I read about this fun site at Estella’s Revenge: The Morning News Tournament of Books — it’s March Madness meets great literature combined with a lot of humor, and it even features writers you may have heard of as judges.
Here’s the deal: they picked sixteen highly acclaimed books published last year, created a bracket and each book goes head to head with another book. The judges are writers and editors, and among them is one of my favorites, Wil Wheaton (actor, writer, and blogger).
Wheaton reviews The Sisters Brothers, a book I plan to read, and Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder. Want to know where he comes out?
I’ll spare you any sort of contrived suspense (there’s plenty of that in State of Wonder) about which book I picked to send to round two, and just cut to the chase: I had to restrain myself from reading The Sisters Brothers in one sitting, and State of Wonder felt like the most tedious homework assignment I’ve ever had in my life. The Sisters Brothers easily and handily wins this matchup.
You’ll probably find other books in the tournament you’re interested in, plus some really great commentary.
I’m working on lots of reviews at the moment, including Hugo, Under the Same Sky, The Earthquake Machine (two review requests) and Timeless, Gail Carriger’s latest.
On the classics front, I’ve given up on Bleak House for now. One, I’m lacking the mental fortitude at the moment. But two, this book is not drawing me in like his others have (David Copperfield being my favorite). If you’ve read Bleak House, I’d love to get your opinion – is it worth going back to when I’m under a little less stress? If I’m struggling in the early part of the book does it get rolling at some point? If this is a must read (like, say, Middlemarch) I’ll definitely go back and give it a try. I’ve also got Count of Monte Cristo languishing on my shelf, so I could to go back to that one too.
As I’ve gone this far, I’ll take it a step further – what on my TBR list do YOU want to hear about? I’m posting a survey with books from my TBR list, so please weigh in! Your input will help me choose what to read – and ensures this blog is nominally interesting to someone other than myself. So thanks for voting.
Happy Sunday, all. Sundays are somewhat stressful days for me – so much to do combined with the dread of another work week. But one of my new year’s resolutions is that I will not ruin my Sunday by worrying about Monday. So here’s to that. Enjoy your day – I wish you happy spring weather and a relaxing day, wherever you are.
I can vouch for Bleak House and The Count of Monte Christo.
BH is a thicker read, in more than one way, than David Copperfield, but I argue its lessons and view into the soul of Charles Dickens are deeper. The experience of Esther Summerson who slips from the low social rung of being a plain, poor girl to the even lower spot of an adult orphan disfigured by smallpox and then experiences not only a continued acceptance from her friends, a worthy suitor and protectors, but also continues to embrace herself and consider herself worthy when the entire value of a woman was her beauty and family connections is a beacon of non-misogyny from the 19th century: a rare thing. The Jarndyce v Jarndyce trial takes up too many pages, but Dickens’ indictment of courts, endless lawyering and individuals greedy (and needy) for their share of an inheritance is withering. The plaintiffs receive no redress but insanity from the process, and that lesson continues to be timely.
TCOMC is long (I like big books and I cannot lie!) and nearly the entire middle when Edmond Dantes is imprisoned can be skimmed, but TCOMC is a tale of revenge that I’ve never seen the likes of before or since. And it’s not simple revenge. The book lasts long enough to pose the question–at what point does your obsession with punishment of those who have wronged you become punishment of yourself?