Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Morning News Tournament of Books 2011 - Quarterfinal Predictions

Ahh.. The Morning News Tournament of Books 2011! I love this stuff. I can't believe my excitement over this year's entries hasn't brought me to the 'ol Blogger interface to rap at ya for a bit.

My heart was broken when Skippy Dies lost out to A Visit From The Goon Squad. Not that I've actually read Goon Squad, but I loved Skippy. Based on title and cover alone, I expected Bloodroot to beat out The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I was wrong about that one. I took a risky guess on Nox beating out Lord Of Misrule and that worked out for me.

So now we're onto the semi-finals and I wanted to make some predictions:

Freedom v. Room
This is a tough one. I'm favoring Freedom to win the whole thing, but Room is a really strong novel and well-loved. I'm concerned that the anti-Franzen sentiment out there will give Room an edge. I am, however, unabashedly a Franzen fan. (match detail)
Winner: Freedom (correct!)

The Finkler Question v. A Visit From the Goon Squad
Here's another hard one.  Both of these books have won awards (Finkler: Man Booker; Goon Squad: National Book Critics Circle Award).  I'm going to base the award they've won.  I liked more of the Nation Bool Critics Circle past winners (see also, Man Booker previous winners), so I'm going to follow their judgement.  Also, I just have this gut feeling that Goon Squad is gonna win this round. (match detail)
Winner: Goon Squad (correct!)

Nox v. Next
This one is easier than the previous two because I think the gimmick behind Nox isn't strong enough to take out Next. (match detail)
Winner: Next (correct!)

Model Home v. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
Both of these have crappy covers, but Lemon Cake has the crappiest cover.  So here's to judging a book by it's cover! (match detail)
Winner: Model Home (fail!)

Some additional notes:
  • I know that Nox isn't really a gimmick, but it kinda is too.  Also, the whole is it fiction or is it non-fiction confusion sort of sets it back in my opinion.  Also is the question of whether the format itself is really a novel kind of bugs me.
  • I've been told that I'd really like Aimee Bender (Lemon Cake) if I just gave her a shot.  I will do this and report back.  Although nothing will change that book's crappy cover.
  • Reading through all of this I'm realizing how superficial it is... but whatever.  It's fun.

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