Each spring themorningnews.org takes 16 of the most celebrated novels of the previous calendar year (the site explains: "Each of these books was chosen because it was hyped. Or celebrated. Or not celebrated or hyped enough. Or because it won an award. Or because an individual or individuals we admire lobbied passionately for its inclusion." ) and seed them into a competitive bracket—the kind you see in the N.C.A.A. basketball championship. Seventeen judges are enlisted throughout several rounds of competition, with each arbiter considering two books and advancing one. In this way, a pool of 16 books becomes eight, eight becomes four, four becomes two, and two becomes one, The Rooster, Champion Book of the Year.
Each weekday in March, two books go head to head, with a judge explaining in detail how he or she has chosen one of them to advance to the next round. Unlike other book awards, judges are asked to come clean about how they made their decision, their literary biases and reading preferences, their personal and professional conflicts and affiliations.
Fans and readers can also participate and help decide the outcome. Read how, as well as find out who the judges are and other contest details here.
The 2011 contenders:
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender
Nox, by Anne Carson
Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky
Room, by Emma Donoghue
A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan
Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon
Bloodroot, by Amy Greene
Next, by James Hynes
The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson
Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray
Model Home, by Eric Puchner
So Much for That, by Lionel Shriver
Super Sad True Love Story, by Gary Shteyngart
Kapitoil, by Teddy Wayne
Savages, by Don Winslow