Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Other Bracket Game

I have been whiling away a good portion of a Saturday at The Morning News, reading how this year's random head-to-head literary match ups have fared in The Tournament of Books. The editors and friends of the The Morning News annually choose 16 books to "compete" and then choose authors, reviewers, and other literary know-it-alls to serve as the judges. Each round has a different judge, and the books chosen to go head-to-head with each other often have nothing in common, which often makes for some completely haphazard choices, which is par for the course and part of the fun. 

I haven't read any of the books, so I have no favorites. In that way, it's like watching the Oscars. I don't watch movies until they are either second run or Netflixed, and I only read books in paper back (with rare exceptions for favorite authors). It's a great way to add to your reading list, and/or cross books off that may have sounded interesting in the newspaper review.

The talk of ToB this year is 2666 by Roberto Bolano, a 900-something-page literary steamroller that seems to be leaving the judges awed and breathless, although it is leaving the commentators (yes, there are commentators, just like in the NCAA games) perplexed and a little annoyed that everyone else can overlook the sheer volume of words for the sake of words, the ridiculous sex scenes, the horrifying amounts of violence, and the loose ends never knitted back together, and still claim it as a two-round winner.

Not having read it, I cannot weigh in. However, the commentators have convinced me not to put it on my wish list. I expect to be entertained. Not bludgeoned.

They are through the regionals (Round 1), and they are half-way through Round 2. Check in often for more action! 


Brian and Becca Davis said...

What do SeattleDan and SeattleTammy have to say about it?

SeattleDan said...

Heh, this is the first I've heard of this contest. It looks pretty interesting and fun, if fairly meaningless. Like piglet, I haven't read any of these books, though I do have 2666 on the shelf; I need to find the time to read a 900 page novel.

Hey, Becca, when does the baby show up?

Brian and Becca Davis said...

SD: due date is Friday.

My guess: I make it at least that long if not longer. But I also realize i have basically no say in the matter. :-)

New pics up on

Any suggestions for your latest favorite must read books?

SeattleDan said...

Yes, there is absolutely no doubt about your pregnancy! Great pics.

I've been reading books on baseball, but I'm going to be starting Dennis Lehane's "Given Day". ST loved it, and I like his other books.

You might want to start reading now. After Friday, or thereafter, you just might be exhausted.

Our best to Brian!