Return of the rooster: The Morning News has announced the (very) longlist of contenders for one of our favorite literary events of the year, the Tournament of Books, starting next March. New twist this year: they are accepting 100-word applications to judge one of the rounds (act soon--deadline is Dec. 19). Meanwhile, I'm befuddled and disappointed that even on this giant list they left off my favorite novel of the year, David Grossman's To the End of the Land, which I was certainly not the only person to love. Perhaps they were afraid it would flatten any competition (which it would).
Best of the year, from any year: One of my other favorite annual traditions, the Millions' Year in Reading (which, in the UK newspaper style, asks writers for their favorite reads of the year instead of making a top 10 of their own as bullies like us do), has been rolling along, with so much good stuff it's hard to keep up with blog-wise. Some recent entries: my friend Matt Weiland today, recommending the great Primo Levi among others; Adam Levin on Adam Novy's The Avian Gospels ("funny in the way Blood Meridian is funny"); Paul Harding, convincing me to check out Nikolai Leskov's The Enchanted Wanderer ("absurd and profound and hair-raising"); and Tom McCarthy on Ingeborg Bachmann's Malina ("The best book I’ve read this year, by a long chalk"). More on their way each day.
Who is Regis Philbin?: The biggest book news around my cubicle is that, thanks in part to "Who is Jackie Collins?", "Who is Jacqueline Susann?", and "Who is Jack Welch?" in the "Jackie Paper" category, I lived to fight another day on Jeopardy! yesterday. Stay tuned.