Those of you who set aside much of your March for college basketball know what it’s like to get all revved up for three weeks of the NCAA tournament, only to see your favorite team get knocked out by noon on the first Thursday of play. Well, that’s what it was like for me to tune in to the first week of my equally beloved-and-anticipated March extravaganza, the Tournament of Books. As soon as the ToB revealed its 18 contenders for 2017, my rooting interest was clear: I wanted to see the crazy brilliance of C.E. Morgan’s The Sport of Kings finally get its due, sweeping through the field toward a final, fascinating showdown with another great novel on America and race, Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad.
So much for that: in the ToB’s very first match, a three-way “play-in” round, The Sport of Kings was cast aside in favor of Alvaro Enrigue’s Sudden Death. There have been plenty of other surprises and upsets in the tourney’s first week, and as always some of the best discussion takes place among the fans, in the only comments section in the entire internet that’s worth reading.
–Tom Nissley, Phinney Books, Seattle, WA in the Phinney Books weekly newsletter
Are you following the Tournament of Books? Do you have a favorite book you’re betting on?