Perhaps it’s wrong for an event that considers itself a celebration of arbitrariness to recognize an anniversary. Or maybe it’s perfectly appropriate—we’re not sure where we’re supposed to stand on irony these days. Regardless, pride compels us to note that the Tournament of Books turns 10 this year.
Ten! If the ToB were a child, we’d call him ToBy, and little ToBy would be obsessed with Minecraft, soccer, Adventure Time, and learning to play guitar. And reading books. ToBy reads a lot.
That’s right! It’s the tenth annual Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes, sponsored by Powell’s Books, and sharing a frightfully new media partnership with Tumblr itself! Here’s how it’s gonna go down:
In case you’re new to all this, the ToB is an annual springtime event here at The Morning News, where a group of the best works of fiction from last year enter a March Madness-style battle royale.
In March, these novels will be seeded and paired off in an NCAA Tournament-like bracket. For each pairing, one of our esteemed judges will read both novels and advance one, with an transparent explanation of how they made their decision. Along the way, our ToB Chairmen, authors Kevin Guilfoile and John Warner, will weigh in with commentary, and you, the readers, will add your own.
Eventually, only two books will remain, to be judged by our entire panel, and one will be crowned the Rooster of 2014.
Here’s the list of finalists:
At Night We Walk in Circles by Daniel Alarcón
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid
“ In Lee’s (Pace, who plays Aaron) case, oh what can I say? Lee is just a sexy man, you know?He doesn’t have to say a word and he just oozes sexiness. The other day he called me over the phone because we were supposed to meet up to go see a movie and he says (affects a raspy, sexy voice) “hi, how are you?” and he was just being normal. And I [thought] “oh my god, why am I feeling like someone is seducing me right now?” (laughs) He’s just that way, he’s a lucky man.” - Caroline Dhavernas, Wonderfalls
“The day I stop loving you will be the day these roses die~” -Min Yoongi
November 8th, Yoongi and I’s three year dating anniversary. It was beautiful outside, the leaves fluttering down as they fell from the trees. I was twenty six while Yoongi was twenty seven, both of us having been madly in love since we were twenty one, but neither of us have the confidence to confess until we were twenty three, but after that day, we were inseparable.
I was currently getting ready for our anniversary date, dancing around as I got ready to meet up with Yoongi. Yoongi had wanted to surprise me, so he refused to tell me where we were going, though that left me at a disadvantage since I didn’t know whether I was supposed to dress casually or nicely. It didn’t really matter much since I was planning on bringing a change of clothes, just in case.
You see, Yoongi always knew how to surprise me. Most women knew what their boyfriends had planned, but I was always left guessing with him. He knew me like the back of his hand, just like I knew him like the back of mine. But if there was anything I didn’t know about him, it was what he had in store.
It was about 6:30 when I heard the knock. I could feel my heart fluttering, a smile spreading on my face as I raced downstairs to throw the door open and hug the man I knew had to be Yoongi. The boy only chuckled softly, burying his face in my hair as he held me close, my legs wrapped around his waist.
“I missed you, Yoongi” I whispered softly, pulling away to smile at him. Yoongi laughed and shook his head. “Sweetheart, it’s only been a few days,” he chuckled, shaking his head. I only whined and pressing closer. “It felt like much longer” I admitted. You see, Yoongi was in a kpop group, so he would disappear for days… sometimes even weeks at a time. Of course I understood, but I wished the company would take it easier on the boys… give them longer breaks.
“How was dance rehearsal?” I asked him softly, kissing his cheek and letting go of him. “it was nice, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about” Yoongi chuckled, moving to take my hand in his as he lead me to the car.
I laughed and smiled, kissing Yoongi’s cheek again to thank him as he opened the car door for me. “So where are we going?” I asked, knowing full well he would never tell me. The boy only laughed again, shooting me playful glare to remind me he would never tell.
The date went well, as usual, though when we made it to my front door, Yoongi handed me a bouquet. The bouquet of roses seemed a little wilted and I could only assume it was because he got them, but waited to give them to me because he was nervous. But what could be possibly be nervous about?
I was drawn from my thoughts when I felt Yoongi gently setting a hand on my shoulder. *Hello? Earth to (y/n)?” Yoongi chuckled, smiling brightly at me. “O-oh! Sorry sorry I was… deep in thought” I admitted sheepishly. “It’s okay, no worries. But listen. Don’t open this until I leave, okay?” Yoongi told me, handing me a sealed envelope before kissing my cheek and moving towards his car.
