It’s March 7, and parts of the literary world are gearing up for the official start of the Tournament of Books! The event brings the year’s best novels together for 18 matches over the next few days, with a single winner taking home the 2018 Rooster. For those who have never followed the TOB before, it’s a great way to explore some of the best books of the past year, and hear how each judge thinks through their decision.
This year’s contenders range from epic historical novels following the roots and branches of a single family, to science-fiction dystopias that could be harbringers of our future, to quiet introspective prose exploring small slices of life. The shortlist is below:
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
Dear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim
The End of Eddy by Édouard Louis
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
The Idiot by Elif Batuman
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
So Much Blue by Percival Everett
Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash
White Tears by Hari Kunzru
You can download a copy of the brackets from the TOB site here. The opening matches include Lincoln in the Bardo going up against Fever Dream, and Sing, Unburied, Sing versus The Book of Joan.
It’ll be my first year following the Tournament of Books, though I’m certainly not the only Rioter who’s kept up with it. Which books are you excited to read and cheer for?