We Have Moved!

We have moved our blog to the new CHB website! Check us out over there to find our latest stories and reviews!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Tournament of Books

The Tournament of Books is the bookish answer to March Madness created by the daily news site The Morning News. Each March, sixteen books that were published in the previous year are pitted against one another to be voted on by authors, bloggers, and critics. It is all kinds of wonderful to watch. The books meet up in brackets and move on through finals. The two books that make it through ultimately compete in a Tournament Championship - the winner enjoys the honor of the Rooster award (rightly named after the younger brother of David Sedaris). I enjoy the ToB every year, but this year the championship round was especially exciting for me personally as two of my favorite books from last year made it into the final round.

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson pulled me in so many directions. First there are the horrors of life in North Korea which are almost hard to believe. Then there is the truth of politics and fear mongering and the realization that no one is too far from this sort of life. And finally there is the will of the human spirit, the inevitability of death, and the question of just how much one can take. This novel is very well written and very, very intense. It was often hard to read but I could never put it down. I was completely invested in the lives of Jun Do and Sun Moon.

Then there is The Fault in Our Stars. There is no denying that I am a full on John Green convert after having read this novel. This is the third blog about him here in the last few months. The Fault in Our Stars in undoubtedly a great book. The writing is so great, the characters so clever and lovable. The romance is so absolutely believable because even the reader falls a little in love with Hazel and Augustus. Everyone worries that this is a “kids with cancer” book and in recommending it over the last year I have had to assure a few adult readers that it is so much more than that. TFiOS is a novel about life, what it is to be young and to fall in love, and what it means to be damaged. Not just a great YA novel but a great novel.

I can say with all honesty that I have no idea which of these novels I would have chosen as the winner of the Tournament of Books. What's so great about this tournament though is its transparency. Each bracket is accompanied by commentary by the judges so that followers know exactly why each book wins its bracket. Ultimately The Orphan Master's Son came out ahead of The Fault in Our Stars (14 to 3) and I found myself pleased by the results. What Johnson did in his novel was daring and tragic and ultimately beautiful. The scope and implications of what he wrote about life and fiction and the worlds we create for ourselves as well as those we are forced into has still got me thinking about my place months after turning the last page.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...