It’s funny. But if you have the time to actually read all the stuff you ask to be sent to your inbox, you’ll discover there’s a whole world of literary activity taking place out there. I have, for years now, been getting the Times in my inbox. Unless the headline was really something spectacular, the vast majority of those emails went directly into the trash, unread. Lately, I’ve been reading it instead. And, surprise of all surprises, there’s interesting stuff going on in the world. Imagine that. Since I have a little more time than usual these days, I’ve also been reading The Millions pretty religiously. And I’ve discovered that I’m a new convert to a very old, very established movement. Okay. So I’m late to the party. What of it? Just in case some of you are also late the party (or missed the party altogether), I like to include some of the more interesting information gleaned from my reading here. Today’s tidbit involves a rooster.
Apparently, for something like the last six years, there has been this event called The Morning News Tournament of Books. In a nutshell, sixteen books from the previous year are selected, according to the site, because they were “hyped. Or celebrated. Or not celebrated or hyped enough. Or because [they] won an award. Or because an individual (or individuals) we admire lobbied passionately for [their] inclusion. This might have been a family member, a critic, a publicist, a friend, a bookseller, or a guy we met at the Miami Book Fair who bought us drinks.” The books are selected. The judges are chosen (and an esteemed panel of judges it is!). And the tournament begins.
The sixteen books get narrowed to 8, then to 4, then to 2, and, you got it, to the final one and winner of the rooster. Literally. The winner wins a rooster. And what could possibly be cooler than that?
Well. For us, one potentially cool thing is that the judges are required to justify their reasoning for selecting book A over book B. A refreshing twist for those of us oh-so-familiar with book judging that amounts to, essentially, this book won. Period. Gee. Thanks for the elaboration.
Just so you’re in the know, here’s this year’s book list (several of which have been recommended to me recently, several of which I’ve never heard – that’s pretty cool too):
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender
- Nox, by Anne Carson
- Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky
- Room, by Emma Donoghue
- A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
- Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
- Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon
- Bloodroot, by Amy Greene
- Next, by James Hynes
- The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson
- Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray
- Model Home, by Eric Puchner
- So Much for That, by Lionel Shriver
- Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
- Kapitoil, by Teddy Wayne
- Savages, by Don Winslow
You can follow along by following TMN (The Morning News) on Facebook or Twitter. The actual judging doesn’t begin until March 7 – just in case you have the time to read sixteen books between now and then.