Let the Tournament (of Books), Begin!

Posted 7 March, 2016 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

tournament or books first round bracket

Let the games begin! Today is the first day for the 2016 Tournament of Books. So it was time to queue up the brackets and see where things fall. I did abysmally in my predictions last year, but maybe this year I’ll do better.

Pre-Tournament Play-In Match:

Avenue of Mysteries vs. A Spool of Blue Thread

I’m probably about 75% of the way through John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries and despite feeling like I’ve read this book before, I am enjoying it. I’ve had zero interest in A Spool of Blue Thread, so I’m rooting for the Irving novel. This is far from my most informed decision.

Tournament Proper

Fates and Furies vs. Bats of the Republic

I’ve read both of these books, at this point I’m rooting for Fates to take the Rooster. It hate it that Bats was matched up against it this early in the Tournament because I think Bats is an excellent and unique book in its own right. But I will be very surprised if it takes out the sheer literary amazingness of Groff’s Fates & Furies.

The Sympathizer vs. Oreo

I haven’t reviewed The Sympathizer yet, but I was pretty amazed by it. I thought the author did an astounding job in taking this American back to the horrors of the Vietnam war – and how those horrors were perpetrated on both sides. Oreo, on the other hand, I couldn’t even get more than fifty or so pages into. I’m down for The Sympathizer.

The Turner House vs. Ban en Banlieue

I only read The Turner House and I enjoyed it. I didn’t make it to Ban en Banlieue, so I can’t make too much of an educated guess on this one – but The Turner House is a solid read.

Our Souls at Night vs. The Whites

Look, I don’t think that Our Souls at Night will take the Rooster, but if The Whites knocks it out in the first round I will be pissed. As I said in my review I think that Our Souls at Night is a gorgeous piece of writing, while The Whites is just… not.

A Little Life vs. The New World

I didn’t particularly care for either of these titles, but I think that A Little Life has both a solid fan base and actual beautiful writing in its corner. The New World, for me, had neither of those and its most redeeming quality was the fact that it was very, very short.

The Book of Aron vs. The Tsar of Love and Techno

Both of these books were well written and readable. (I don’t think I’ve reviewed either of them). But as much as I love holocaust literature The Book of Aron was more susceptible to old tired tropes that are a part of that genre. The Tsar of Love and Techno, on the other hand, created a whole new historical fiction world for me. I’ve not read much about the U.S.S.R. or how Russia is after the fall of the U.S.S.R. and The Tsar of Love and Techno made me want to learn more.

Avenue of Mysteries (?) vs. The Story of My Teeth

This is making the assumption that Avenue of Mysteries wins the play-in round. But regardless, I know little to nothing about The Story of My Teeth, other than the fact that a few of my most trusted bloggers DNFed it or didn’t enjoy it. Here’s hoping for Avenue of Mysteries.

The Sellout vs. The Invaders

I’m probably going to be in the minority here, but I have to root for The Invaders. That book, so slim, yet so epic was fabulous to me. The Sellout was excellent, no doubt. It’s a fabulous satire, laugh out loud funny at times, but The Invaders has my heart.

So, these are my picks for round one. How are you feeling Reader? Will you be following along? 

April @ The Steadfast Reader


  • I’m going to follow along via you! 🙂

  • I just did my bracket all the way to the end and…good lord it was hard. I have no idea on so many of them!

    • I did that last year and failed SO BADLY that I thought I might try phase by phase this year, just for fun. 😀

  • So many TOB books that I want to read here! The only ones I’ve actually read on here are F&F and A Little Life…but I hope to get to others particularly The Invaders, which your review got me interested in. Good luck on your predictions this year!

  • My bracket is fairly similar to yours, and will be hitting the blog on Wednesday! I’m ready for this to get going, despite not getting to as many of the books as I had hoped!

    • Yeah, I didn’t realize that the play in round didn’t start until tomorrow. C’est la vie! Can’t wait to see your picks! 🙂

  • Mine looks very similar to yours but I advanced The Sellout.