Friday, February 19, 2016

TOB 2016 Progress

TOB 2016 Progress

Dear Readers,

I've been slowly cracking through the short list of Tournament of Books 2016. For those of you who are unaware of this event or know nothing of the books I speak of, please refer to this blog post to get caught up. Thanks to the 24in48 read-a-thon, I was able to plow through a few of these and have now read eleven of the final seventeen? (really sixteen but we don't know which one will make it - Irving or Tyler). I've decided to forgo reading these until the end - IF I have time. I definitely want to check out the Irving but I feel he has so many good books I have still yet to read... why should I read this one?! The same could be said with Tyler - so many other books people have raved about with her and this one isn't as beloved.

So what have I read?
5 Star ratings:
-A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara - Loved this book so much. It's a tie between this and Tsar for the win.
-The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra - Another book that had me crying. I'm not sure which one I should be rooting for to win!!

4 Star ratings:
-The New World: A Novel by Chris Adrian - I just finished this one last night and it has definitely been haunting my thoughts all day today.
-Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson - Wow, this book is beautiful. The story wasn't as pulled together as I wanted it to be but the imagination and art left me in awe.
-The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen - This was a surprise, I didn't think I would like this as much as I did. There was a lot of history and getting to see things from another perspective (I love that).

3 Star ratings:
-Fates & Furies by Lauren Groff - This wasn't a wow novel (for me). I know some people who loved this one, but it just didn't do it for me. I enjoyed the second half more and maybe that could have been the problem for me.
-The Sellout by Paul Beatty - This was definitely a fun listen to, but I started to get burned out towards the end.
-The Story of my Teeth by Valeria Luiselli - What another surprise! I had no idea that I would semi-enjoy reading this. Although, enjoy might not be the right word... this novel was definitely experimental and will probably get booted early on.
-The Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak - I could relate to the characters in this book growing up in Connecticut, she captured them dead on. I didn't enjoy the ending which pushed my rating of this to the middle.

2 Star ratings:
-Ban En Banlieue by Bahnu Kapil - I felt a little dumb after this one. What am I missing? Is there something intelligent here? I didn't get it.
-Oreo by Fran Ross - Another book leaving me feeling like an idiot. The language alone while not necessarily pretentious - does go to the lengths of leaving behind those who don't have prior knowledge of all the jargon. I was not willing to work that hard for this one I suppose, sorry!

What I still need to read (maybe?):
-The Book of Aron by Jim Shepard - Meh, this one only mildly interests me.
-The Turner House by Angela Flournoy - The huge cast of characters is tiring me out and I  haven't even picked it up. Although, I've heard good things about this one.
-Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf - This one was on my "to read" before the tournament but I don't have the book. To purchase or not?
-The Whites by Harry Brandt - Nope, this doesn't seem like my type of book. If I want to read another police style mystery book, I'll continue on with the Tana French series.

The two books going up against one another:
-Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving - As I said above, so many Irving... so little time.
-A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - I'd read this if I knew it would make the sixteen...

So yeah, there you have it. Also, look for some reviews of the books I read coming up within the next month or so. I didn't decide to review them all but I did try and review as many as I could. How is your TOB reading going? Do you have any speculation as to who will win? I can't wait to get down and dirty in the discussions!

Happy Reading,

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