Welcome to Book Madness 2017! We are looking forward to another exciting and surprising event this year. On the one side of the bracket we have “There and Back Again.” The Short Story category has several strong contenders. A dark horse in this region is Mark Twain’s “Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” which may be seeded too low. But it faces a tough opening round draw in Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything that Rises Must Converge.” Since these are short stories, why not read them before voting?
The Long Tales category has several classics, including Les Miserables, Don Quixote, and War and Peace. The bottom part of the bracket consists of lengthy twentieth-century works. It will be interesting to see if any of them can pull off what would be a major opening round upset. The Journey Ahead category is led by Pilgrim’s Progress and contains childhood favorites in The Phantom Tollbooth and The Incredible Journey.
The final category on this side of the bracket has stories that examine the joys, hopes and struggles of being in and finding a home.
The theme of the other side of the bracket is News, Blues, and All that Jazz. The News region focuses on autobiographies and biographies of reporters. All the President’s Men would seem to be a prohibitive favorite, but anything can happen! Just to give you fair warning, the Blues category contains heartbreaking works. I am still traumatized by Where the Red Fern Grows. The only criteria for the third section of this side of the bracket is that it has the word “All” in the title. This creates an eclectic group, from Shakespeare to the rather strange children’s book All My Friends are Dead.
The fourth and final category includes some of the greatest works of the Jazz Age, including novels by F.Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway and poems by Langston Hughes and T.S. Eliot. This seems to be the most balanced category – any of these works could make a run to the Final Four.
So come by the circulation desk, fill out a bracket, and, since this is Chicago, vote early and vote often!