Sunday, January 29, 2017

2016 Book of the Year: Elite Eight

Don't worry. I hadn't forgotten that I was in the middle of whittling books down to my favorite read of 2016. It's been a very long and trying week and I've not been feeling that energetic. I'm in the middle of my 8th month of pregnancy and I'm starting to feel pretty exhausted and uncomfortable. 

In addition, we had a pig with a very difficult farrowing early in the week that resulted in the loss of several piglets. We had the surviving four piglets in the house, but unfortunately lost one yesterday to seizures. We had revived her twice and were monitoring and nursing her for nearly fourteen hours straight, but she just couldn't pull through. We were both fairly devastated. Our farm is a business, but our animals have never just been a dollar sign. We care very much about them all and to have one hurting or suffering is incredibly hard. To lose one is heartbreaking. Her three siblings are still going strong and getting bigger and healthier by the day, but we aren't out of the woods yet. We're hoping that in the next week they will continue to do well and we can feel a little more confident that we have succeeded in preparing them for a nice, long life.

Enough of the depressing stuff though...I've had enough of that in the last couple of days. How about instead, we talk books?

This is where we begin for my 2016 BOTY Bracket...

In my last two posts, I gave a brief review of each of the challengers in both the left and right halves of the bracket. Today, we're going to cut the participants in half. Some of these eliminations are simple. Some...not so much.

Bracket 1:

The first rule of my eliminations has always been to default to the ratings. Higher ratings always win. No excuses, no exceptions. So...some of these eliminations will be pretty cut and dry. In this case, we have a 4-star review vs. a 3-star. That means The Goal is out and Porko von Popbutton lives to fight another day.

Bracket 2:

These were both received 3-star ratings, so there was a bit more deliberation involved in choosing a winner. I will admit though, this one was fairly easy to decide. Kaling edges out Hessler simply because I find a humorous autobiography more interesting and enjoyable than a travel memoir in this particular case. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling advances to the Elite Eight.

Bracket 3:

Four stars v. two. No contest. Annie Proulx easily wins this round and The Shipping News is moving on.

Bracket 4:

I enjoyed the Faulkner and may read it again in the future, but once again ratings win out. 3.5 stars v. 4 stars. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo edges out the competition to take the bracket.

Bracket 5:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (adaptation by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne)

This one is a case where my failure to adhere to Goodreads's whole star rating system works in someone's favor. 3 stars vs. 3 1/2. Harry Potter, though not as impressive as I had originally hoped, beats out Alexie to move into the next round.

Bracket 6:

Ah, the ratings match-ups are making a lot of these nice and simple. I'll take it! Matson's 4-star rating takes down Harris's 3 stars handily. Since You've Been Gone takes bracket 6 and pushes on.

Bracket 7:

Two stars versus four stars and a pretty cover? Fukuzawa didn't stand a chance. Winner, winner? Arcadia by Tom Stoppard.

Bracket 8:

Ah...and we save the most challenging bracket for last. Two good books, both 4-star ratings. Authors? Both adorable and funny. I really didn't like that they were pitted against each other right away. Darn you random sequence generator! But...we all know how it goes. It starts getting painful at some stage in the game. It took me some deliberation, but I finally made a decision on this one. Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye. The ultimate winner of this bracket of awesomeness? Lindsey Stirling's The Only Pirate at the Party. Sorry, Tyler. Better luck next time.

And there you have it...we're officially down to eight. I realized while writing up this round that I didn't have a single 5-star read last year. I find that incredibly sad. I'm going to have to work a little harder at it this year. But...there are still some darned good contenders. Given the ratings rule, some of you undoubtedly recognize that there are some obvious eliminations that will be coming. But never fear, there will be some painful eliminations along the way. And ultimately, there will be a very good book that takes the crown. Can you guess the winner yet? 

Next up: Eliminations to the Final Four...


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