by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)
I have made no secret of my love for all things Tournament of Books related. Every year for 16 years, The Morning News holds a tournament in March to advance one of 16 books to a Rooster win. Somewhere in there, they added Camp ToB, a smaller competition, in which one winner is chosen . . . that winner advances to the Tournament of Books challenge for the following March.
The Tournament runners are taking advantage of the 16th anniversary to put on the Super Rooster challenge, and I could NOT be more excited. So, they've set up a bracket featuring each of the 16 champions. The Zombie round this year will revive the books that each champion knocked out of the final spot. (I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the Zombie round, so I've helpfully placed question marks in my bracket. It's the best I can do. *shrug emoji*) You can see the full list of potential Zombies here by scrolling down to each book's entry.
I'm going to spare you my commentary on every match-up, and, as you can see above, there are four champions I haven't read (I'm hoping to get to them before the end of the competition, but we'll see). Here are some general comments:
Cormac McCarthy's The Road is definitely my favorite. I taught that book for years, and while it's quite dark, for me, it's ultimately hopeful. I know this book inside and out and have had a number of amazing teaching experiences discussing everything from the father-son relationship at the book's center to McCarthy's decision not to use quotation marks (students are always divided on this latter decision of style).
Sally Rooney's Normal People is the most recent winner, and this was a close and contentious match. The novel seems to be a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing. I am firmly on the "love it" side. I've only read it once, but I did watch the series, which I also loved unreservedly. I don't think this is the smart pick—I won't be shocked or disappointed at all if either Oyinkan Braithwaite's My Sister, the Serial Killer or Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad (both books I loved unreservedly) knocks out Normal People—but I'm going with my instant emotional reaction here.
The top, right corner of the bracket is the most challenging for me: The Orphan Master's Son, The Sellout, and Station Eleven are all amazing reads. Ultimately, I really like James McBride—I've loved every book of his I've read, and I think he's an amazing and kind and down-to-earth person, based on several appearances of his I've seen—and for The Good Lord Bird, which is a brilliant mix of seriousness and humor.
I'd love to see your bracket! You can download your own here and then share it with us. Chat with us on social media about the Tournament—we're all bound to be surprised!
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