Tuesday, March 18, 2014

And the Mountains Echoed VS The Husband's Secret: Dubuque Tournament of Books, round 3

We've reached the semi-finals of the Dubuque Tournament of Books, and there's still time for you to enter the prize drawing by submitting your guess for which book will win the Tournament.

Today's match-up is between And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty, and our judges are:
Click here to see the round 2 decision for And the Mountains Echoed.
Click here to see the round 2 decision for The Husband's Secret.


If you ask a hundred different people what they thought of a book, you'll get a hundred different responses. We may all be reading the same words, but we bring to those words a piece of ourselves and come away with a reaction that is entirely unique.

As you might imagine, when you ask four judges to compare two books, trying to take all of our opinions and arrive at a single decision is a challenge.

So first, here are some of our reactions:

And the Mountains Echoed

“I want to be entertained by a story (so sue me), and I didn't like being yanked around, having to restart without a compass.”

“I find the novel itself to be intricate and beautiful. It grabbed my attention at the outset and still stands as one of my favorite recent reads.”

“I thought I was the only one feeling like I was leaping from decade to decade and spending time trying to figure out the characters.”

“Hosseini made me forget I was reading a book. Those are the books I want to read.”

The Husband’s Secret

“I liked The Husband's Secret although it made me nervous at times.”

“Despite my misgivings, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.”

“This may be the more accessible novel, but I feel it is ultimately forgettable.”

“It built a puzzle with multiple characters converging and successfully pulled together with the crescendo that I enjoy.”

These excerpts from our conversations should give you an idea of just how varied our opinions were. In the end, we had one strong vote for The Husband’s Secret, two strong votes for And the Mountains Echoed, and one judge who “could go either way.”

The two novels are very different, but as Marie points out, they both deal with the decisions we make when faced with tough situations, and how, even when reacting with love, our missteps have consequences. Thinking about that it's rather fitting that these two came up against each other in the tournament.

Either book will take you on a compelling journey. Which one you think is better will come down to personal preference. But our choice to advance to the final round is And the Mountains Echoed.

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