For a few years now, I’ve followed the Tournament of Books, where books fight it out in semi-serious, semi-rediculous judged matches. An alternative to sports for those of us who are oblivious to the existence of sports. I’ve always liked the concept of the TOB – in part because the creators admit to the whole thing being unfair and a bizarre way to discuss books, and because it highlights the inherent unfairness of book awards, and because it’s just fun.
The problem, though, is that I haven’t usually read enough of the books to have a real opinion. And reading about the rest of them doesn’t make me want to rush out and read them. This year I did pretty well, since I happened to have picked up a few they chose. I’d already read Netherland, The Lazarus Project, Unaccustomed Earth, and that lone and much-discussed YA title, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I’d also listened to a bit of Home and heard a podcast of Toni Morrison reading a few chapters of A Mercy. But with the exception of Frankie, I didn’t really care about the various matches. These aren’t the types of books that I discuss passionately and would defend to the death.
Enter School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books. Kids’ books. Now this is my territory. I’ve heard of grade school BOBs, where the kids read the books and argue/defend them, but this version has celebrity judges. And by celebrity, I mean my kind of celebrity – authors and the like. Authors I’ve read, which means I’ll read their opinions with all that background info. Anyway, I’m madly putting things on hold so I can be opinionated as well – and I’ve already read 10 titles. Round 1 is April 13 – and the schedule can be found at the link.