Bookish March Madness 2020: Final Four

Is it in bad taste to continue this series after the actual March Madness tournament has been cancelled due to Covid-19? Or is it comforting to have something goofy and light? I hope the second, because here I am.

For those of you just tuning in, this March I’m celebrating my apathy for basketball but my love for brackets with a “tournament” pitting the top 16 books from The Great American Read against each other. What is the point? 1) To declare the ULTIMATE WINNER of the BEST BOOK OF ALL TIME 2) Because I really like brackets. Making a buzzfeed bracket (or whatever the current favorite site is…) didn’t appeal to me, so here we are.

These are my Final Four favorite books. There was some heartbreak last round (saying goodbye to The Lord of the Rings and Little Women), but this round will bring in some VERY difficult choices. All the books remaining are books I truly love, and they are all quite different from one another. It’ll be like comparing apples and oranges, but I will suffer through it. (For the record, apples are better.)

The Help vs. Pride and Prejudice

Oooo, what great books! The Help is one of my all-time favorite pieces of historical fiction. I love the seriousness with which it treats the civil rights movement and the women involved. Yet it still has a sense of humor. It shows the white women in Alabama did not lead perfect lives by any stretch of the imagination, and still had troubles. Yet for all that, the hardships of the African-American women’s lives stand out in sharp contrast for the blatant unfairness.

Then, of course, is Pride and Prejudice. One of the most beloved novels of all time. Darcy and Elizabeth, the romance to end all romances. The satire, the wit, the charm, the swooning (from me). Has there ever been a novel as perfect as this one?

and the winner is … PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Harry Potter vs. Jane Eyre

Oh goodness. How to even begin choosing?!

Harry Potter, of course, is the book that taught an entire generation to read. My generation. I read this book at the perfect age, 10, and grew up with Harry. Literally. The final book came out the summer before I started college. I read them over and over and over again while I waited. Then, I kept reading them. Every summer. I joined Pottermore, played every day. And I still read them. At least once a week I tell my son how excited I am to start reading it to him when he starts kindergarten in the fall. My love affair with this book series will be life-long.

But Jane Eyre. Sigh. My copy has been re-read so many times that it is literally being held together by packing tape. I love that it’s feminist and religious. I love that Jane is romantic but doesn’t let her feelings run away from practicality. She is such a role model, staying true to herself when she didn’t have to. It’s one of the greatest novels of all time, and I will fight you to the death on it. I will never stop reading it.

In the end, I guess I have to choose the book that I love enough to be wearing a t-shirt and socks from right at this very moment.

and the winner is … HARRY POTTER!

Stay healthy my friends.

7 thoughts on “Bookish March Madness 2020: Final Four

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