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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Jennifer Egan, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Powell’s Q&A: Emily St. John Mandel

Describe your latest book. My new novel is called Station Eleven. It's about a traveling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North America. The book moves back and forth in time between the years just before a devastating flu pandemic brings about the collapse of civilization as we know it, and a time 20 years [...]

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2. How Has Twitter Shaped Storytelling?

Andrew Fitzgerald, a member of Twitter’s news and journalism partnerships team, gave a TED Talk called “Adventures in Twitter Fiction.”

We’ve embedded the video above–have you ever shared a short story on Twitter? Here’s more about the TED Talk:

He showcased excerpts of “Twitter fiction done right” by authors like Elliot Holt, who spontaneously created a narrative through the Twitter accounts of her characters, and Jennifer Egan, who used @NYerFiction to create episodes of Black Box, a novel she storyboarded into 140-character pieces. Twitter, Fitzgerald said, is not just a means of publication but one of production, as is the case with parody accounts like the foul-mouthed, sci-fi version of Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, captured in @MayorEmanuel, or “fictional characters that engage the real world,” like the accounts of the entire cast of The West Wing.

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3. Why Do You Write?

Why do you write? Author Meredith Maran asked 20 great writers that question, collecting their replies in her new collection, Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do

On the Morning Media Menu today, Maran shared writing advice she learned while getting responses from Isabel Allende, David Baldacci, Jennifer Egan, Sebastian Junger and Ann Patchett.

Press play below to listen to the whole interview on SoundCloud. We’ve collected a few quotes from the interview as well…

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4. A story told via Tweets

I really admire Jennifer Egan, who has found so many ways to tell a story (including a chapter in her most recently book told by PowerPoint slides). She recently published a story, Black Box, that was told only through the New Yorker’s Fiction Twitter account.

Read more about her writing and Black Box here.




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5. NaNoWriMo Camp & Les Miserables Trailer: Top Stories of the Week

For your weekend reading pleasure, here are our top stories of the week, including Stephen King‘s upcoming mystery novel, Jennifer Egan‘s sci-fi story on Twitter and the trailer for the upcoming adaptation of the Les Miserables (embedded above).

Click here to sign up for GalleyCat’s daily email newsletter, getting all our publishing stories, book deal news, videos, podcasts, interviews, and writing advice in one place.

1. How to Share Books & eBooks with Our Troops
2. Free Sites to Promote Your eBook
3. Write a Novel This Summer with NaNoWriMo
4. Neil Gaiman Shares ‘Secret Freelancer Knowledge’ in Graduation Speech
5. 50 Shades of Grey Sales Bump: INFOGRAPHIC
6. Don’t Let the Writing Life Kill You
7. Stephen King: ‘We’re Going to Hold Off on e-Publishing This One’
8. Les Miserables Teaser Trailer Released
9. Book Cover Design Resources for Self-Published Authors
10. Jennifer Egan to Publish Sci-Fi Story on Twitter

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6. Why Are So Many Literary Writers Technophobic?


It seems like hardly a week goes by without one literary writer or another hyperbolically decrying the way we're all going to hell in an electronic handbasket.

First Jonathan Franzen argued that e-books are damaging society and suggested that all "serious" readers read print.

Last week Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Egan complained of social networking, "Who cares that we can connect? What’s the big deal? I think Facebook is colossally dull. I think it’s like everyone coming to live in a huge Soviet apartment block, [in] which everyone’s cell looks exactly the same."

Zadie Smith has written of Facebook: "When a human being becomes a set of data on a website like Facebook, he or she is reduced. Everything shrinks. Individual character. Friendships. Language. Sensibility. In a way it’s a transcendent experience: we lose our bodies, our messy feelings, our desires, our fears. It reminds me that those of us who turn in disgust from what we consider an overinflated liberal-bourgeois sense of self should be careful what we wish for: our denuded networked selves don’t look more free, they just look more owned."

This of course comes on the heels of Ray Bradbury complaining in 2009: "They wanted to put a book of mine on Yahoo! You know what I told them? ‘To hell with you. To hell with you and to hell with the Internet.’ It’s distracting. It’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere."

And of course there's a long and storied history of writers eschewing technology and returning to nature, such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I don't have any stats to prove this definitively, and to be fair, there are some modern literary writers who definitely embrace tech. Colson Whitehead is tremendous on Twitter and wrote reminded everyone that the Internet isn't the reason you haven't finished your novel. Susan Orlean, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood and others have embraced Twitter.

But doesn't it seem like there's some nexus between literary writers and technophobia? Are literary writers more likely to fear our coming robot overlords and proudly choose an old cell phone accordingly (if they have one at all)? Do they know something we don't?

Even when a writer really does use tech as either an artistic mode of expression or as a relentless self-promotion engine (or both), like Tao Lin, he's derided (or praised, depending on one's POV) as "a world-class perpetrator of gimmickry."

Have lit writers become our resident curmudgeons? Or are they just like any other cross-section of the population? Is it tied to deeper fear of the transition in the book business? Is it just not interesting to think new stuff is cool?

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7. Jennifer Egan Wins 2011 Tournament of Books

Today A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan has won the 2011 Tournament of Books at The Morning News–a round robin competition that pits books against books every March.

A team of literary judges decided each round of the competition, and all the judges voted on the final two books: Jonathan Franzen‘s Freedom and Egan’s novel. Egan earned nine votes; Franzen earned eight.

