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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

TMN's The Second Annual Tournament of Books

The Morning News is bringing us The Second Annual Tournament of Books. The Tournament should feature exciting battles among 16 of the best novels of 2005.

You can find the brackets for the Sweet 16 in PDF format by going to http://themorningnews.org/tob/ .

Here's my Final Four Bracket:

Never Let Me Go (1st seed) vs. Veronica (2nd seed)

The Accidental (2nd seed) vs. On Beauty (1st seed).

The toughest second round match will be between On Beauty (1st seed) and Saturday (2nd seed). I personally liked Zadie Smith's On Beauty better than Ian McEwan's Saturday, but there are some who like Saturday better than On Beauty. Either is a defensible victor, as both are very good novels that are also not either author's individual best of his/her oeuvre. Whichever one wins that second round match will probably go on to beat Ali Smith's The Accidental (another fine novel) in the Final Four and make it to the finals. Although, with Dale Peck as that bracket's Final Four reviewer, it is impossible to predict who will actually make it to the finals.

Also, TMN assigned a 17 year old musician named Nell James to decide who wins the first round battle between Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys and Ali Smith's The Accidental. Ali Smith should easily win; it's a no-brainer. But Anansi Boys has a specific high-school-age appeal to it that could lead a high schooler to choose it over The Accidental. With a wild-card judge such as a high-school-age musician deciding, who knows what will happen. But I do know that The Accidental is a great novel that should be in the Final Four.

The toughest Final Four matchup will be Never Let Me Go vs. Veronica (assuming of course those two make it, which they should). I'd definitely go with Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, but Veronica is Mary Gaitskill's best novel of her career and could easily pull off the upset. Whoever wins that matchup will, in my opinion, be the champion.

Of course, it's all driven by individual judges up until the finals. So there could be upsets galore.

Let the REAL March Madness begin!

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