Round One, Part Two! Let's see what happens....
Titus Alone vs. The Recognitions
Winner: Titus Alone
I don't think anyone is more shocked than me. I was not expecting Titus Alone to make it past the first round. It definitely wasn't one of my favourite books. But here it's up against one of my least favourite books of the year, the one that had me looking askance at 1001 Books To Read Before You Die. I'm sure it's a classic. I didn't like it. And I liked Titus Alone a little more. That squeaks it through.
The Fall of Hyperion vs. Clementine
Winner: The Fall of Hyperion
Ooh, a no-contest. I like The Fall of Hyperion nearly as much as I liked Hyperion, and I've been raving about the first one since I read it. In fact, I'm making my book club read it now! I didn't like Clementine very much, and was bothered by its insistence that race had nothing to do with the Civil War. So, no question. Fantastic science fiction that ripped my heart out definitely wins out over problematic steampunk.
Inferno vs. Feed
This is the section of easy battles. I really didn't like Inferno - in fact, looking at my review, it's the point at which I decided I'd read enough Dan Brown in my lifetime, thank you very much. In contrast, I really loved Feed, which surprised the hell out of me. Zombies, not really my thing. It is to Mira Grant's credit that I kept reading this zombie/political conspiracy thriller even when it started keeping me awake at night.
Bellwether vs. Wolf Hall
Winner: Wolf Hall
I like Connie Willis quite a lot, but I didn't think Bellwether was one of her best. It was fun but slight. On the other hand, Wolf Hall was intriguing, challenging, and one of the best historical fiction books I've read in a long time. One of the archivists I work with urged me for a long time to read this. She was right.
Within A Budding Grove vs. Palimpsest
Sorry, Proust. While I do like the richness of description and the capturing of small elusive moments, these books are worth a read, but not likely to be ones that I'll rave about to friends. Palimpsest, on the other hand, I keep pushing on people as one of the few books I've ever read that takes sex seriously, not just as titillation or obligatory, but which explores sex in such interesting and multiple ways. And a passport to the city that is passed on as an STD? There's nothing quite like this, and nothing quite like Valente's prose. Expect to see a bunch of her books make at least the second round, since I read three or four this year.