Saturday, February 12, 2011

A March madness bracket I have a clue about

image © Jim Trelease 2006
 Growing up a Hoosier, I was a basketball girl.  My first crush was not on a movie star, but on an IU basketball star.  But when I was 11, I moved out of Indiana, and the state kept my interest in basketball in that split.  It's probably been at least 10 years since I've watched an NCAA or NBA game.  When the annual brackets come out, I make my selections based entirely on school name (it makes me very happy that Gonzaga has done so well the last few years).  This year, though, I have found a March madness bracket that is more than a random collection of names to me.  The Morning News' Seventh Annual Tournament of Books pits sixteen great books of 2010 against each other. 

These are not necessarily the books The Morning News deems to be the "best" books of the year; rather, as they wrote, "Each of these books was chosen because it was hyped. Or celebrated. Or not celebrated or hyped enough. Or because it won an award. Or because an individual (or individuals) we admire lobbied passionately for its inclusion."  In addition to bragging rights to rival Duke's, the winner of the bracket will get a rooster (which offers serious contention to the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse award for the best literary prize involving livestock).  There is also a "Zombie" round, in which the two books that received the highest number of fan votes before the bracket began can be brought back in to the mix, despite having been voted out of the head-to-head competition. 

I've read six of the books in the Sweet 16 of this contest, and several more from the original long list, and I'm very eager to see what makes the cut.  While I'll still be judging basketball teams by their names, I'm feeling pretty good about my chances in The Morning News pool. 

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