Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Final Leaderboard

March 29, 2013


After yesterday, it was inevitable a Zombie would win. It did. This Zombie lives up to the Rooster tradition of excellence (The Road, Cloud Atlas, Wolf Hall, etc., etc.).

Championship Match
The Orphan Master’s Son karate chops The Fault in Our Stars

Final Leaderboard

1. 28 Points and Undisputed Winner: Neil R. (tiebreak 11; actual 14)

2. 28 points (and ineligible for glory): Kerry H. (tiebreak: 10)

3. 26 Points: Amy C. (11)

4. 26 Points: Julie W. (10)

5. 25 Points: Melanie C. (11)

6. 25 Points: Dianne H. (no tiebreak)

7. 24 Points: Michelle W.

8. 20 Points: Linda J. (13)

9. 20 Points: Felicity (11)

10. 17 Points: Christophe H. (9) edging out Jennifer N. (no tiebreak)

Neil R. takes home the prize! Congratulations and I hope to see you next year trying to defend your title.

As for the bottom of the pile, no record was set. However, several contestants came in with an impressively low 4 out of a possible 41 points. Stacy, Timothy, and Kevin managed this unenviable feat. KfC takes home the booby prize on tie-breaks. He (as did I) unwisely predicted a close, 10-7, Finals. In reality, Adam Johnson hen-pecked John Green 14-3.

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Leaderboard – Post-Zombie Apocalypse

March 28, 2013


It is an all-Zombie Finals, making this the third consecutive year in which a Zombie will fry the Rooster.

Match 1, Zombie Round
The Fault in Our Stars ate the brain of Building Stories

Match 2, Zombie Round
The Orphan Master’s Son crushed the larynx of Gone Girl

Leaderboard – Post-Zombie Round

1. (20 points) Linda J., Neil R., Felicity, Kerry H.

5. (18 points) Amy C., Julie W.

7. (17 points) Christopher H., Jennifer N., Melanie C.

10. (16 points) Jeremy Z., Andrew B., Michelle W., Lydia P.

It takes 28 points to win. The winner of the contest will come from those with twenty (20) points. (I, of course, am excluded.) An early congratulations to whoever brings home the goods tomorrow.

My consolation to everyone else, particularly if your favorite failed to Final. There is always next year…..

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Leaderboard – End of Round 3

March 26, 2013


Match 3, Round 2
Gone Girl thrilled over Beautiful Ruins.

Match 4, Round 2
How Should a Person Be? was a question left unanswered by Bring Up the Bodies

Match 1, Round 3
Building Stories disappeared The Orphan Master’s Son

Match 2, Round 3
Gone Girl denied the premise of How Should a Person Be?

Leaderboard – End of Round 3

1. (17 points) Christopher H.

2. (16 points) Linda J., Neil R., Felicity, Jeremy Z., Kerry H.

7. (15 points) Mike R.

8. (14 points) Jane Eyre, Jayme G., Julie W., Jed S., Amy C.

Other contenders (Current/Max Points):

Michelle W. (12/28), Diane H. (13/25), Melanie C. (13/25), Jennifer N. (13/25)

I regret to inform you that if your name does not appear above, you have been mathematically eliminated.

Interestingly, no one has picked Building Stories to take it all. I have to think there might be regrets about that. It seems very likely to make the Finals, but can only play spoiler, not king-maker, now. A Building Stories win will force a tie-breaker decision.

Only one contestant still in contention picked The Fault in Our Stars for the Rooster. If it wins, she does.

The Orphan Master’s Sons contingent is the largest and Gone Girl booster club nearly as populous. The precise winner, in the event either of these prevails, will be determined by tie-breakers.

Good luck!

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Leaderboard – Round 2, Match 2

March 20, 2013


Match 1, Round 2
The Orphan Master’s Son prevails over The Fault in Our Stars.

Match 2, Round 2
Building Stories stings May We Be Forgiven

Leaderboard – Round 2, Match 2

1. (Ten points) Neil R., Jed S.

