The Tournament of Books

9 Mar

I always forget about The Morning News’ Tournament of Books until it’s in progess. This year is no different, and as always, I haven’t had a chance to read any of the bracketed books. Today’s the first day of the Tournament, and the opening round was between Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin v. Miles From Nowhere by Nami Mun. I’ve heard great things about both these books, and it’s hard to imagine how they’ll pick winners from the wealth of books in the brackets. The first round went to McCann’s novel and I can’t say I’m surprised. This has gotten so much great press and, while I’ve heard good things about Miles From Nowhere, it hasn’t been on the radar in nearly as big a way as Let the Great World Spin.

The judging panel is particularly well-read and most of them are people whose opinions on books I highly value, like Nic Brown and The Millions‘ C. Max Magee. However, I have to take issue with the inclusion of Andrew W.K. on the judging panel. His credentials include “party maker.” Umm, ‘scuse me? And for the love of Pete, DO NOT click on the link to his site from the TOB page. Eww. How on earth is he qualified for this job? I mean, I know it’s not rocket science, but I’d like some criticism a little more intellectual than, “IT TOTALLY ROCKED!!” But he could totally prove me wrong. We’ll see, but I highly doubt it.

One more thing I’m psyched about is the inclusion of Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows. Shamsie is an alum and former professor of my alma mater, and taught Creative Writing while I was a CW minor. I was never able to take a class with her, because she taught only one or two a year, but I’ve become a huge fan of her novels, specifically Kartography, which is definitely on my Top 10 favorite books. I own but haven’t read* Burnt Shadows. Nevertheless, I’m happy she’s getting some attention with a well-deserved nod like this.

I OBHR most of the books on the brackets, so I can’t really give much of an opinion for who’s going to win each match-up.

Can you?  I’m going to make a ballsy, and completely uninformed, guess that it will either be Wolf Hall (I’m still less than 100 pages into this) or Let the Great World Spin. Who do you think will take home the championship?

*New acronyms for A Home Between Pages:
  1. Own But Haven’t Read — OBHR (Sad but true fact: I use this phrase far too often. I hate that I need an acronym, but there you go. I’m sick of typing it out.)

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