Books and Judges for 2015 Tournament of Books Announced!

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The Morning News announced the shortlist, judges and zombie poll for its 2015 Tournament of Books yesterday morning. The list trims its original “Long, Long List” from mid-December down to just 16 selections. These are all books published in 2014, mostly fiction, written in English and from the US.

The concept I like most about the Tournament of Books is that the books are put into a tournament-style bracket, much like “March Madness” NCAA basketball. Each day, a judge (or judges) will pick one book from each bracket to move on to the next round. But the best part is that “he or she will provide a detailed accounting of the reasons why he or she has decided thusly. Also, we’ll ask our judges to reveal any and all connections they have with the authors and titles involved.” Transparency! There’s also a Zombie round – voted on by the general public – in which two eliminated titles come back from the dead to try to defeat the finalists. (You can vote for your pick in the Zombie round at the bottom of the Tournament of Books page until Jan. 12, 2015 at midnight Eastern time.)

The judges are a collection of novelists, poets, and other authors; editors; library program directors; musicians; artists; and a ToB reader. They sound like fascinating people in their own right and sound knowledgeable about literature.

The thing that’s really cool about this tournament is that each judge has to explain their choice. It doesn’t matter as much to me which book wins but I’m very curious to know why the judges make their choices and I’m very excited to learn more about the books. The 2015 Tournament of Books starts in March but the brackets will be set up in the next few weeks. March just got a whole lot more interesting for the readers and intellectuals!

Have you read any of the books on the “long, long” or short lists for the 2015 Tournament of Books? Any recommendations? I haven’t yet, but I’m excited to read All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

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