Thursday

The 2016 Tournament of Books - Day Eight

The 2016 Tournament of Books - Day Eight

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler vs. The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

If you read my analysis of the play-in round, you know that I am not of fan of Anne Tyler in general or this book specifically.

(If you didn't, I attended a high school where I read more Anne Tyler than Mark Twain - among many other writers we read little or not at all...so I've never been a fan and until this tournament hadn't read her since high school)

I could say that the opening scene of the book was annoying and made me hate the characters, that Tyler would manage to have a sentence or two defining each character and then this large would fade into the background and not play a role at all in any way shape or form (literally most of the partners and children could have been excised and wouldn't have mattered). I could mention how much I hate the title - and where the title comes from. Also the fact that it doesn't feel realistic as far as a family's dynamics when confronted with older parents, selling the childhood home, dividing up possessions.

Now if one who has experienced something says, this is exactly what it's like, and everyone who didn't feels it's flawed and doesn't work, I think that's a sign that the book doesn't work. But having seen this in real life, if I feel it's completely unrealistic, does that mean the book is a failure? Because it does feel more like a Hallmark channel movie than real life.

On the other hand The Story of My Teeth was so enjoyable. It was such a fascinating read. Like many of the books on the list, I loved the book in large part because of how it was told. It's a short novel but throughout I was fascinated  and enthralled - and even if you aren't enthralled by the way it's told and the outsize character at its center, well, it's short.

Now I don't love the book the way that some people I know do, but for me, this is pretty stark choice. It's a lively and inventive and dynamic book vs one that is, well, not.

My Winner: The Story of My Teeth

Over at the Tournament:  A Spool of Blue Thread.  (Seriously, I do not understand the love for Tyler that's been exhibited in two rounds and by so many people. Can someone explain it to me> I feel like someone is speaking Norwegian to me when they talk about the book's greatness)

http://www.themorningnews.org/tob/2016/a-spool-of-blue-thread-v-the-story-of-my-teeth.php

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