If you live in the South, spring means two things – the humidity is about to dump on us like hot Jello and it's time for March Madness. A newbie may think those two things are the same thing. But no. March Madness refers, of course, to basketball.But there's another spring tournament I'm more interested in – the 8th Annual Tournament of Books, organized by The Morning News (click here) and sponsored by Field Notes.
Here's the general gist, according to The Morning News site: "A ridiculously small and poorly informed group of TMN editors and contributors have chosen 16 of the most cherished, hyped, ignored, and/or enthusiastically praised books of the year to enter into a month-long tournament, NCAA-basketball-madness style.
"We take these books and seed them, with the odds-on favorites receiving 1 seed and longer shots receiving 4 seeds. Then we place them in an NCAA-style tournament bracket and assign books in pairs to judges, who read both assigned books, advancing one."
Sounds as good as any other book awards set-up that I've heard of. And just as arbitrary!
This year's Sweet 16 books are:
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
Nathacha Appanah, The Last Brother
Teju Cole, Open City
Helen DeWitt, Lightning Rods
Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot
Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding
Alan Hollinghurst, Stranger’s Child
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones
Haruki Murakami, 1Q84
Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife
Michael Ondaatje, The Cat’s Table
Ann Patchett, State of Wonder
Donald Ray Pollock, The Devil All the Time
Karen Russell, Swamplandia
Kate Zambreno, Green Girl
In the first round, The Sense of an Ending put the smack-down on The Devil All the Time – or at least judge Emma Straub delivered the smack-down.
So now you have one name to fill in your bracket. Oh, you didn't think there was a bracket? Madness.