2. (Nine points) Christopher H., Dianne H., Mike R.

3. (Eight points) Lydia P., Jane Eyre, Jayme G., Susan S., Linda J., Julie W., Felicity, Jeremy Z., Jim M., Kerry H.

The leaderboard has been re-shuffled. More of that is likely to come. While Gone Girl and Bring Up the Bodies are the most commonly picked winners of the next two matches, there are dissenters, particularly at the top. If the expected happens, we will have new leaders and an even bigger logjam.

(Having read neither of today’s contenders, I have no comment. I was, obviously, happy to see The Orphan Master’s Son advance.)

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Leaderboard – End of Round 1

March 18, 2013

It turns out that, if your favorite is out and it isn’t either Arcadia or Where’d You Go, Bernadette, then your dreams of Rooster-prognostication glory are pretty much over. Sorry. Those are potential Zombies from the so-far eliminated. This means Dear Life, the book I enjoyed most but was wise enough not to invest my Rooster-hopes in, is gone from the TOB for good. So much worse for the TOB.


Match 6, Round 1
Beautiful Ruins (84%) beat The Song of Achilles (16%) as was expected.

Match 7, Round 1
Bring Up the Bodiesl (84%) advanced against HHhH (16%)

Match 8, Round 1
How Should a Person Be? (12%) upset Arcadia (88%)

Leaderboard – End of Round 1

1. (Perfect: Eight points) Linda J.

2.. (Seven points) Christopher H., Mike R.

6. (Six points) Jed S., Susan S., Jane Eyre, Lydia P., Jayme G., Neil R., Julie W., Felicity, Andrew B., Jeremy Z., Jim M., Kerry H. (me!)

Things are getting exciting. How long can Linda stay perfect? Will Chris or Mike be able to capitalize if she does misstep? Is there a hero among the large, hungry group of six-pointers? Yes, yes, excitement galore and only by the slow release of fowl judgments will these questions be answered. The tension is finger lickin’ good.

Um, anyway, the second round odds:

The Orphan Master’s Son 9-1 favorite over The Fault in Our Stars

Building Stories a 3-1 favorite over May We Be Forgiven

Gone Girl over Beautiful Ruins, 3-1.

Bring Up the Bodies over How Should a Person Be?, 1,000,000-1. (Actually, infinity-to-one, but let’s say there’s a chance.)

I will say that we seem, collectively, to underestimate The Fault in Our Stars, but I hope not. Everything else looks pretty accurate to me and, given my picks, would suit me as well as it is possible to be suited at this point. Not Armani, but still pretty nice.

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Leaderboard – Round 1, Match 5

March 13, 2013

Collectively, contest entrants are 3-2 in picking the TOB. And that includes in the “correct” column the virtual tossup between Building Stories and Dear Life. Why is it so hard to pick TOB winners? (Nevermind that Linda J. rejects the premise.)


Match 4, Round 1
May We Be Forgiven (26%) pulled an upset over Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk (74%)

Match 5, Round 1
Gone Girl (97%) easily bested Ivyland (3%)

Leaderboard – Round 1, Match 5

1. (Perfect: Six points) Linda J.,

2.. (Five points) Mike R., Jed S., Christopher H., Susan S., Jane Eyre,

6. (Four points) Jennifer N., Lydia P., Jayme G., Neil R., Julie W., Felicity, Andrew B., Jeremy Z.

With Gone Girl‘s widely expected victory, no one can match the record low of one point. Plenty are still in it with 2 points though. I am barely caught in the middle with three points.

The final three matches of the first round are all predicted by 80-20 margins or greater. And blemish-free Linda J. has gone with the overdog in each of those matches. That means upsets provide fertile ground for a rankings shake-up.

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Leaderboard – Round 1, Match 3 Results

March 11, 2013

That didn’t take long. I’m out.

The thing is, words can hurt. They can hurts in lots of ways, but especially when the words Charles Yu writes in his bracket are different than the words I write in my bracket. It’s like my words don’t exist, like they fell from my lips into the void that awaits us all with its depth, its darkness, and, most of all, its chilly indifference.


