The second annual Tournament of Books sponsored by Powell's Books is gearing up. The contest organizers have announced this year’s judges, which include those with deep literary connections such as Brigid Hughes, the editor of Public Space and former editor of Paris Review – and those without – such as Nell James, a 17 year old progressive rock musician. Lit bloggers Maud Newton, Mark Sarvas, and Jessa Crispin will also serve as judges.
Sixteen books will compete against one another for the grand prize. Each book will be paired against another and the winner will continue to the next bracket until it’s winnowed down to a final two.. and then a winner. For example, Jonathan Safer Froer’s book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will compete against The History of Love, written by his wife Nicole Krauss. (The critics sort of compared them anyway in articles; now they will actually go head to head).
What I love about this contest is you get to see what “ordinary” people think about the books they read. You get to cheer for the books you’ve read and hiss at those you know nothing about. Sort of like the Oscars.