It's here! The annual Tournament of Books, the bracketed contest that holds so much more appeal than March Madness (sorry, basketball fans, but I just can't get into it).
This year's list, as The Morning News notes, holds a few twists: Anthony Doerr's incredible novel, All the Light We Cannot See, is included despite a long-standing rule that contributors to TMN are not included on the shortlist; fifteen of the finalists were selected by TMN staff, while the sixteenth (All the Birds, Singing) was recommended by the staff of an independent bookstore--and the TMN staff admits it wasn't even on their radar before then.
So, without further ado, the list:
- Silence Once Begun, by Jesse Ball
- A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall, by Will Chancellor
- All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, by Elena Ferrante
- An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
- Wittgenstein Jr, by Lars Iyer
- A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James
- Redeployment, by Phil Klay
- Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
- The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
- Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng
- Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill
- Adam by Ariel Schrag
- The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
- Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer
- All the Birds, Singing, by Evie Wyld
Of the seven I've already read, the only one I would immediately discount myself is Annihilation; I know I'm in the minority here, but the suspense of the first of Vandermeer's trilogy just didn't cut it for me (and I found myself with no real desire to read the next two volumes in the series).
Redeployment was one of my hands-down favorite reads of 2014, but Station Eleven, An Untamed State, Dept. of Speculation, and Everything I Never Told You are all incredibly strong contenders. As is All the Light We Cannot See; see also: the fact (above) that the TMN staff made an exception to the no-TMN-contributors rules for this year's contest.