Sunday, March 14, 2010

SLJ Battle of the Books Bracket Preview

Two weeks ago the School Library Journal's second annual Battle of the Books kicked off with the announcement of the match ups and judges. Since then 52 people have submitted brackets to the contest I announced in a previous post. Tonight I will show what the participants are thinking for the first 2 matches of round one. As well as make some predictions of my own.

Match 1 - Jim Murphy judging Charles and Emma vs. Claudette Colvin

Two time Newbery Honor winning author Jim Murphy has to decide between two nonfiction titles. This is a great match. Regardless of his decision, I can't wait to read Murphy's thoughts on both these titles. Murphy's honor winning titles (2004's American Plague and 1996's The Great Fire) more closely resemble Claudette Colvin (in form at least). Will this push Murphy's towards Claudette? Does Murphy have any of the same concerns about Claudette that Colleen brought up at Chasing Ray?
Personally I enjoyed Claudette Colvin slightly more than Charles and Emma but I was more fascinated by what I learned in Charles and Emma (if that makes any sense). I have know idea how to pick a winner here.

Of the 52 contestants 63% chose Claudette Colvin as the winner of match 1. Will Mr. Murphy follow suit?

Match 2 Nancy Farmer judging The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate vs. Fire

This match features two titles that recieved a lot of love all year. Judge Nancy Farmer (a three time Newbery Honor and one time Printz Honor recipient) has her hands full with two longish ficition titles. On one hand there's Calpurnia, Kelly's character driven coming of age story; on the other is Fire, Cashore's world building fantasy. Farmer will have to decide between a wonderfully executed middle grade title and an equally well executed YA title. While not the apples and oranges of fiction v. nonfiction but the distinction does present some challenges. Will Judge Farmer's recent experience in wrapping up her own fantasy trilogy weigh in her appreciation of Fire?
Personally I liked Calpurnia when I read it this summer, but I do not remember enough of it to want to read it again. I have about 100 pages left to go in Fire and while I wish it wasn't the case I'm ready for it to be over. I thought Graceling was fantastic and Katsa was a supremely awesome character. The world of the seven kingdoms was amazingly realized and I looked forward to Fire with great anticipation. I was intrigued by the first 100 pages of Fire and then the character began to annoy me to no end. I wanted another Katsa but Fire just bugged me page after page. That said I am amazed at the way Cashore was able to expand the world she began building in Graceling to encompass so much more. Love the world, hate the girl. Maybe the final 100 pages will turn me around, I hope that they do and either way I'll be reading Bitterblue the day it is released. Any title that I can enjoy while simultaneously disliking the protagonist is a winner in my book (just not something I need to read again any time soon) I think Fire is going to win this match and reservations aside, I kind of hope it does.

In the closest of the first round matches, 56% of the 52 contestants chose Fire to move on to the next round.

Hopefully tomorrow I will post about matches 3 and 4.
Over on the Battle of the Books website I mentioned that if I received at least 50 participants by tonight I would send the arc of Smells Like Dog to which ever participant wins the bracket contest. As we are at 52 entries, the lucky winner will indeed receive said arc.

Okay, now to start filling out some ncaa brackets! Go 'cuse!

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