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The "March Madness" of Modern Literature

Generally speaking, I don't pay much attention to the major book awards. The Pulitzers and its brethren (with the possible exception of the Newbury medal) just don't seem any more relevant to me than who Oprah's picked for this month's club.

All that changed this afternoon when I came across a new exception to this rule and realized that part of what made those awards boring was that we only get to see the results, not the process that led to those decisions. The process is the fun part, of course, and the online magazine The Morning News understands that. For their Tournament of Books, just beginning its second incarnation, the process is entirely transparent, completely out in the open, and promising to be a lot of fun.

They, with some help from their readers, have chosen 16 widely hyped books from 2005 and laid them out in classic atheltic tournament brackets for a cascading set of one-on-one, mano a mano, no-holds-barred faceoffs with each contest's winner advancing into the next round. Each weekday, starting today, the results of one pairing are announced via a short essay by that competition's pre-chosen judge. There's even a kind of play-by-play commentary by the Tournament's chairman, author and TMN contributing writer Kevin Guilfoile.

Pavel sez, "Check it out!" As the website proudly proclaims, "the Tournament of Books brings the bloodlust so lacking in the publishing world's awards." Who among us couldn't get into a little literary bloodshed?


a w e s o m e!

I agree with you that this is a refreshing take on book awards. I originally saw the link on bookslut.com/blog, which has all sorts of good geeky book news.

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