Friday, June 16, 2017

2016 Book of the Year: The Finals

Let's get this show back on the road, shall we?

Normally, we all know my favorite book from the year before by the end of February. Obviously, we are slightly behind schedule. But...all is not lost. We will persevere darn...we will know my favorite book by the end of June.

Since it's been a terribly long and pathetic amount of time, your memory is likely (like mine) to be a bit rusty in remembering where we were in this process. For those of you who haven't been around for Book of the Year (BOTY) before, it works like this:

Book of the Year is a bracket style elimination wherein I enter all of the books I read the year before in a randomized fashion and then pit them against each other to determine my favorite book of the year. The size of the bracket is dependent upon how many books I read in the year prior. If there are more books than a standardized bracket, then the lowest rated books are eliminated before we even begin. Once the competition begins, those books that were rated higher in my original ratings automatically beat their opponents. Opponents with the same rating get to duke it out based on my personal feelings towards each book. Sometimes I know the winner going in to the process, sometimes even I am surprised at who comes out on top. 

Got it? Okay, let's move on...

This is where we left things after we eliminated down to the Final Four.

It's an eclectic bunch. We have a children's book, a fiction novel by an award winning novelist, a young adult fiction novel, and a play. This is the first time in BOTY history when either a children's book or a play have made it this far in the process. 

Now...depending on what you're looking to read, all four of these books are worth your attention. always, only one can be the winner. So, let's get eliminating.

We only have to rounds this time: the left bracket and the right bracket.

The Left Bracket:


Porko von Popbutton is a Canadian children's book that was written in the 1960s and is admittedly not what would be considered politically correct by today's standards. But it's colorful and it's fun and it is part of a series based on the seven deadly sins. This one is gluttony. Plus, there's hockey. What's not to love? It's out of print and difficult to find, though Amazon has made life so much easier for these sorts of things.

The Shipping News, interestingly enough, has a plot largely based in Canada (though it is written by American author Annie Proulx). It was a New York Times bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1994. Obviously it has seen high praise. I read this one for a literature class and wound up writing a terribly long term paper on it, so I obviously read and scrutinized it in depth. It's creative and quirky, with lots of hidden meanings and literary effects. It's incredibly well-written.

I would like to say that the underdog took the day in this one, simply cool would it be for a children's book to make it to the finals? But, that's not to be. It just couldn't. The Shipping News is an incredibly good book and one that is on my reread list for the future. That doesn't happen often. And I got an A on that term paper, so obviously I know my stuff when it comes to this book. 😉

Winner for the left side of the bracket and first entry into the finals for 2016 Book of the Year...

The Right Bracket:


Since You've Been Gone is a young adult fiction novel written by Morgan Matson, winner of the 2014 Book of the Year with her novel, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour. Admittedly, this one did not give me all the feels that Amy & Roger did, hence its four-star rating compared to Amy & Roger's five. But, it's still adorable and lovely. Morgan Matson is a fantastic author and for lovers of young adult fiction, this one is a must read.

Arcadia is a play by Tom Stoppard and also received four stars on initial rating. I also read this one for the aforementioned literature class. Now, I am not typically a fan of plays. I do not seek them out and I very rarely read them unless they are part of an assignment. Seriously. Arcadia is masterfully written and has a fantastic premise wherein the entire play takes place in the same room, but in two separate time periods 100 years apart. And yet...they aren't entirely separate. It's really quite good. Like The Shipping News, this one goes on the reread list. Serious props to my professor for her choices here.  

This match-up was my most difficult decision to this point in the bracket. I waffled back and forth several times on my selection for the winner. In fact, when I sat down to write this post today, I couldn't recall who the winner was. I guessed...and I was wrong. So, really it was anyone's game here. You can't go wrong with either. But if I've said it before, I've said it a thousand times. There can only be one winner. And the show must go on. Decisions must be made. Losses must be cut.

So...the winner of the right side bracket, by less than a hair's breadth...

It always gets painful at some point in these eliminations. And this, my friends, is where it happened this year. Though I admit that the early competition of Binge and Pirate at the Party was also a tough one. The lower right bracket was full of good reads. is where we now stand:

Only one more round to go, my friends. And then it's winner, winner, chicken dinner. We will finally have my 2016 Book of the Year.

1 comment:

  1. A new baby changes the timeline of blogging and that is okay. I have not read any books on the list, but Since You've Been Gone is on my summer TBR list.


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