internet

What's Wrong with the Tournament of Books with Special Guests Ed Champion and Sarah Weinman

Every year, the Morning News website does a "Tournament of Books" in which a selection of reviewers compare books to one another, elimination style, until only one is left the victor. It's a pleasing concept and an addictive one, especially if you have a particular book or two you root for like a favorite sports team. The only problem is that there seem to be certain biases as to what books get picked for the tournament. Specifically, anything printed under a "genre" imprint (science fiction/fantasy/horror/romance/mystery/thriller/crime/whatever) gets ignored, pretty much as a rule. Which isn't to say they're opposed to genre concepts, for example, this year's tournament included Margaret Atwood's dystopian Year of the Flood, which even she refers to as a speculative fiction novel, though it's published as mainstream. One assumes then that it's not as much an explicit prejudice as simple ignorance.

To rectify the situation, I'm recommending some books from 2009 that were sadly overlooked, and I've recruited two excellent authorities, Ed Champion of Reluctant Habits and Sarah Weinman of Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. It's too late to be included in this years proceedings but hopefully they'll take notice. And next year I plan to be more proactive in letting them know my selections before they begin, so they have no excuse!