January 25, 2012

2012 Tournament of Books

I love lists. Currently, I have seven separate lists on my desk. They're all book-related and I keep hoping to make time to write some posts about each of them. But first things first. Andi blogged about The Morning News 2012 Tournament of Books (presented by Field Notes) and after quickly scanning the list of titles, I knew I'd have to add the widget and link to my sidebar. This isn't really a challenge, but I hope plan to read at least eight of the selected books. I already own three and am actively listening to one and have started another on my iPad (with plans to resume reading in another month or so).

Here's the list, followed by the information posted on The Morning News. I've highlighted the books I own (in red) and the books I plan to read (in green). Any comments or other recommendations? Are any better on audio than the printed format?

The 16 Books That Will Compete in Our Eighth Annual Battle Royale

  • Nathacha Appanah, The Last Brother
  • Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
  • Teju Cole, Open City
  • Helen DeWitt, Lightning Rods
  • Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers
  • Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
  • Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding
  • Alan Hollinghurst, Stranger’s Child
  • Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
  • Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
  • Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife
  • Michael Ondaatje, The Cat’s Table
  • Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
  • Donald Ray Pollock, Devil All the Time
  • Karen Russell, Swamplandia!
  • Kate Zambreno, Green Girl

Details for the tournament can be found here. The official tournament begins on March 7th.


  1. The Barnes and Ondaatje are on my personal list for this year, and I hope to read the Russell too.

  2. List lover here. Several of those are on mine.

  3. I can't wait to see which book wins!

  4. Thanks for posting. I even have lists of lists.

  5. I love this event...and they've chosen some good books this year. The ones I've read and loved:
    The Last Brother, The Marriage Plot, Salvage the Bones, and The Tiger’s Wife.

    I also read State of Wonder and finished Swamplandia! recently - both okay reads but not ones I was head over heels for.

    The ones on my TBR pile:
    The Sisters Brothers, The Sense of an Ending, and The Art of Fielding

    I'll be interested in reading your thoughts on these, Les!

  6. I really liked The Sisters Brothers much more than I thought I would. It's one I would like to know your thoughts on if you decide to read it. :D Great choices! I think you'll like The Sense of an Ending, too.

  7. State of Wonder was one of my audio favorites and The Sense of an Ending was a print favorite last year. Of course, I haven't reviewed either yet. Will wait until after my book club discussion next month for State of Wonder. Keep putting off The Sense of an Ending because I loved it so much and feel like I could never do justice to the book...

  8. Sounds like a fun challenge...looks like a perfect header photograph. Wow!

  9. I love lists too! I think there are some amazing sounding books on this one!

  10. Nan - You know, I'm probably not going to try Swamplandia!. I've read some reviews and it just doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy. The Barnes and Ondaatje, however, sound wonderful. It'll be fun to see it we agree on these after reading them. ;)

    Pam - Looking forward to your reviews.

    Kathy - Me, too!

    Ann - Ah! A kindred spirit. Lists of lists. Who doesn't do that? ;)

    Wendy - I saw your review for Swamplandia! and I'm not so sure it's for me. Another friend of mine read it and loved it, but I didn't feel the urge to rush out and grab a copy. He also read (and loved) The Art of Fielding, but that is one I'm anxious to read.

    So tell me, should I stick with The Marriage Plot? I'm listening to the audio version and I'm just not sure if I care for these characters. Does it get more interesting after graduation?

    Andi - The Sister Brothers is not one that caught my attention, but a friend (the same friend I just mentioned in my comment to Wendy) loved it and gave it a 5/5 rating. Maybe I should give it a try. I'll keep you posted and I'm definitely going to read The Sense of an Ending.

    JoAnn - Well, I have the printed version of State of Wonder, so hopefully it's as good as the audio. Boy! Now I'm really anxious to read The Sense of an Ending.

    Bellezza - There are certainly a lot of enticing books to choose from. I hope I can find time to read all the ones I've picked.

    Thanks for your comment about my header. I took the photo from my kitchen window a week or so ago. We've had some gorgeous sunsets!

    Staci - I wonder if most book lovers love lists? ;)

  11. Les, I was hooked pretty early on in the Marriage Plot...but I loved the characters. I hate to tell anyone to stop reading a book I loved! So, maybe stick with it a bit longer before giving up?

  12. Sadly I haven't read any of these! Though I do have 1Q84 on my floor right now...for one day. Have been thinking about listening to State of Wonder. Who just told me they were listening? (ps--sometimes I want to tweet you but boo!!). ;)

  13. Les: I loved The Sisters Brothers -- did not expect to but I read it because so many people whose reading tastes are similar to mine loved it.

    The Marriage Plot -- I'm just "meh" about.

  14. Wendy - I haven't given up, but I'm still not in love with the story or the characters. If I had to pick a word, I'd say I'm lukewarm.

    Trish - 1Q84 makes a great door stop. ;) Sorry I'm not on Twitter! You can always message me on FB, if you like. I check it far too often every day. ;)

    Katya - Hmmm. I'm feeling a bit meh about The Marriage Plot, which is disappointing since I loved Middlesex. I guess I'll at least have to give The Sisters Brothers a try since so many readers have loved it.

  15. Michael Ondaajte's book 'The Cats Table' sounds like a totally enjoyable read. I heard about the book on Elaine Charls's radio show 'The Book Report' and sometimes if a miss her show on Sundays I listen to the recordings on her website 'bookreportradio.com'.
    I didn't know that Michael has written 13 poetry books and he was the author of 'The English Patient'.
    The Cat's Table is actually the dinner table that is furtherest away from the ships captain on a ship. So all the unimportant people sit there.
    The book is about a little boys right of passage at a young age on the ship and the mischief him and his friends get up to and lots of interesting characters that they get to know who are from all walks of life.
    Michael's books are atmospheric and evocative of a place in his books.
    This sounds like a very entertaining book which I can't wait to read.

  16. Hester - Thanks for your comment about The Cat's Table. I struggled through The English Patient, but this one sounds like I may have to give it a try.


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