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March Madness 2018

march madness

Welcome to our March Madness Challenge page! Our March Madness challenge is a reading challenge that is linked to the college basketball tournament. Books are selected and matched to specific basketball teams based on your nominations and subsequent voting.

The core task of the challenge is to use your skills, knowledge, and/or luck to try and predict which basketball teams will win various rounds of march madness tournament and then read the books that are matched with those teams. How many books you choose to read is up to you.

The bracket has been posted here

How to play the game: All books will be paired with basketball teams. The ranking of basketball teams will be released on March 11 so you won’t know which teams will be matched with your books until that day. The fate of your book will be determined by how each basketball team performs. Here is what you’ll need to do BEFORE March 15.

Step 1: Create a CBS sports account. We’ll be keeping track of prediction scores on this site. It is free to join and you will need to set up an account in order to join our league. To start the process and join our pool you can click here. If you have any difficulties, send me a quick email.

Step 2: Fill out your bracket before the games start (March 15). NOTE: You will not be able to fill out brackets on CBS site until the basketball bracket is posted there on Sunday night March 11. We will post instructions on how to fill out your bracket on March 11. Simply pick your predicted winner from each matchup until you are left with only one overall winner. Submit your brackets on the site before the start of games or you will get locked out.

Step 3: Reading period. Day you submit your bracket on the CBS site – May 15. During this period you will try to read as many books you picked as possible. Only books you picked to advance will count for points. Since all books will be matched to basketball teams, the outcome of each basketball game will determine which book moves on.

Be strategic. You won’t have to time to read every single book you picked so you should prioritize books that make it into later rounds since you will get more points for later rounds. You can read 0 books and up to 32 (although I doubt this is possible in the time frame). Your score will be your prediction score (on the CBS site) plus your reading score. It is possible to do very well by only reading 1-2 books.

Step 4: Post your review. Once you have finished a book for the challenge you need to post a review. You can do that in 3 ways: 1) post a 1-4 sentence review on this page in the comments section, 2) post a link to your blog review or GoodReads review of the book in the comments section here, or 3) Post a review on Litsy but make sure to tag me: JenP and use hashtag #marchmadnesschallenge.

Step 5: Keep score. Use this score card to track your reading points. CBS sports site will keep track of overall picking points. Your final score for the challenge will be CBS sports site score + reading score.


  1. If you have already read a book on the list but want to pick it for your bracket, you may make a reading substitution. You may read another book by the same author,  if it is a debut  novel, you may pick a similar book (same genre) of approximately the same length, or you can pick one of the 4 books that dropped out after the first 4 games.
  2. If a book on the bracket is part of a series, you may read a different volume of the series as a substitution.

Winners will be announced before May 31.

Grand Prize: $100 gift card to Book Depository and a box of hand-curated bookish goodies (total worth approximately $200)
Best coach (for the person who nominated the winning book): $25 Amazon gift card & your choice of book from a stack we post.

Participants (in progress)
Allyson V
Andrew P
Book Worm
BooksnChill/Rebecca D
Cora R
Dan P
Diane S
Emily H
Holly B
Jan H
Jen P
Jenni L
Jessica H
Katie B
Katie H
Nicole D
Rachel N
Rebecca S
Tracy S

34 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jen, who’s the author of The Toymaker, is it Liam Pieper? I notice that although the paperback and mp3 editions of the book is published in 2017, the Kindle and audio were published in 2016, and I didn’t see any other books of the same title that fit.

    Or is it The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale, published in 2018? I can’t remember the synopsis from the survey.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 6, 2018
    • Robert Dinsdale. I’ll post a second page to the excel sheet when I have some time that will have the full titles and authors


      March 6, 2018
  2. Diane Shea #

    I’m in! I can’t wait to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 6, 2018
    • make sure you see the update. You can now start reading as soon as your bracket has been submitted on CBS site.


      March 13, 2018
  3. Tracy S #

    Woohoo! Here we go!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 7, 2018
  4. jesshodg #

    I’m going to try playing again!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 10, 2018
  5. Jenni #

    I’m definitely in again this year. For substitutions, do we need to post them here to make sure they are ok?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 11, 2018
    • You can ask me on Litsy or here.


      March 11, 2018
    • But honestly it’s just a formality to make sure people don’t pick outrageous subs. For the most part I’ll allow all reasonable picks


      March 11, 2018
      • Jenni #

        ok, Jen… I have a bunch of subs as I have read a lot of the top books. Can you tell me if these are ok? I tried to stick with same author or same genre but it’s not easy to keep the page count even!

        For The Hate U Give: Dear Martin, or if the pg count is not ok, Dream Things True.

        For The Heart’s Invisible Furies: This House is Haunted (same author)

        For Strange the Dreamer: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Cluess

        For Hunger: Bad Feminist (same author)

        For Sing Unburied Sing: Where the Line Bleeds (same author)

        For Force of Nature: The Dry (same author)

        Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

        March 13, 2018
      • Yes, those are all good


        March 13, 2018
  6. Tanya Dietz #

    I’m in. We’ll see if I manage to read a book this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 12, 2018
  7. Laura #

    I’m in this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 13, 2018
  8. Diane Shea #

    Since we know that LIU-Brooklyn is out, I am going to substitute Origin by Dan Brown for The Hate U Give as I read that last year for March Madness. They are only about 20 pages apart in length, so I’m hoping this is an okay substitution.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2018
  9. I’m in! I’m so excited! I’m signed up on CBS and will fill out my bracket tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2018
  10. PS, quick question – it looks like some of the first 4 match ups are actually ranked as #11 and not #16. How will that affect our book brackets if they don’t match that?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 14, 2018
    • They will switch to #16 seeds. Once they’ve one


      March 14, 2018
    • So they are matched with the first four teams just to decide whether they move on to the bracket but then once on the bracket they would all be #16 seeds


      March 14, 2018
      • Ohhh, I get it. So the books aren’t necessarily matched with those exact teams, just the seed, right? Sorry, my brain wasn’t fulling comprehending. Thanks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        March 14, 2018
      • Yes just those four. Once they are on the bracket, they are all matched with their team


        March 14, 2018
      • Basically it was because I forgot that the first four weren’t all battling it out for a #16 seed so I had to switch it up a bit. But once the games start tomorrow, all will be matched with their team.


        March 14, 2018
  11. Molly #

    I think I just missed the cut-off, it let me join the group but not create a bracket. Is there a way I can still fill it in?


    March 15, 2018
    • No sorry, they lock when the games start so I can’t add anyone after a certain time.


      March 15, 2018
  12. Substitution request – I’ve read The Power and would like to read The Lessons by the same author.

    Liked by 1 person

    March 15, 2018
  13. Diane Shea #

    Book: Before We Were Yours
    Team: Michigan St
    Read: 3/16/2018
    Rating: 5 stars

    Liked by 2 people

    March 16, 2018
  14. If I’m reading this right, Idaho is already out 😦 therefore, no point rushing to read it right?

    Liked by 1 person

    March 16, 2018
  15. Rachel N #

    I have a substitution request: I would like to read Britt Marie was Here, by the same author, in place of Beartown which I have already read.


    March 17, 2018

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Bookish March Madness 2018 | The Reader's Room
  2. Brackets are now Live for March Book Madness Challenge | The Reader's Room
  3. Challenge update: March Madness | The Reader's Room

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