Our March Book Madness Brackets are Here!
Our brackets are ready so it’s time to sign up for our March Madness reading challenge! Many thanks to all the early participants who nominated books and to those who voted on the books. Over 70 people voted on all 64 books and, based on those votes, we tabulated rankings for each category. Keep reading to see how the nominated books were ranked and to see a copy of our official challenge bracket.
We have quite a few international readers so a quick explanation is due… March Madness is a college basketball tournament that runs from March 17 – April 4, in which 64 teams compete in single elimination games until only one team remains. Teams are initially ranked and then divided into four divisions. Teams in each division battle it out until there is one team left in each division — the Final Four.
We’ve created a book version with your help. In our challenge we are pairing 64 nominated books with particular basketball teams and we did this by using your ratings on our survey to rank books. Basketball team rankings are not available yet but we want to give you enough time to pick (and we suspect that only a very small number of you will be using basketball knowledge to make your own brackets). Here is our book bracket (ignore the dates):
The numbers next to each book title correspond to that book’s rank. These books will each be matched up to a NCAA basketball team and that team’s success in the tournament will determine how many points the book earns. When the basketball team rankings are revealed you’ll be able to see that the team ranked number one in the midwest will be matched to A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and the number one team in the South will be matched to Between the World and Me.
The point of this challenge is to earn the most points possible and beat other participants. You earn points by first predicting which books (or basketball teams) will advance and then rack up the points by reading as many high scoring books as possible. There are two steps to this challenge and you must complete them in the following order:
Step 1: Fill out your bracket. You need to pick the winners of each round starting on the outer edges and moving inward to the center until you end up with only one book — the champion. Books will be matched with teams and the outcome of the basketball game will determine which book moves forward. Some basketball knowledge may help you do a better job of predicting the outcome of games BUT you may not want to read a book that is matched with a basketball team you think will win.
When filling out your brackets, you can fill them out immediately and ignore the basketball teams or you can wait until the basketball team rankings are released (March 13th) then use basketball knowledge to pick your winners of each match.
Request a bracket and I will email you the larger PDF that you can print out and write in your predicted book winners. When you have filled out your bracket, send it back to me (jenlane3 [at] yahoo [dot]com).
Brackets must be submitted to me (Jen) prior to March 17 (the start of the basketball tournament).
Step 2: Reading. Once you have submitted your predictions, you may start reading books that you picked in your bracket. You will have until the end of June to finish reading. See our challenge page for details on points and scoring. You can start reading before the basketball tournament starts, but you may want to wait until you see the outcome of some games first. We will post those results with updated brackets on our challenge page as the tournament progresses.
Use whatever strategy you like for picking which books to read. If you predict all match ups correctly (which is extremely unlikely) then you would have a maximum of 32 available books to chose from for your reading. However, depending on your predictions, you could end up winning the tournament by reading only 2-3 books total (if you happen to correctly pick the overall champion). You will only get points for reading books that advance in the tournament. For example, if you pick A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and it loses in round one, you can still read it, but you won’t get more than 1/2 point for reading it (because we make an exception and give 1/2 points only in round 1). In contrast, if you pick A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and its corresponding basketball team wins the tournament then you may want to prioritize reading that book first, followed by the book/team pairing that is the runner up, and so on.
You must submit a brief (3 sentence) review on the challenge page to prove that you have completed a book. I will keep tallies of scores as books are complete but I will not be letting competitors see other participants’ brackets.
Prizes: We will be awarding three prizes this challenge: 1) One prize for the person who nominated the book that ends up winning the competition (e.g., the book that was paired with the winning basketball team); 2) a prize for the person who predicts the most number of correct match ups; and 3) grand prize for the person who earns the highest score.
Questions: This challenge may be confusing especially for those who aren’t familiar with the basketball tournament so ask as many questions as you need. We recommend you start by reading the challenge page instructions: here. It may sound confusing but once we start playing, it should be easy to follow.
So request your bracket now and I’ll email you a copy of the larger PDF so you can start planning.