Thursday, February 21, 2008

The 2008 Tournament of Books Candidates

One of my favorite literary traditions is almost back. Okay, tradition might be too strong a word, but this is a wonderful way I can learn about books from people that are far better read than I. In the past 10 years I gave up reading the New York Review of Books and its ilk (The expectation of being a pompous literary snob is a real turn off). Also around the time of The Corrections (which begrudgingly I admit I have yet to read...) I sort of made a habit of forgoing the hype of when a book is first published, as I was burned too many times with bad works that were praised as the second coming, and began waiting to read them till long after it was the thing to be "scene" reading. So I crave the fun that this competition brings to reading. It introduces many possible choices to read in the future and is such a nice counter balance to the sheer awfulness of that whole college basketball whatever that this mimics.

As per normal, I have only read one book from their list, The Remainder by Tom McCarthy. And I liked it quite fine, but if it goes like past years, it will be knocked out in the 1st round of the competition. But keep track of this and enjoy the way they find "the best" work of last year, as its purely irreverent, fun, and will lead you to some decent literary choices that you may or may not know about yet.

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