Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Previewing the 2012 Tournament of Books

Mascot of TOB
I will still provide my predictions for the NBCC nominations before they are announced on the 21st, but first I would like to write about another (lesser known) “awards season” event: the annual Morning News Tournament of Books, now in it's eighth year.

2011 Winner
For any of you who are college basketball fans, this is (almost literally) March Madness for books. In this case, sixteen books square off in a single elimination (with one twist) competition. A different author or reviewer serves as the judge for each daily match-up. The judge must both choose a winner and provide a detailed reason for his or her choice. (Go here for an especially interesting match-up from last year.)

2010 Winner
I mentioned a twist. When there are two books remaining, visitors to the tournament webpage can vote two eliminated books back into the competition. Then, the tournament continues with two more judged match-ups, in what the organizers call the “zombie” round. (For the two books which have risen from the dead.)

After the zombie round, two books remain once again. Then, the entire judging panel votes in the championship round.

Did I mention March? I did! This competition does not begin until March 7, but after the competitors were announced today, I could not wait to say more. Plus, I wanted to encourage you to read a few of the books!

Here are the competitors:
    Many of these books were on my Favorite Books of 2011: Fiction and Non-Fiction list. They include four out of five of my “top tier” books and three out of five of my “second tier” books. In all, I have completed eight of the sixteen, and I am about to finish one more. Also, I just bought a copy of Open City for my brand new Nook (except I didn’t buy it from Barnes and Noble!...more on that another time…). I plan to read it, and I would love to get through one or two more, but 2012 books are already calling my name!

    In my opinion, the organizers put together a very good list. There are only three books which I have not heard of at all. Additionally, as stated in the preview article, there is good gender diversity (nine men and seven women), along with at least five non-Americans. 

    I will be posting much more about this competition in the lead up and then as it happens. For now, familiarize yourself with this years books and take a look at some past years (2011, 2010, 2009).

    I only discovered the competition last year, but I had a lot of fun following it every day through March. I hope you will join me.

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