Unofficial ToB 2011 Contest: Leaderboard After Round 1

Current Leaderboard:

1. (7/8) Christy
2. (6/8) Jim
3. (5/8) Amy, David, Jed, Jennifer, Jeremy, Kathryn, Kevin from Canada, Laura, Lawrence, Matthew, Meagan, Mike, Nathan, Susan, The Reading Ape, Tim, [oops: Tom], and Tony. (17 18, if you are counting).

My predicted winner of Match One of Round Two: Freedom

Contest Entrants’ Choices: 71% Freedom vs. 21% Room (percentages do not add to one hundred because some of us blew it….)

If any book can topple Freedom, it is Room. No. Wait. Sorry. If any book can topple Franzen’s juggernaut, it is Egan’s juggernaut. Which is not to say Room cannot take down Freedom, just that, if it does, Freedom would have lost to A Visit From the Goon Squad in the semifinals anyway.

But Room most likely will not best Freedom. Room takes place in a room, after all. Freedom takes place in America. If there is one thing I know about Matt Dellinger (the judge for this match), it is that he likes highways, specifically American highways.* Highways are not at all like rooms. And, while there is some America bashing in Freedom, you cannot have America-bashing without America. Freedom wins.**

Which is all to say, I have only read Freedom, so I could only regurgitate from others’ reviews of Room in providing any comparison of the two. My bad.

* In fact, I do know only one thing about Mr. Dellinger and that is the title of his book: Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. The title suggests he at least likes America and, well, also that he quit writing his book too soon.

** Except in certain totalitarian countries such as North Korea and Saudi Arabia. This exception only applies with any certainty in the short to medium-long term as, very possibly, does the original rule.


8 Responses to Unofficial ToB 2011 Contest: Leaderboard After Round 1

  1. Tom Marshall says:

    I don’t see my name under the 5/8 category. I’m crushed. I think I have 5 if I remember what I picked correctly.

    Some of Room takes place on American highways. In fact, a very emotional part of the book takes place on a American street in a American suburb- Jack gets his Freedom from the room. Nothing beats freedom from oppression, right?

    • Kerry says:

      Good point about Room. I had not read it, so I am still relying on hearsay…

      Both books have freedom and American roads. It may come down to the writing or story then.

      • Tom Marshall says:

        I imagine it will come down to the quality of the narrative. I have not read Freedom, but Room is limited to the first person voice of a five-year-old. From what I’ve read, Frazen’s prose is what makes Freedom.

      • Kerry says:


        Franzen’s prose is good, probably better than your average five y.o. My hunch is that Freedom would take it with most judges and a guy who writes about highways seems to me like a good bet to side with Franzen’s novel.

  2. Jenny says:

    Here’s what’s weird. The picks I sent to you get me a pathetic 3 out of 8. The picks I made on my own blog net me a fairly respectable 5 of 8. Next year, I’m definitely going to make the same picks in both places! I think part of the problem is that I allowed myself to finish books for the second week and then choose, where for your picks, I did it all beforehand.

    Still bitter about today’s decision. sigh.

    • Kerry says:

      [edited out reply to Jim, oops]

      Like you, I would have picked differently if I had completed the books before filling out the brackets.

      And I did not like the Lemon Cake result either.

  3. Jim says:

    I can’t lie. I’m embarrassingly excited about being in second place. I’m nervous about Freedom vs. Room, though. I picked Freedom to take it (I actually picked Freedom to take the whole thing). I also picked Freedom to beat Goon Squad in the following round. But I know I’d personally choose Room and Goon in those head to heads if I was judging, so I find myself in a strange place where I’m rooting against the books I love more because I just want to win!

    • Kerry says:

      As for the Freedom v. Room match, you and Christy have both picked Freedom. Others could surge ahead if anything goes awry for you there. If Freedom and Goon advance this week, the leaderboard will not undergo any major changes until the second half of next week. If either loses, everything will look much different.

      There is always a danger in picking books you do not like because you think they likely will win. I hate that feeling, so I try to pick books I like. I learned this from the original (and inferior) March Madness.

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