First things first, today is the official start of The Morning News' Tournament of Books, or TOB X. The pre-TOB playoff round went off on Monday. I learned a lot from that one. To determine the final book in the tournament, there was a face off between two books, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (which I recently finished, adored and will be writing about shortly, I promise) and Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel. I knew nothing about Woke Up Lonely and from all of the assorted persons discussing it over at The Morning News, I'm not sure that I'll be racing to read it. Of course, if Judy at Keep the Wisdom, who is reading all of the TOB books, read it and liked it, I'll keep it at the top of the TBR pile. I totally trust her instincts and opinions. I was pleased that Life After Life made it into the tournament. And, that John Green will be judging it on March 17, when it goes up against The People in the Trees. The judge for the first round was Geraldine Brooks, a Pulitzer Prize winner. You may be familiar with her books, March (about the father from Little Women and his service in the Civil War) and The People of the Book. I had no idea that she doesn't have an MFA or any literary degree. She's a regular person, greatly talented, who not only had a couple of books in her, but she had great literary prize worthy books in her. I found that immensely interesting.
Today, was the first official day of the TOB X and today's combatants were The Luminaries and Hill William. It was not without its controversy, either. Apparently, Scott McClanahan, author of Hill William did some kind of big Eff You post to soccer moms and Oprah and said he was pulling his book from the tournament. I have no idea what the back story is here, or if it's been sussed out yet, but it was kind of weird. Today's judge is Rachel Fershleiser of Tumblr and I really enjoyed reading her thoughts on the two books. I haven't read either yet, but I do have both of them at home right now, waiting for me to get to them. (I was on such a roll recently, just plowing through books. Now, I'm mostly just doing audio... I've got one book going in the car, one on my phone that I listen to when I take my walk, or when I'm farting around on the computer, and one that I listen to on my tablet before bed, while I check email and play puzzle games).
I am woefully behind on my book reviews. At this moment, I have at least a half dozen books that I've read but haven't written a single word about. I really have to get caught up on that. I have been using that time to catalog my nook books and kindle books. I wanted to participate in the Clean Out Your E-reader Challenger (COYER). I did the one in the fall and was thrilled when I heard that Berls and Michelle plan on making it a regular thing. However, March is tournament month and I don't have free and cheap copies of the ebooks for the Tournament of Books or the Battle of the Kids Books, so I have to let this one pass me by. I will definitely be joining up next time around. I've also got a backlog of book links that is pretty frightening at this point. I'll try and get a nice fat links post up for tomorrow.
And now, in an attempt to be all throwbacky for Thursday, I've reread, or actually, listened to the second book in the Sookie Stackhouse series, Living Dead in Dallas, which I previously read. There are a bunch of series books that I began but never finished. Any complete series that I can easily obtain on audio from my library, or from its affiliation with One Click and Overdrive are on top of my, I guess, TBL list. I read quite a few of the Sookie Stackhouse books, and I've watched the HBO series, but I never remember where I stopped reading. So, I'm starting from the beginning. They are not great literature and I'm not even sure I still like Sookie. The woman who reads the books makes her seem a lot more flippant, kind of mean and nasty than I remember her from my reading. But, they take my mind off of all the piles of snow I have to step around when I take my daily constitutional around my neighborhood after work.
In Living Dead in Dallas, the telepathic Sookie Stackhouse's services are requested by a nest of vampires in, of course, Dallas. She and her vampire boyfriend, Bill Compton, travel to Dallas so that Sookie can read the minds of the humans believed to have some knowledge about a kidnapped vampire. She's also looking into the murder of Lafayette Reynolds, one of the cooks at Merlotte's, the bar and grill where Sookie works.
Sookie meets up with a maenad, who has a bone to pick with the vampires and leaves Sookie for dead. The vampires at Fangtasia and a supernatural witch doctor like person get her patched up and emptied of poison as best they can, saving her life. When Eric, Fangtasia's owner, loans her out to a group of vampires in Dallas to sort out a kidnapping of one of their own, she kind of has to go. She gets herself in to a pretty dicey and life threatening situation there, but makes it home alive.
Then she still has to deal with the maenad, the shapeshifters in her life, and find out who murdered Lafayette by going undercover to a sex ring in Bon Temps. I'm not really sure how the barmaid, living and working in a little backwoods parish in Louisiana, who spent most of her life unable to be too close to people and using most of her energies to not hear other people's thoughts, making high school extremely difficult for her and college an impossibility, who's never been away from home and lives a very small, quiet life, can wind up in so many life or death kind of scrapes is possible or remotely believable. Sure, you have to suspend belief a lot when you read books like this. I get that, but sometimes there are limits to just how much you can do that. If she's not fighting for her life, she's thinking like a boy crazy teen about every pretty face she sees. Fighting for her life is even kind of a stretch because she mouths off like she's tough, but she's always relegated to damsel in distress status.
Life is short, I may not make it too much further into this series. I've just started listening to book three, Club Dead and if things don't improve, this entire series will be dead to me. There are plenty more of them on my listening list.