Friday, May 01, 2009

- The "Final Four" of Everything American...

The Bracketology book: The Final Four of Everything is out now with my contribution on Best American Romances. As I don't profit from the sales, I figure it's OK to be excited about it.  I had solicited your opinions and am indebted to many for their thoughtful, challenging and helpful responses (I also post on other blogs and asked my Facebook friends to help!).

The Bracketology concept is simply taking what we see every year with the NCAA Basketball playoffs: selecting the top 32 teams & pairing them against each other to get to Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and then the two top players' final match to declare a winner and applying it to things other than basketball. Bracketology is a great decision-making tool, a fund of entertaining argument (you may recall in Diner, the pitting of Sinatra Vs Mathis for who offered the best "music to make-out to," clearly a Bracketology moment) and it's a great way to clarify your own thinking.

Check out p.114 to see where the world of American Romance Novel's square off. I tried to capture samples from what I saw as significant sub-genres (romantic comedies, futuristic, inspirational, time-travel, multi-cultural, etc.) If you don't like the choices and didn't help out, then you have only yourself to blame!

And hey--it (and I) even got mentioned in the May 12 New York Times Paper Cuts by Gregory Cowles.

This book takes the Bracketology concept further, to 150 different segments. Check out categories like Movie Gunfights, Lousy Husbands, Celebrity Mugshots, First Ladies, Untimely Deaths. It's a great compilation from some impressive experts: Roz Chast, Manohla Dargis, Mary Matalin, Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, A.O. Scott, and of course me. It's guaranteed to make you think, disagree, and want to use the method to build your own version. There's a blank sample to fill in in the book. 

But also, the publisher, Simon & Schuster, has created a truly fabulous site. You can amend the existing brackets or make you own--which are posted and can be send to friends and foes alike.

Check it out--you'll never think about your preferences in the same way again!


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