Many judges have noted that reviewing these books is like comparing apples to oranges. Of course, comparing apples to oranges, or even apples to Orrin Hatches, is the whole point of this event. The Tournament of Books is a proud exercise in total futility. Imagine an American Idol where Ruben Studdard trains a roller-skating koala bear to do the electric slide while Clay Aiken responds with a puppetry of the penis version of Hal Holbrook’s Mark Twain Tonight. That is the Tournament of Books, reading fans. I hope you’ll embrace it.
Also, it was probably a bit unfair to Kristin Allio that Whitney happened to be out on the street marching for peace on the same day as a million characters in Ian McEwan’s novel. It’s sort of like how I’m especially fond of Richard Ford’s Independence Day because the climactic scene where the kid from Jersey gets beaned in the head with a fastball takes place at the Doubleday Batting Range in Cooperstown, N.Y., where I spent about 8,000 childhood hours drinking cokes and playing Q-Bert and watching a lot of little tourist kids getting beaned in the head with fastballs.
Remember when the coolest video games were more about a ziti-nosed ovoid hopping on colored blocks and dodging whammy balls and not so much about bludgeoning prostitutes with a tire iron?
No. No, you probably don’t.