One of the reasons I started to blog last year (and it will be a year Feb. 15) was because I thoroughly enjoyed a new contest called A Tournament of Books.
A group of book lovers, including the folks at Powells’ Books in Portland and assorted bloggers, created a round robin contest that pitted 16 books directly against one another. (It was patterned after the NCAA basketball tournament) Two reviewers would read two books and argue in print which one was better. The winning book would go to the next round to compete again. The 2005 winner? Well, I can’t quite remember and my research on Google didn’t tell me. It was either David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas or Phillip Roth’s The Plot Against America.
What made the contest particularly fun were the reviewers, who were not necessarily erudite or well-read. So it was like a slice of America. You had bibliophiles, music lovers, readers in their 40s and in their 20s, in short, a diverse group of judges.
I first found out about the contest through an article in the New York Times. I couldn't wait to get back to my computer and every day found me eagerly looking for new critiques. I was so enchanted by the discussions and the fact that they were taking place outside of normal media channels. The Tournament convinced me of the power of blogging and although history wasn't made, I did go on to start Ghost Word.
Well, I just found out after reading The Elegant Variation that there will be a Year 2 of this tournament, starting in March. The organizers have just announced the books that will be read in competition. I can't wait for it to begin.
ANOTHER THING I LOVE Alan Rinzler is the executive editor of Jossey-Bass, a San Francisco-based publishing house. Rinzler has worked on many interesting books during his long career and even offers his editorial services for hire. He’s edited Toni Morrison, Hunter Thompson, Tom Robbins, Jerzy Kosinski, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, Dee Brown, Vine Deloria Jr, Claude Brown, Shirley MacLaine, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and others. For the last six years, Rinzler has offered a free three-session course at Cody’s Books on how to publish a book From Cody’s website.
“ALAN RINZLER asks ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH TO BE PUBLISHED? The sixth (6th!) annual three-session symposium -- February 5, March 5, and April 2nd -- on what it takes to get your book published, providing participants with frank feedback and honest evaluation of your proposal or sample manuscript from a publishing veteran, is back. We'll discuss how to research and prepare an idea -- fiction or nonfiction -- and guidelines for revision if there's a realistic chance of success.
If you'd like your proposal or manuscript to be considered before the group during the first session on February 5, send ahead no more than 15 pages to firstname.lastname@example.org or hard copy to Alan Rinzler, Executive Editor, Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 989 Market Street, SF, CA 94103. Otherwise, just come! No reservations are necessary.”
This is not a course you have to sign up for. You can show up. It’s worth just hearing Rinzler talk. It starts this Sunday, Feb. 5 at 3 pm at Cody’s on Telegraph.