I read about this contest in Jacket Copy, the LA Times book blog. Sponsored by the Morning News and Powell’s Books, it pits sixteen of the most acclaimed novels of the year against each other, in a bracketed competition. Each pair of books is read by a single critic, who names the winner. Where a book is seeded is determined by literary acclaim; word has it that Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland was seeded lower than it might have been because the PEN/Faulkner Award was announced so late. Adding to the mix of factors that determine the winner are “zombie votes,” anonymous votes for books which can bring them back into competition after they’ve lost in the pair competition. For an entertaining article from the Morning News on how the whole thing got started, click here.
Like any tournament, it’s open to betting, with a twist: proceeds benefit First Book, “a nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books.” Here’s a site that gives odds on the various titles, and links allowing you to bet. Sadly, the Zombie Poll is closed, so it’s too late to express yourself there.
rooster illustration: Dianne Paine