All novels are imperfect, and if we like a story we will say we like it in spite of its flaws, and if we don’t like a novel we will say we dislike it because of them… But most of the time, those particular missteps of craft don’t really inform our decision as much as we think. This is something that has become really clear to me in 13 years of the Rooster. Our appreciation (or not) of any work of fiction happens on a gut, emotional level. Our attempts to explain why we love or we hate a book are often just rationalizations. But we learn so much from the attempt to figure it out. The ToB is a lab where we try to define the connections between our hearts and our heads, and hopefully it makes us all better readers and writers.

From the Tournament of Books match commentary for The Nix versus Homegoing.

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Tournament of Books Shortlist

Cripes, the Tournament of Books shortlist was announced earlier in January, and somehow I missed it!


I’ve read 2 out of 13, including my favorite book from 2016, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, by Kaitlyn Greenidge.Then 3 are on my wishlist, with 3 more that were maybes. The remaining 5 I either had no interest in or didn’t enjoy the samples I read. Hoping to join the conversation come March.

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The Walking Dead Premiere: Needs More Gore



When the reveal of Negan’s victim wasn’t made in the teaser of The Walking Dead‘s season premiere, I was already annoyed. Most of the episode felt manipulative  in the way it was structured, a trend that reached new heights last season with Glenn’s fake death. I almost said to hell with it and switched to Westworld, which I’ve been enjoying tremendously.

Continue reading “The Walking Dead Premiere: Needs More Gore”

The Walking Dead Premiere: Needs More Gore