The Tournament of Books is down to the final four, and I am so disappointed because none of the four have engaged me, excited me. I have read from all the selections now, and the only one that motivates me to read it in its entirety is (admits begrudgingly) Goon Squad, and I am not sure that that will happen any time soon. And (crankiness continues) I don't even like the jacket designs. Just look up above. Yawn. I put together the thin panel mosaic because it at least omits portions of the covers. Sigh.
Who won our little quarterfinals competition? Well, a few of you had three correct so the children were called in to pick a winner. Brooks' admission of stupidity was a real laugh fest for the kids so he was permitted entry into this group. But the name from the random drawing was Emily who rules the day and picks any book from the tournament as a prize. Will she choose Lemon Cake? I can hardly wait to find out.
Still waiting to see what the Zombie round brings but hopeful still for new life for Skippy. A resurrection for both the book and my enthusiasm for the popular contemporary novel. I know that it has not sounded like it at times, but I have enjoyed the tournament this year as I always do for the conversation it inspires which, as I have said before, has been more thought provoking and amusing than much of the judged material. The hosts are excellent book pimps, finding the best in the material and allowing their reservations to arrive in posts usually only after their praise.
But it took only a week long fling with Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa to emphasize the flaccid blandness of a lot of current popular fiction. I do not need (or seldom want) to personally identify with a novel to love it. I want to travel outside myself, to be moved, excited, electrified, stunned by the revelations of a quiet but telling moment. I want to be pushed to think in ways I do not normally. Sometime to have the ingredients of my own thoughts prepared in a different way. Or to recognize something achingly familiar in new scenery. And I want to see craftsmanship and not formulaic or gimmicky construction. (Wow, that's not too demanding is it?) What are you looking for in your next great read?