“I love you Min Yoongi!” I called after him, a huge grin on my face as I watched the boy make a little heart with his hands. “I love you too, (y/n).” He laughed. As soon as he left I scrambled inside, smiling widely as I put the flowers on the counter and opening the note.
“The day I stop loving you will be the day these roses die~” -Min Yoongi
My heart immediately dropped at that, my mouth drying out. Surely the boy knew these flowers were real… that they did, in fact, die? “Is… is he trying to break up with me? The- these… these flowers are already wilting… no wonder he seemed nervous” I mumbled to myself as I paced back and forth.
In a flash my eyes were on the roses, realization in my face. “Oh shit shit shit, these flowers need water!” I squeaked, scrambling to get a vase and quickly slip the flowers in.
I ended up pacing back and forth as I thought over what the note could mean. These roses were real… and he knew that… he had to know that. That meant there would be a day to come where he stopped loving me.
That night I didn’t sleep well, staying up at ungodly hours in the night as I researched any possible way to preserve flowers so they’d last forever, but I had no luck. Everything I had come across said you could only save flowers for a few weeks. I was devastated, and with this bad news, I trudged off to work, light bags under my eyes.
A week passed, Yoongi came over every day to check up on the flowers to see if they had died yet, but this only made me more and more sad. He seemed to be anxious… excited… and nervous for the flowers to die. Did he really not like me anymore? So much that he wanted to check in every day to find out if the flowers had died?
At the end of the week I had finally had it. We soon as Yoongi walked in and looked at the flowers, i stormed up to him, my eyes teary.
“If you don’t love me, just say it.” I finally demanded, staring at the floor as Yoongi whirled around to face me. Shock was written on his face. “If you want to break up, just say it” I whispered, a tear finally falling to the floor. “Oh sweetheart, no no, you got my note all wrong. I love you, sweetheart.” Yoongi stuttered, moving forward to me while I moved back.
“Please Yoongi. The flowers are real. Of course they’ll die, Yoongi! Your note said you’ll stop loving me when the flowers are dead. They’re dying Yoongi.” I whimpered, finally looking up at him.
“Ahhhh, no no, look at the flowers. Look closely” he murmured gently. I blinked at that now, my eyes going wide as I slowly moved over to the flowers. I inspected each and every one, about to turn around and ask him what the deal was, until my hand brushed along a very odd rose. It was still beautiful and healthy, looking the exact same as when he had bought it for me.
“It’s.. it’s fake-” I began, but I cut myself off when I saw something glisten, something buried deep in the fake rose.
With shaky hands I slowly pulled the rose out and inspected it, carefully pulling out the shiny item hidden inside, but what I found was not what I had been expecting at all. I was a ring. A wedding ring. I whirled around to face Yoongi, staring at the breathtaking ring. “Yoongi, what is-” i began but I lost the words when i saw Yoongi down on one knee, his eyes clouded with nerves and hope.
“Listen, (y/n)… I’ve loved you since we were twenty one… I’ve loved you… every part of you, from your adorable little laughs and squeaks to your cheeks that flush red when you get angry. The note was supposed to mean I would never stop loving you. The rose is fake. It will never die, much like my love for you will never die.” Yoongi began, clearing his throat a little as he stood up and slowly moved to me, taking my hands in his as he looked deeply into my eyes.
“I love you. From every perfection to every flaw. And your flaws… well… I wouldn’t even call them flaws. Because they are part of what makes you, you. And to me, you are perfect. I love you I love you I love you. I can’t say it enough. And honesty… you’re so perfect. Too damn perfect for this world… and I would be honored if you would make me the happiest man in the world. (Y/n)?…. Will you marry me?” He murmured, the last question a mere whisper.
I was in shock at his words, bringing up a hand to cover my mouth in shock as I glanced down at him, then at the ring. I was in so much shock that I nearly forgot to answer, but after a few seconds, I nodded, little tears of joy slowly sliding down my pink cheeks. “Yes. Yes yes yes, of course I’ll marry you. I’d want nothing more” I whimpered, hugging the boy tightly while he slid the ring on my finger.
“I love you…” he whispered into my hair as I hugged him, enjoying the warmth he was giving me. “Forever and always?” I whispered, slowly peeking up at him. “Forever and always.” He promised, kissing the tip of my nose.
Victor was feeling a bit sour that Hank had managed to drag him to a shopping mall of all places. He hated those things. They were loud, mixed with way too many scents and not to mention people always stared at him like he had two heads.
But he did begrudgingly agree that he needed a couple of good dress shirts in case he was supposed to look presentable. “Do we really gotta go into a mall? Ain’t there anymore tailors these days?”