30 March 2015

Tournament of Books 2015 match commentary

  • I wish I had more confidently broadcast my picks at the beginning of the tourney because I could have called this one. I really had a feeling. 
  • (Unlike my March Madness bracket...) 
  • That said, today's Zombie Round review is a travesty and if the reviewer clearly disliked both books that much, perhaps he should have recused himself. (Nicole Cliffe's weighing of STATION ELEVEN vs A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS was much more evenhanded, although since I haven't read the latter I'm not sure whether she was right.) 
  • My favorite essays in the series were from J. Courtney Sullivan and Tayari Jones. I thought the judging panel was extremely strong this year, today notwithstanding, and these were two great examples. 
  • I was sorry to see DEPT OF SPECULATION not go any further than the first round. Otherwise, I more or less agree with the first-round judgments made, although due to book availability I wasn't able to read through the whole tournament. 
  • Does anyone else wish The Morning News would do a similar nonfiction bracket in the fall? Just putting it out there. They could call it the Nonfiction World Series. 
  • Wait till everyone figures out Emily St John Mandel's backlist. There will be rejoicing throughout all the land (or, there should be). 


Marjorie said...

I've found myself forming weird secondhand opinions of An Untamed State throughout the TOB. I normally take care not to opine about books I haven't read, but I remember now why that takes effort when everyone else's opinions are so strong.

Ellen said...

I can definitely see how that could happen. Sometimes I find myself feeling more polarized based on their reviews.

Marjorie said...

Yeah, definitely. Sometimes I read a book because I saw it discussed in the tournament, and then I go back to reread the reviews and get opinionated about them.

Emily Gigs said...

Moving my comment from Goodreads over here…

1) I am so on board with the Nonfiction World Series, that would be amazing. Who do we lobby to make this happen?

2) I missed that zombie round review when it was first posted. Man. Somehow he says everything that I am afraid (male) people will say if I told them to read An Untamed State--and then gets worse. The ignorance of "I can't imagine an audience for this" is one thing; the tone-deafness of that last paragraph is staggering.

Ellen said...

I really wanted to send that zombie judgment back to its author with a note to the effect of "Sorry, you didn't understand the assignment at all; try again." Middle-school English-teacher style. Critique is fine, just make it a halfway decent one that isn't so petty!

I assume we can lobby The Morning News for the nonfiction side... Of course, since a lot of nonfiction is reviewed by field experts, there would have to be some language about how the evaluations are BY laypeople FOR laypeople. Well, heck, we could just come up with our own tournament! Hmmm.