Books and Basketball 2013…. The Sweet Sixteen

Hello Readers,

Now that the dust has settled on the first few rounds of our SMS Guys Read Books and Basketball Tournament it is time to review the books left to duke it out in the Sweet Sixteen.  This year we have had some serious upsets, close games and complete bracket busters…I’m looking at you West Region!

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So let’s look back and highlight the battles to come, region by region…

MIDWEST

We start in the region I have had the most success, and by success I mean I have two picks still alive and those picks meet in my Elite Eight.  So my first pick still active is the number one seeded Dragon Run by Patrick Matthews (Louisville).

They will see the lone nonfiction book left in the tournament, Giant and How He Humbugged America by Jim Murphy (Oregon).  This is a number one seed versus a number twelve, so Dragon Run should be able to continue their “run” through the midwest, but Giant has been playing very inspired ball, so they could grab that nonfiction flag and pull yet another upset.

The other matchup in the Midwest pits my favorite, for obvious reasons, Guys Read: The Sports Pages by Jon Sciezska et al. (Michigan State) and The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (Duke).  I picked GR: Sports Pages to pull an upset and take out Dragon Run in the Elite Eight and move on to the Final Four. So now we will just have to see who has the chops to take the Midwest Region?  Will Dragon Run continue to run, or will Giant humbug the region and push a nonfiction book into the next round, or will Smekday channel J. Lo and the Boov get the Sports Pages giggling and move past them?

My pick was Guys Read: The Sports Pages originally, so I have to stay with my original pick…. Come on Guys Read!

WEST

My West bracket is completely busted, but I’m sure most of America is feeling my same pain.

I do have one team still active, but I have them loosing in the Sweet Sixteen game, so I’m dead in the water even there.

The first game will see Wonder by RJ Palaico (Wichita State) try to take out A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (La Salle).  I didn’t see either of these teams making this far in their region, in fact I didn’t pick either of them to even win their first match.  This should be an interesting match between a nine seed in Wonder versus a thirteenth seed in A Monster Calls.  Both books deal with some serious adversity and personal struggles, should be a good battle.

The second game in the West finds the Fourth Stall part II by Chris Rylander (Arizona)  meeting The Unwanteds book two: The Islands of Silence by Lisa McMann (Ohio State).  So we have a battle of sequels here.

I’m very torn in this battle as Lisa McMann has been a good friend to both SMS Guys Read and our sister club, AFFL, and Chris Rylander has written a great series in the Fourth Stall books and I Will Destroy you Derek Jeter from GR: The Sports Pages which helped us out a great deal with our Intercontinental Ballistic Reading Group this fall.

I think I am going to pull for The Fourth Stall part II moving on, mainly as I would like to see if it can make it to a final game against its brother in arms, The Fourth Stall part I.

SOUTH

In the South I do have two books still active, but like the West one of my active books I had loosing in this Sweet Sixteen round, so bummer there.  I do still have the number one seeded Goblin Secret by William Alexander (Kansas) in my bracket.  With a National Book Award I saw the eery and awesome Goblin Secret going all the way to the Final Four.  I hope those Goblins can put their masks on and draw a crowd without a single word, just like they draw crowds to their shows.  They do have to get by the excellent Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen (Michigan).  This will be a difficult battle for Sage and the pirates of Runaway King, but you never know what crazy plans Sage has up his sleeves, so don’t count them out just yet.

Now we come to the true Cinderella story of this tournament.  We find Bone by Jeff Smith (Florida Gulf Coast) making an unbelievable run to the Sweet Sixteen.  Bone was not on our original list of books, but after some input by Mr. S and our Intercontinental Ballistic Reading Group pals out west we added it.  They have a truly herculean task in their next battle as they see the powerhouse of Who Done It? by Jon Scieszka et al. (Florida).  Who Done It? is one of those Jon Scieszka complied books that finds some of the best youth writers in the county adding short stories.  I have just started thumbing through it and it is really fun.  I think they might have a shot at going very deep into this tournament, but I have Goblin Secret going all the way to the Final Four, so up Rowie, all the way!

EAST

I only have one team still active in the East Regional and that is the number one seeded The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Indiana).  I actually picked Ivan to go all the way to the final game where they would bow down to Unlucky Charms by Adam Rex…Not going to happen for Rex this year!

They will have to get by a plucky new book called Pickle by Kim Baker (Syracuse).  Pickle will be our next Guys Read novel and I had a nice Twitter conversation with Kim Baker after she saw one of my update

I’m looking forward to doing more with her great book, but first they just have to take out a Newbery winning novel.  Big Battle there!

In the final game of our review and the East Region we will see if a star-studded movie adaptation can push Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (Marquette) past The Fourth Stall part I by Chris Rylander (Miami).  As I stated earlier I would love to see The Fourth Stall meeting The Fourth Stall part II, but that would mean they both run the table and meet in the finals.  Check out the funny Tweet I got from author Chris Rylander…

He actually picked Miami to win it all and now by the sheer power of serendipity and the cosmic ways of our universe his book is matched with his overall winner!  Will it all work out?  You will have to stay tuned.  Just a few more days the battle resume.

Rest up readers, we have some serious reading to do…

Read On.

Mr. H

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