It’s January and that means it’s time to kick off another Tournament of Books competition. The folks over at The Morning News have been running this beauty pageant of books for 12 years. No matter if you agree with the final winner or not, I guarantee the conversation is worth following.
Last year Station Eleven took home the top prize (which I thought was a great read). You can read last year’s Championship Matchup’s play-by-play here.
Now that you see how it went down, click over and read the long list of “players” on the roster for this year’s contest. There are 86 works of fiction in the 2016 Tournament of Books. Quite a few books you’d expect to be there, but there are even more that never popped up on my radar last year. I’ve already added three titles to my “be on the lookout for” list.
How many of the 86 have you already read? Anything on there you’d recommend?
You can keep up with the contest by following The Morning News on Twitter or by watching this category/archive thread on their site. The brackets and schedule will be published soon enough as folks start trash taking and picking the faves.
May the best book win!
Last year was a great year for books. I hit a bland patch coming out of the summer, but finished out 2015 with some great reads. Now that 2016 is here, it’s fun to look back and see what other readers were doing.
Libraries around the country have been posting their “most requested” and “most borrowed” lists for a few weeks. So I thought I’d sample a few and see what the commonalities are.
Here in Birmingham, Alabama, John Grisham’s Gray Mountain and two David Baldacci books, The Memory Man and The Escape, make the “most popular” list.
The folks in South Florida favored Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train, but both Grisham and Baldacci made a Top 5 list from Miami Dade county also.
Paula Hawkins topped the lists in Boston as well as those up around Chicago as well. Interesting how there’s no Grisham or Baldacci there.
And patrons of the New York Public Library System prefer Jodi Picoult over everything else. Though Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train was second. But again, no Grisham or Baldacci.
There definitely seems to be a line, on the map, somewhere for what types of thrillers readers like in different parts of the country.
Hope you read some good books last year. And I hope you have many more ahead of you this year.
Happy New Year!
The official Man Booker Prize Long List came out this week. A few names are new to me and certainly many, of the 13 authors, I don’t know. And just like previous years, the 2015 Man Booker podcast has launched and it’s off to a GREAT start.
You can get the Man Booker podcast on iTunes or you can listen on your computer via Soundcloud.
This is one of my favorite podcasts and like good locally grown food – it’s only available one season of the year. So subscribe and check out what’s going on as there are only a few episodes put together each award season.
The first full episode was fun and hops around a lot. They chat about the prize, what it’s like being a judge, as well as a “man on the street” segment where they went to a local bookstore in the U.K. to catch a midnight release party of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. It was pretty neat to hear how folks ‘across the pond’ regard Lee’s new book as well as To Kill a Mockingbird. This episode was like popping around a room during a dinner party where every grouping of people is discussing some aspect of books and publishing.
The Prize and the Man Booker podcast as gotten a lot more fun since the prize has gone global and is open to authors of any nationality. For much of the Man Booker Prize history it was only open to authors from the British Commonwealth & interests.
So check it out and get caught up as the BIG announcement of the winner will be made October 13, 2015.
Do you pay attention to the Man Booker Prize?
Author: Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown, 2015
Where I heard about this book: I received this book directly from the publisher.
Armada blasts through the haze of the past couple of decades and gives us a look back to the sci-fi stories of the 1980s. Just about every page of Cline’s book drips with tropes, cliches and plot lines of well known movies and stories. You’ll find yourself smiling as characters in Armada quote lines and rally behind battle cries heard first from Activision and Atari games.
Armada follows the plight of a soon-to-be high school graduate to the moon and back as he helps defend the Earth from alien invasion. An invasion that is the result of 40 years of US government secrets and black ops. An invasion that will end life on Earth. An invasion that can only be defeated by the best video gamers on the planet as the military has been secretly training Earth’s population on how to control military drones through video games.
The Last Starfighter was one of my favorite movies growing up, which this book certainly mirrors. The same can be said for Ender’s Game which matches pretty close plot-point to plot-point. So you’ll get a kick out of Armada if you enjoyed those two stories. But if you don’t then there’s not much else here for you.
While I really enjoyed Cline’s first book Ready Player One, this book, while making use of all the same vintage hooks, nods and winks that enjoy, lacks a freshness that RPO has. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but the characters in Armada spend too much time making fun of classic sci-fi plot holes and being aware of how their world mimics it all. It never quite goes all out “meta” but it’s darn close.
I’m giving this book two out of five stars, though if you’ve ever called yourself a sci-fi geek it’s one you’ll want to read just for all of the memories. And it’s also worth picking up, in the book store, just to check out the cover.
Will Staehle nailed it. Just like every good video game there is an easter egg even in the cover… open it up for schematics of the drones. Something every hardcore sci-fi fan appreciates. Kudos to Staehle and team.