The Other March Madness

The reason March Madness is so popular isn’t because NCAA basketball is especially thrilling to watch. It’s the brackets, stupid. It adds that extra element of competition, seeding, and, of course, gambling. So it is with college hoops, and so it shall be (thrillingly) with books! I always tune in to The Morning News’ Tournament of Books, which kicks off today.

They’ve been going strong for six years, and they do a great job. The tournament itself opens up debate in how one “ranks” books, the underdog factor at the heart of a lot of recreational reading (unfortunately), and just how one can compare apples and oranges when publicly forced to do so. This year my money’s on Big Machine. Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned was one of my favorites last year, but I think a little short fiction prejudice will creep in and knock it out of the running. It’s an ugly truth.

My only complaint? Events! There should be ToB debates midway through the month in the major cities. With, I don’t know, beer and microphones and balloons.

Click the bracket to see this year’s contenders.

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