Match 2, Round 1
The Orphan Master’s Son (84%) beat Where’d You Go Bernadette (16%)

Match 3, Round 1
Building Stories (56%) advanced on a technicality over Dear Life (44%)

Leaderboard – Round 1, Match 3

1. (Perfect: Four points) Mike R., Christopher H., Linda J., Susan S.

5. (Three points) Lydia P., Jane Eyre, Jayme G., Neil R., Julie W., Jed S., Felicity, Andrew B., Jeremy Z.

Also, seven contestants could still tie the all-time worst score of one. But I won’t get anybody’s hopes up by naming names until we at least get out of the first round.

Congratulations to the slightly shrunken lead group. Yellow draws attention, as do positive tests for performance enhancing drugs (acid, I presume, because that’s what you’d have to be dropping to prefer Building Stories to Dear Life and this doesn’t mean I am bitter), so watch your backs.

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Round 1, Match 1 Results

March 7, 2013

After the play-in and the first match of Round 1, there is one expected result (by you and most people with a clue, not by me) and one upset (sort of). I have read only one of the five books involved, so any opinion on my part would be uninformed. I haven’t developed either a loathing or a love for any of the five books, so am not yet emotionally invested in the results. Well, except that I think this gives The Orphan Master’s Son an easier route into the Zombie Round. This is a good thing.

Leaderboard after Match 1, Round 1:

1. Two points – Mike R., Christopher H., Linda J., Susan S., and Lydia P.

6. One point – Lots.

Congratulations to our five leaders.

There will be a leaderboard update after tomorrow’s match only if The Orphan Master’s Son loses, because, like 84% of contestants, the leaders all went safe with Johnson’s excellent book. If they remain leaders through the weekend, they will start to differentiate themselves on Monday. They are not unanimous in preferring Building Stories over Dear Life.

Unofficial TOB 2013 Contest: Statistics

March 6, 2013

First, the lies: I don’t mind if my picks stink.

The damn lies: I don’t care which book wins the TOB.

The statistics: The Orphan Master’s Son is the odds on favorite (22%) to win, but not nearly the lock that 2012’s The Tiger’s Wife (27%) was…oops…not nearly the lock that 2012’s The Art of Fielding (27%) was…oops oops. Well then. So am I saying Ivyland still has a chance? No. Only 6% pick it to make it out of the first round and no one thinks it will go any farther than that. Ouch.

First Round Favorites:
Gone Girl – 94%
Arcadia – 88%
The Orphan Master’s Son – 84%
Beautiful Ruins – 81%
Bring Up the Bodies – 81%.

This tells me Arcadia (also published in special edition TOB mass market paperbacks as 2013’s Lemon Cake) is mismatched. It should have faced The Fault in Our Stars, which would have bludgeoned it because I know these things. Then again, I have predicted How Should a Person Be? has what it takes to beat Arcadia.

Second Round Favorites:
Bring Up the Bodies – 69%.
Gone Girl – 56%
The Orphan Master’s Son – 53%

Most Likely to Be a Zombie:
The Fault in Our Stars – Few pick it to earn its way there (6%), but 63% of you think it will claw its way out of an early grave.

Gone Girl – While plenty think it will fly through on merit (56%), a full 16% think it has the stench to rise again if necessary.

Most Likely to Lose After Making It to the Finals:

Gone Girl – 19% of entrants think it will make it to the last dance but wrong foot the big finish.

Ten different books are believed by entrants to have a shot at a bucket of fried chicken, gratis. Which, of course, means about half of the books have been counted out before we’ve even gotten a good start.

The statistics mean something, because Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was the prohibitive favorite (62%) to escape the play-in and it did.

Or they don’t, because 2012 saw long shot The Sisters Brothers (Finals votes: 1) take home the poultry. Don’t count yourself out, Arcadia. You do have a chance. Damn it.

