The lively Tournament of Books begins tomorrow. It’s a contest with a bias – one that the organizers pronounce at the outset:
But, as we said, if we’re going to engage in the dubious exercise of turning art into competition, why not operate in an environment of total transparency? Let’s just admit the finalists were chosen in a mostly haphazard manner, that we likely overlooked as many deserving titles as we included. Let’s release the names of the judges and reveal their biases, and make the reasons for every decision available for all to read. Most importantly, let’s seed the books into a wagering-friendly, NCAA basketball-like tournament bracket and force 16 of the best-reviewed novels of the year into a winner-take-all battle royale of literary excellence, a phrase that one of these days we will get around to trademarking.
The first match-up is between Nicole Krauss’ History of Love and Dave Bergen’s The Time In Between.
I wrote about the great 1906 earthquake anniversary exhibit at Wells Fargo Bank. Well, the bank is doing something decidedly un- corporate – it has set up a blog about the Bay Area and earthquakes. There are lots of contributors, so the posts range from the historical to the philosophical. It’s fun.
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On another business note, the Mercury News has set up a website, savethemerc.com, to try and enlist community support for the paper. It was put together by member of the Newspaper Guild and the idea is to show potential buyers there is demand for a high quality newspaper in the region. (I think this is a hint to cost-cutter Dean Singleton, who is a potential buyer.)