Bonus Post: It's Tournament of Books Time!

If you don't know the ToB, you're in for a treat.

I woke this morning in a panic that in yesterday’s post, I had failed to alert everyone to the impending launch of this year’s edition of The Morning News Tournament of Books.

This is the 17th year of “March Madness for Books” in which 16 (or 18, with the play-in round) books compete in a series of single elimination1 book v. book matchups, each judged by a single person, until we arrive at a champion, which is clearly the best book of the year.

Kidding. The whole point of the Tournament of Books is to make transparent the difficulty of judging books. The point is not finding a winner, but in witnessing the process, a process which has become more elaborate over the years, and now involves copious discussion comments from the “Commentariat” a group of the most interesting and passionate (and occasionally contentious) book-lovers around. Witnessing the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in the Commentariat when a favorite book loses, or a controversial judgement appears is a sight to behold.

My friend and occasional collaborator, Kevin Guilfoile, and I serve as color-commentators, giving our two cents about the day’s judgement and the books themselves. It’s great fun.

If you want an introduction to how it works you can check out the full-results of last year’s “Super Rooster,” a tournament of champions covering the first 16 years.

This year’s tournament starts today, with a play-in round between Red Pill by Hari Kunzru, The Resisters by Gish Jen, and The Down Days by Ilze Hugo

If you’re a book lover, you must check it out.

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Except for the Zombie Round, in which two books return from elimination based on fan voting.