Books I Just Can’t Escape These Goddamned Book Awards
posted by February 29 at 12:01 PMon
It’s another book award, this time bracketed. Previous winners include are Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (definitely not the best book of the year it was released in), Smith’s The Accidental (didn’t read it), and McCarthy’s The Road (a good choice, but it won everything short of the Nobel last year, so it’s not really in keeping with the award’s “We’re not the big prizes” ethos).
Here’s the rationale behind the prize:
The Tournament of Books, we vowed, would be completely transparent. The names of the judges would be known to all, and the judges would admit to their own personal biases as well as their reasoning for every decision. The winner of this award wouldn’t be any less arbitrary or any more legitimate than the winner of any other award, but the crowning of our arbitrary and illegitimate Best Book of the Year—the Champion Book of the Year, would be lots more fun.
And here are the contestants:
Run by Ann Patchett
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Petropolis by Anya Ulinich
Ovenman by Jeff Parker
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
You Don’t Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem
New England White by Stephen L. Carter
Remainder by Tom McCarthy
The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins
The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño
Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida
Shining at the Bottom of the Sea by Stephen Marche
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
Actually, with all these books, I think you could at least be guaranteed a good—if flawed—read. My money’s on Then We Came to the End or The Brief Wondrous Life for the big winner, with a slight lean toward the latter. Vendela Vida should totally win the prize, though.