Bracket Yourself for March Madness

Geek Culture


It’s March, which means it’s time to break out the brackets. Time to pit sixteen greats against each other in a few exciting rounds of head-to-head matches and determine, once and for all, who is this year’s best of the best.

Oh, you thought I was talking about basketball?

No, this is about the 2010 Tournament of Books, now in its sixth year. Hosted by The Morning News, the annual ToB pits sixteen of 2009′s best novels against each other, with one judge per match-up. (The final round is judged by everyone together plus two others.) But you gotta love a tournament that includes a Zombie Round, which brings back two eliminated readers’ picks for one more chance at triumph.

I’ve followed the ToB for the past few years, and although I’ve never read all 16 books in any given tournament, it’s a great place to find out about some wonderful books to add to my reading list. Is it a pure, objective contest? Of course not. Sometimes, as they admit, it’s pretty arbitrary: “And yes, we’ve had judges who flipped coins. So has the National Book Award—but the National Book Award won’t tell you that.”

Combining bracketology with books is a brilliant idea, and if you need a little breather from all that other seasonal madness, head over to The Morning News and check out the Tournament of Books. Round One starts up today! And an additional bit of geekiness: this year one of the choices (and Number 4 seed) is Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, a graphic novel about Bertrand Russell. If this one gets eliminated early, I’m counting on all you GeekDad readers to bring it back for the Zombie Round.

One more thing, Powell’s Books, one of the sponsors of the tournament, currently has all sixteen of the competitors on sale for 30% off.

Jonathan Liu is of the opinion that there is no such thing as too many books.

Image: Jonathan Liu

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