The New York Public Library has a seriously fantastic Instagram account that I discovered this week via this NPR feature. And each Monday until the cards run out, they will be featuring questions from a recently discovered box of questions posed to NYPL librarians from the 1940s until the 1980s. All posted with the hashtag #letmelibrarianthatforyou. No inhuman search engine could ever appreciate the varied and sometimes bizarre content on these cards. Or the back stories that drove the curious and sometimes desperate to place themselves into the hands of a librarian.
The annual Tournament of Books is just around the corner. The long list of seemingly randomly selected titles is up for scrutiny now, and the short list is expected any day. This annual funfest of inadequately substantiated literary smack talk is a favorite of mine. Anything goes.
Each year I have tried to guess the short list titles, the final four, the whatever, and I am always wrong. My favorite moments have been when the titles I have deemed unbelievably bad selections have made it all the way through to the end. The pleasure in indignation, outrage. Each year I have followed the tournament, my predictions have been arrived at in a more random fashion, and each year my guesses have become more though not wholly accurate.
This year I am predicting the sweet sixteen by first including the titles that I have already read or have on hand, and then using a random number generator to fill out the list. So this is what I get.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber
- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
- Wittgenstein Jr by Lars Iyer
- Euphoria by Lily King
- Redeployment by Phil Klay
- California by Edan Lepucki
- The Children Act by Ian McEwan
- The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
- Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
- Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn
- The Vacationers by Emma Straub
- The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Will you be playing and reading along with the ToB? Or reaching out in desperation to a librarian this week?