Unofficial TOB Contest 2013: Brackets Set

February 27, 2013

The Morning News TOB starts on March 4, 2013 and, just this morning, they released the official brackets. They are not the traditional brackets, but I think we’ll be able to follow along. The circular design reminds me of the Thunderdome, only in reverse. Eighteen books enter, but only one makes it to the center.

Anyway, this means the officially Unofficial TOB Contest can begin. The rules stay the same, only the books change. Entries open until Midnight on the evening of March 3, 2013.

The rules:


The prize will be the winner’s choice of two books from among my “best of” lists (2011 and 2012 to be provided prior to the end of the TOB), the 18 ToB 2013 contenders, and/or Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles. The particular format (i.e. cover type/publisher/ebook/etc.) will be chosen by me at my sole discretion, but I will strongly consider any expressed preferences so long as they are within my allotted budget.

Eligibility and Entry Requirements:

Everyone, everywhere is eligible, except for me, my immediate family, and close relatives. There is absolutely no entry fee, obligation, or purchase required. However, I would be very pleased if the winner, after reading the prize selections, let’s me know what they think of the book in comments here.

Entries must be received by Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time (US). (I may, in my sole discretion, accept entries after that if they arrive prior to the posting of any results. Send late at your peril.)


Each entrant should e-mail their entry to: kerry_7 at yahoo. The subject line should read: 2013 TOB Contest. (I will reply confirming receipt. If you don’t receive the reply within three days (I am particularly busy this week and next), you may want to check with me, either by e-mail or in comments.)

One entry per person, please. Include your name and mailing address in the body of the entry. This information will only be used to send you the books in the event you win.

When making your selections, you should refer to the official Tournament of Books 2013 brackets. If you print out the official bracket and fill it out, you will see the outer ring contains the three play-in books. The first comlete ring then has a spot for the play-in winner and the other fifteen contestants. The next ring contains your eight Round 1 Winners. The next ring will be your four Round 2 Winners, the next your four Round 3 Winners and Zombies, next the Zombie Round Winners, and, finally, the Champion.

Please format your entry as follows, using the book title for your pick (decipherable abbreviations are perfectly fine):

Play-in Winner
The Yellow Birds

Round 1 Winners
The Yellow Birds, Dear Life, Bring Up the Bodies, How Should A Person Be, Beautiful Ruins, Gone Girl, The Fault in Our Stars, The Orphan Master’s Son

Round 2 Winners
Dear Life, Bring Up the Bodies, Gone Girl, The Orphan Master’s Son

Round 3 Winners and Zombies
Dear Life, Gone Girl, The Orphan Master’s Son, The Fault in Our Stars,

Zombie Round Winners (Finalists)
Dear Life, The Orphan Master’s Son

The Orphan Master’s Son

Winning Votes

The above are my predictions (with a helping of hope, though Dear Life is my favorite of the ones I’ve read). I am, of course, ineligible for anything but bragging rights.

Points will be awarded as follows:
Each correct Play-in pick – 1 point
Each correct 1st Round pick – 1 point
Each correct 2nd Round pick – 2 points
Each correct 3rd Round/Zombie pick – 2 points
Each correct Zombie Round pick – 4 points
Correct pick of Champion – 8 points
Total Possible Points = 41

Please note: You will receive points for your Round 3/Zombie picks even if your “Zombie” pick actually turns out to be a Round 3 winner or vice versa. In other words, I will simply pool your Round 3 and Zombie picks and award points if your pick makes it into that ring of the bracket.

All points will be totaled. The highest score wins.

Finally, as a tie-breaker, guess how many votes out of a possible 17 the winner will receive. (Your answer should be a number from 9-17, obviously.)

If there is still a tie, the earliest entry wins.

Other Info:

I will make every effort to provide reasonable updates on the scoring. The timeliness of the updates, as the chances of winning, depend on the number of entries.

For complete rules of the official Tournament of Books (which is in no way associated with this contest), please check the official homepage of the Tournament of Books.

Good luck and enjoy the Tournament!