The Tournament of Books brackets have just been released so it is time to get some thoughts going and meet your new blogger, Steven!
Wassup bitcheeees! I’m writing this largely against my will but hey in return I am getting the return to me of WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY MINE which is to say a Waterpik that hopefully doesn’t explode when I use it next time. (Edit: just to be clear, I didn’t steal his Waterpik, I’m just doing him a favour in return for this) What, I’m too lazy to floss! I am Steven, brother of the writer of this here blog and the man, nay, champion, who introduced her to the Tournament of Books. If I had to choose I’d take TV over books ANY DAY OF THE WEEK but since I don’t, here are the thoughts on this year’s TOB!
You guys, this year’s is the worst TOB! CONTROVERSIAL! But seriously, 2012 was a dud year for books. I KNOW I KNOW I only read very few of them. BUT ALLOW ME TO BE HISTRIONIC. I’ve read half of this year’s selection, and while that may or may not be representative I have found it much less appealing than other years’ half selections that I read. Last year we had The Sisters Brothers (The Best Brothers), Open City, The Sense of an Ending, The Cat’s Table and The Art of Fielding COME ONE. This year it’s like we have 10 Marriage Plots (i.e. not very good books) (Edit: This is not a statement endorsed by this blog but rather a long term feud. See here.) But okies, to the questions:
What is your favourite book you’ve read so far?
Well obvs Bring Up the Bodies is the best. Until I read The Round House just a couple o days ago it was the one shining star of the books I’ve read this year. Seriously you guys it’s so good. I know you know because everyone says so, but it really deserves all the accolades it’s been getting. So good! And yeah my other choice is The Round House, which is a beautiful, sad coming of age tale set on a Native American reservation told in a simple, laconic style and also I learned a whole lot about Native American people from it you guys! Yeah so that was also really good.
As you know I adored Arcadia but another winner is Bring Up the Bodies. I always seem to forget about that one because I expected greatness and greatness was predictably delivered. As were the prizes.
I so wanted to say Gone Girl, which actually isn’t bad but CERTAINLY doesn’t deserve some of the hype it’s got. It’s an OK crime book! Totes fun! Not badly written! THAT’S ALL. Now certainly crime books should not be ostracised based on their genre. Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore is very much a crime book but is also one of the best Australian pieces of fiction that I have read. But also real talk Gone Girl just wasn’t that good yall! But it WAS beaten to the least favourite by Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (who turns out to be a dude whaaaat). This was a well written book about things I didn’t care about AT ALL. All romance and Italy and stuff (and one particularly dire chapter set in Edinburgh that read like plot cast offs of the sad rich white people TOB classic A Visit From the Goon Squad. But in a bad way). Blech. NOPE. Don’t care that it was well written, it was a dud.
I’m actually quite enjoying Beautiful Ruins but your assessment of the Edinburgh chapter is super accurate. I reserve my special hatred for The Fault in Our Stars. “What?” I hear you say, “You gave that a pretty favourable review a while ago!” I know, but I am fickle like that. Also IT IS A BOOK FOR TEENS. IT IS NOT TO BE JUDGED ON THE SAME LEVEL AS A BOOK FOR GROWN UPS! It’s a good teen book and as such is better than a bad adult book. But it does not have the ambition, complexity or style of a good adult book. It’s easy to read, simplistically satisfying and emotionally manipulative. It should not be in this tournament. Also, while I have a thing for all things Trojan war, The Song of Achilles was not amazing.
Which first round match are you looking forward to?
There are a bunch of rounds where I’ve read both books! But also their bracket chart is so tiny! Make a bigger chart guyys. Oh I just noted the high res download underneath. Soz buddies! But OK. I’m looking forward to (hopefully) the Round House CRUSHING Fault in Our Blahs (which I haven’t read but which super turns me off, also I am not a child). Even though that bitch will pop right back up in the Zombie. I’m not really super looking forward to the others this year (as mentioned). A sad match will be Bring Up the Bodies against HHhH. HHhH will undoubtedly be eliminated which is sad, because against less amazing competition it could have at least gone a couple of rounds. It is MUCH better than Beautiful Ruins believe you me!
Unfortunately there are no rounds where I’ve read both books. Hopefully that will be rectified soon but as we divided up the list it was inevitable. Also Building Stories is too expensive and Ivyland is near impossible to get your hands on in Australia. Oh wait! I’ve actually read both Arcadia and How Should a Person Be? and I really hope Arcadia wins out but the buzz of How Should a Person Be? (Have you seen all the names blurbing it??) will probably unfairly crush my favourite.
Clockwise! Yellow Birds will win the (Iraq) war (get it?) and go on to defeat May We Be Forgiven, Building Stories over Dear Life, Bring Up the Bodies will steamroller HHhH, How Should a Person Be? over Arcadia, Song of Achilles over Beautiful Ruins, Gone Girl over Ivyland, The Round House over Fault in Our Stars and Orphan Master over Bernadette. Building Stories will then take Yellow Birds (though Caity Weaver is a hilarious wildcard so we shall see [as if ‘we shall see’ and ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about’ doesn’t apply for literally all the rest of these]), Bring Up the Bodies over How Should Person Be?, Gone Girl over Song of Achilles, Round House over Orphan Master. THEN! Round House over Building Stories, Bring Up the Bodies over Gone Girl. Then our two Zombies! Fault and Gone Girl. I know nothing about Natasha Vargas-Cooper (rule #1 is never do any research) but I super hope she hasn’t been drinking the cool aid and instead picks Round House over Fault. Same thing goes for if it’s Round House vs. Gone Girl. And actually same thing goes for the whole Zombie Round altogether, leaving the two best books of the TOB, Round House and Bodies to duke it out mano a mano (or ladyo a ladyo). And then whoever wins, we win. I reckon the backlash is going to hit Bring Up the Bodies hard throughout the TOB, especially in the comments sections on each day’s rounds, but it really is the best book. So I’m hoping for it to win. Second hope is on Round House. If anything else wins (except for the stuff which I haven’t read AND won’t pre-judge like Building Stories or Dear Life) then I’m going to kill myself. Like Patrick Swayze says in The Round House, ‘pain don’t hurt’. Wait I might have a couple of things confused.
Like I said I have barely read half of the brackets and I’m pretty sure every prediction of mine last year was wrong. Disclaimers aside, the only argument I have with Steven is that I think Beautiful Ruins will take The Song of Achilles. And I’m less sure about how Gone Girl is going to play out. Except then it will definitely be a Zombie so it doesn’t really matter up to that point. Another fun fact: for what it’s worth, historically my favourites have always been knocked out second round.
So that’s it until Monday. Bring on the Rooster!