Posts Tagged ‘The Morning News’

11th March
2009
written by Steph

Un pequeño Bolño

Un pequeño Bolaño

A while back I entered a competition over at The Quarterly Conversation in which the grand prize was the complete published oeuvre of Roberto Bolaño.  Don’t ask me why I did this, given that I’ve never read any Bolaño previously, but at the time I was intrigued by 2666 (which recently won its first round in the 2009 Tournament of Books over at The Morning News), and what can I say: I’m a sucker for trivia questions (even when they are pretty hard, as was the case with the 10 questions at TQC). [As an aside, all you book lovers are missing out if you don't check out the stuff over at TQC.  It's a great way of keeping in touch with the international literature scene - something with which I am sorely out of touch most of the time.] I forgot about the contest promptly after emailing in my answers, as you do with these sorts of things, and only remembered it when I received an email from the editor over at TQC telling me I won the grand prize.  I was shocked, because while I’m not exactly unlucky, I rarely tend to win things. Today, I received my prize in the mail!  Two big envelopes, replete with books – it was a joyous occasion.  Along with the 8 tomes they sent me (2 of them in hardcover!), I also received a slew of bookmarks (hey, I’m always losing mine, so that’s actually welcomed by me!), and perhaps the thing to really get you Bolaño-philes salivating (I know you exist): the first third of a heretofore unpublished manuscript by the late Bolaño entitled The Skating Rink. The complete rundown of books that I received:
  • Amulet
  • Distant Star
  • Last Evenings on Earth
  • The Romantic Dogs
  • By Night in Chile
  • The Savage Detectives
  • Nazi Literature in the Americas
  • 2666
Now begins the dilemma of where to begin… I suppose this means I have no excuse not to tackle 2666 anymore…
11th March
2009
written by Steph
And another upset befalls the tournament!  Only this one, I was expecting.  To me, Harry, Revised seems exactly the kind of book that judges at The Morning News would enjoy.  I still plan to read The White Tiger, as I've already got it out from the library, and it seems as though the book was still enjoyable to the judge.  For the full report, go here. Next up: Unaccustomed Earth vs. City of Refuge.  I am hoping that City knocks this one out - so far the top seeds haven't been faring too well, so it's always possible.  Hopefully the judge finds Unaccustomed Earth as tedious as many of us did!
10th March
2009
written by Steph
Noooooooooooooo! If you still need to check the results of this match-up, you can do so here.  But why bother?  It's so disappointing!  I guess when they compared the tournament to March Madness, they really meant the madness part! Tomorrow:  The White Tiger vs. Harry, Revised.  I'm not sure what to expect here.  I have a sneaking suspicion the judge might give it to Harry, but I guess we'll have to just wait and see (I've not read either book, so I have no strong feelings on this one!).
9th March
2009
written by Steph
The result from the first match up for the 2009 Tournament of Books is up now, and can be read here. Can't say that this one was a surprise (especially since I predicted it would go this way in my previous post). Next up (though when, I'm not sure): Netherland vs. A Partisan's Daughter I haven't had the chance to read Netherland yet, but I'll be sorely disappointed if it doesn't take APD out.
20th February
2009
written by Steph
If you're into this kind of thing and are planning to play along with this year's Tournament of Books, the official bracket has now been posted over at The Morning News, along with info on the esteemed judges who will be overseeing all of the matches.  Being such a non-sports person, I can only assume that the matches will proceed from the top of the bracket to the bottom (yes, I understand the bracket ultimately moves from left to right, but I know that they don't post the first round results simultaneously).  Based on last year's pacing, results from each bout were posted about once every three days, so I'm assuming they'll follow a similar schedule this year. Events kick off on March 6, presumably with the match-up between Roberto Bolaño's 2666 & Fae Myenne Ng's Steer Toward Rock (my review of which, you can view here).  Having not read the Bolaño (and with no possibility of reading it before March 6 in sight), and understanding that in this tournament, personal taste of the judge (and his/her idiosyncrasies) plays a huge role, my predicition is that Bolaño easily sweeps his first round.  Based on what I've heard, I think this one is a strong contender for the overall win, in part because of how The Savage Detectives lost last year, although the fact that it was unfinished at the time of the author's death may work against it.
24th January
2009
written by Steph
Voting for the Zombie Round entrants for the annual Tournament of Books is open. If you're better informed about this year's books that are up for the rooster prize (or even if you're not but just like to vote for things), you can click on this link and cast your vote for whichever book you thought was best. Voting closes on Jan 26th (I think), so if you do plan to cast your vote, time is running out!  I'm not sure why the folks over at The Morning News have decided to have voting finish so far before the tournament, but them's the breaks. I don't think I'll vote because I haven't read anything off of the list so far that I would like to see win.  However, I'll point out that voting entails you filling out a brief questionnaire, during which you can offer ideas about what you'd like to see incorporated into future ToBs.  So perhaps for that reason, it would be worthwhile to randomly select a book and hope that I wind up liking it.  All I ask is this: Please don't vote for A Partisan's Daughter. That is all.
14th January
2009
written by Steph
This just in: The Morning News has revealed the contenders for the 2009 Tournament of Books.  For those of you not in the know, this is an annual tournament held by TMN in which some of the year's "best" books compete in a March Madness NCAA type fashion.  Two books face off each week, with the winner of that bout proceeding to the next round.  How do these battles go down?  Each week has a designated reader (generally an author or writer) who reads both books (in theory), and then declares a winner based on his or her own personal set of criteria.  Other than a penultimate Zombie round (in which previously voted fan favorites get a chance to rise again and do battle once more), in order to make it to the final round, a given book must beat each of its adversaries in each round in order to win the prize.  And what is the prize? Well, the author of the winning novel is sent a live rooster, so there's that.  But for you the reader, the whole tournament is a prize, because not only are the weekly commentaries both amusing and informative, but you get a fancy new reading list!  Past winners have been The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Accidental by Ali Smith (just barely...), and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. As I said though, it's not just the overall winner of the tournament that necessarily shines in a contest such as this.  Indeed, one of my favourite reads of last year, Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris, was an entry (but not winner) in the tournament.  I came to the tourney late last year, and read about most of the books after their rounds had come and gone.  By the end, I read two of the books on the list, and I still enjoyed the whole thing.  But this year, I want to play along!  And I encourage you to do so too!  Here's the list of books that will duke it out: (more…)
12th December
2008
written by Steph
A recent post on The Guardian’s book blog discusses the merits of reading bad books, which has led writers and readers of The Morning News to reveal some of their guilty pleasure reads. Let’s tackle each of these in turn, shall we? (more…)
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