Tournament of Books Catch Up

All right, we have some catching up to do with the Tournament of Books. If Round  #2 was a bloodbath, Rounds #3 and #4 are golden victory romps around here. Round #5….gets a little more complicated.

Round #3

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami versus The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
Judged by Misha Angrist


According to Angrist, the decision wasn’t easy: “To compare these two books is completely unfair and inappropriate…The Last Brother is poetic, wistful, and elegiac. 1Q84 is epic, ambitious, and metaphysical. The former offers a heartbreaking but gratifying story grounded in a tragic slice of history. The latter is a strange, multilayered narrative populated by a complex cast of characters at the mercy of time, space, and the tidal pull of two moons.”

But all’s fair in the ToB. One point for everyone but Mandy.

Round #4

The Stranger’s Child by Allan Hollinghurst versus The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
Judged by Bethanne Kelly Patrick

Last year around this time, The Tiger’s Wife was a big, BIG deal around here. Everyone – EVERYONE – on staff read this novel. We hosted Obreht to a tremendous crowd and have been putting this book in readers’ hands ever since then. Last month it was the #1 bestseller in paperback fiction here AGAIN.


And so we were not at all surprised when Bethanne Kelly Patrick picked The Tiger’s Wife over The Stranger’s Child (which is also a mighty fine book we highly recommend), because we ALL picked The Tiger’s Wife as the winner.

An excerpt from Patrick’s take on it: “If reading The Stranger’s Child can be compared to watching a television series like Downton Abbey, in that time and its inevitable erasures affect the portrait as a whole, then reading The Tiger’s Wife is closer to watching the steampunk-ish Boardwalk Empire, where the whole is more difficult to see, even with so much detail provided.”

One point for everyone!

Round #5

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett versus The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt
Judged by Wil Wheaton

We split on this one, with favor falling to The Sisters Brothers. Three cheers to Ann Patchett for using her new indie bookseller soap box to spread the message of shopping local and supporting your indie, but yeah, most of us chose the other book.


Says Wheaton (and you should really read his entire explanation), “If State of Wonder made me feel like I was struggling to stay awake during The English Patient, The Sisters Brothers made me feel like I was sitting in a movie house in Red Dead Redemption, watching an episode of Deadwood that was written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by the Coen Brothers.”

Raul, Kester, Elizabeth, Hoyt (bracket #1), Julie, Robyn and Clint all scored one point this round.

Current Bookseller Standing:

Robyn – 4
Elizabeth – 4
Julie – 4
Kester – 4
Hoyt #1 – 4
Hoyt #2 – 3
Raul – 3
Trevor – 3
Clint – 3
Michael – 3
Jenn S. – 2
Mandy – 2

Tomorrow: Swamplandia versus The Cat’s Table. Stay tuned!

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