Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dubuque Tournament of Books: Meet the Contestants

Voting for the first ever Dubuque Tournament of Books begins on Sunday, March 3rd. There's still time to enter the contest with your picks for the winning books. Entry brackets are available in the February 28th issue of 365Ink, you can download one from our website, or you can pick one up at Carnegie-Stout. All entries must be returned to Carnegie-Stout by March 8th to be eligible for the drawing.

Of course we don't expect you to have had a chance to read all the entrants in the contest, so today we're providing you with a brief introduction for each title!

Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed 
Wild is a deeply personal and inspirational memoir about grief, hiking, and personal growth. This was the first title selected for Oprah's new book club, and was the topic of a Read Alike post on our blog. 

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel 
Are You My Mother? is the second witty and intellectually challenging graphic memoir by cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Her first, Fun Home, will be the book under discussion at the April 9th meeting of Graphic Content here at C-SPL.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett
This stand alone novel by the prolific fantasy author is a thought-provoking exploration of parallel worlds told with Pratchett's trademark humor. The main character's journey starts out in a Madison, WI orphanage stretches to the bounds of reality.

Redshirts by John Scalzi
Scalzi is an award-winning author known for both his science-fiction and his blog. Redshirts is a darkly humorous and thought-provoking examination of many popular science fiction tropes with great appeal for any Star Trek fan.

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
How could we not include the latest installment in Evanovich's hilarious mystery series featuring hapless bounty hunter Stephanie Plum? Be sure to check out our Janet Evanovich Read Alike list if you haven't. 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
Most readers hadn't heard of Gillian Flynn before the publication of her third novel, Gone Girl, but this suspenseful story of a dysfunctional relationship kept readers turning pages long into the night. Flynn's weeks at the top of the best seller lists earned her a Read Alike post as well.

Building Stories by Chris Ware  
Ware's unconventional take a graphic novel captured the attention of many critics, landing Building Stories on several Best of 2012 lists (as well as Andrew's Graphic Novels for People Who Don't Read Graphic Novels post). Melancholy and complex, the way the reader approaches the 14 pieces changes the experience.

Batman: Court of the Owls by Scott Snyder
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and Jonathan Glapion team up for a new look at an old comic book favorite: Batman. If you've never read a Batman story, this gritty murder mystery would be a good volume to start with.

50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James 
Everyone and their mother has heard of the self-published erotica turned #1 best seller that is the 50 Shades trilogy. This steamy read has convinced legions of readers to explore their inner goddess, or maybe just given them the giggles. This was the 2nd place choice in our November voting.

Bared to You by Sylvia Day
The popularity of 50 Shades brought long time steamy romance author Sylvia Day to wider recognition due to the similarities in her Crossfire trilogy: a dominant business man, a young woman just starting her career, and their steamy (and somewhat kinky) passion. Bared to You has also spent significant time on the best seller lists.

Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly 
Librarians across Iowa will tell you that Bill O'Reilly and coauthor Martin Dugard's dramatic exploration of President Kennedy's assassination is a popular title. A follow-up to their earlier Killing Kennedy, readers shouldn't doubt the host of Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor's continuing popularity.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
This beautifully researched book about life in one of India's slums by journalist Katherine Boo was the winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Non-Fiction. You can read more about this book in Sarah's staff review.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling 
The first novel from the author of the wildly successful Harry Potter series was bound to receive attention. The Casual Vacancy is a character-driven and darkly humorous novel of small town politics with not a single wizard. It also tied for 5th place in our November voting.

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Bring up the Bodies is the sequel to Mantel's Man Booker winning Wolf Hall, the first two novels in a proposed trilogy about the life of Thomas Cromwell in King Henry VIII's court. In fact, Mantel was also awarded the Man Booker for Bring Up the Bodies. She is only the fourth novelist to receive two, and the first woman.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Wein's haunting novel about friendship in WWII received a Printz Honor for 2013, as well as being a C-SPL staff pick for the best books of 2012. Suspenseful, with moments of dark humor, and a powerful twist near the end, this is a great pick for readers old and young. 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
John Green's witty take on first love, and winning online presence, has earned him a wide readership. The bittersweet romance between two teens who meet at a cancer support group had most readers laughing and weeping by turns. Don't miss our March 12th meeting of Let's Talk Books, where Amy will be leading a discussion of this book!

Be sure to check back here on Sunday to cast your votes for the first round of the Dubuque Tournament of Books!

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