highlight the egregious error that has been made. This will entail a fair amount of work for me though, and I'm hoping that if I include the long list here, you will all point me to a title I can get behind. So that I can embrace the fun and ridiculousness without taking on a ridiculous amount of pseudo-analysis.
- At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
- The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto
- The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
- How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
- The Dinner by Herman Koch
- The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Long Division by Kiese Laymon
- The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
- Hill William by Scott McClanahan
- The Son by Philipp Meyer
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
- The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara
- (And from the Pre-Tournament Playoff Round) Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel
So what do you love here? I really want to know. I don't want to give up on my favorite March Madness celebration.