Andrew Womack concluded the contest with this vote: “How fortunate to find two books in the championship so comparable—both spanning decades (or beyond) and heavily centered on music. For me, this decision comes down to pacing, and Franzen is the Pink Floyd to Egan’s Sex Pistols; by the end of Freedom I couldn’t take another meandering guitar solo, while I was dazzled by how much Goon Squad packed into such a compact space.”

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8. How do you like reading on the iPad2? they asked

The iPad2 was my husband's gift to me—marketed weeks upon weeks in advance.  "I don't need that," I kept saying.  "It feels indulgent."  But we run a communications business here, we need to know what is up, what can be done, what hasn't been done yet, and besides, he had to talk me into a Blackberry, too, and you don't now find me going out too often without that.  Also besides, I've been saying for a long, miserable time that I need to spend less time in front of the computer and more time in a quiet place, a room or two away, reading and writing.

And so, the iPad2, which arrived a week ago, and which I have put to minimal, but interested use.  I am a New York Times subscriber, for example, and so, by downloading the New York Times app, I can now sit with this glass tablet on my lap in the dark making no disturbing rustling noises while I read the reviews of such great books as Francisco Goldman's Say Her Name.  I find it easier to read this way—my arms don't hurt, my eyes don't squint, and I can turn off the lamp beside my husband while he watches shows about fish, food, and war (sometimes he's lucky and all three things appear on one show at once).  I'm reading my hometown paper this way as well, and when my subscription to the paper version of The New Yorker runs out, I may go iPad with that as well, though I don't know.  I'm rather fond of my stacks of New Yorker stories, torn fresh from the bindings.  Vanity Fair?  Maybe.

I also, as readers of this blog know, downloaded Tina Fey's Bossypants and iPad2'ed it—the perfect book for this medium.  As much as I loved Bossypants, I don't plan to ever teach it, do not need my scribbled marginalia as a guide to my first readerly reactions.  I know that some sort of marginalia can be achieved via the iPad2, don't get me wrong.  I'm just not interested in going there at this moment and rather suspect I'll never be.  There's an art to making notes in books, and I like pen to paper.  I also like, however, the extras the expanded iBook version of Bossypants afforded—more photos, an audio chapter, pretty cool flipping and bookmarking technology.  I've just downloaded Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad as well as a guide to Croatia for my next iPad2 readings.  I want to take Egan to Ithaca over Easter weekend and Croatia to Croatia, some time in June.  I think of these books as traveling companions.

Finally, I've downloaded the PDF app that will allow me to iPad2-read my own manuscripts-in-progress.  I've got two books I'm working on—a novel, nearly complete, and a memoir.  I've worked to give myself enormous distance on the novel and reading it again on a new technology, following a final set of revisions, will, I think (I hope), allow me to see this book as a stranger might.  That, at least, is what I'm going for.

My friend Karen, always so far ahead in matters of technology, does many things with her iPad that I don't know how to do—watch Netflix movies while exercising, say, or grading student papers.  She's the real expert on this (as she is on most things).  I'll become a smarter iPad2 user in time, I hope.  But for now, to answer your questions:

I really like my iPad2.

7 Comments on How do you like reading on the iPad2? they asked, last added: 4/16/2011
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9. I guess I'm not the only one who loved The Goon Squad

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I loved <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307592839/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=aprilhenrymys-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307592839">A Visit from the Goon Squad</a><img src="http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=0307592839" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />. There are some books you can imagine yourself writing; there are others that you know you could never write, not because you wouldn't want to, but because you don't have the sheer dizzying talent to write them. Goon Squad was one of those book for me. (For that matter, so was Egan's The Keep.) It’s written not only in first and third, but also in second person. It takes place in various times, including the 1980s and a rather scary future.

In January, I wrote her a note about how much I liked it and she even wrote me back a few weeks later. This week she won the Pulitzer. So I have corresponded with a Pulitzer-prize winner! And once, long ago, I interviewed Carol Shields, who also won the Pulitzer and National Book Critics Circle Award, like Egan. She was a gracious and funny woman, and you can read our interview here: http://aprilhenrymysteries.com/writing/carole_shields.php (excuse the extra e on her name - must get Web master to remove it)!
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10. HBO To Adapt Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad will be adapted into a TV series by HBO.

International Creative Management negotiated the deal. Michael London and Jocelyn Hays Simpson will act as co-executive producers.

Fans of A Visit from the Goon Squad can look forward to this adaptation and Egan’s current project. In a Bookmunch interview, Egan revealed: “I’m actually working on a new piece now that involves a character from Goon Squad.”

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11. A Visit From The Goon Squad/Jennifer Egan: Reflections


Novelists are tasked with leaving readers with the grave and glorious illusion that they have been given access to a world, ushered in. This exists, the novelist says. I’ve seen it. I’ve been there. Let me show you.

Jennifer Egan’s many-prized A Visit From The Goon Squad does not merely render a world. It wends readers through the hallows and hollows of vast geographies, personalities, and zones. Goon Squad is a composite of abutments and abrasions—a savvy, smart, sometimes bitter, often funny suite of thirteen tales about ingeniously interrelated slackers and singers, druggies and parents, inglorious PR mavericks and thieves, people who were young and people who grew old. Time is Egan’s primary character, her first concern. How we hope. How we remember. And how, most devastatingly, we age.

It took me many days to read this book, but I’m not sure why. I would read a few chapters, set the book aside, return—not the smartest approach to a book in which it is necessary to place and remember a stream of characters who are minor, then major, then receding, then right back at you again. You have to work at this book, in other words—not because Egan is trying to be difficult, but because Egan is so very smart, and so frequently sly. She’s postmodern, if I understand the term. A risk taker, a jokester, a woman who (now so famously) can tell a very touching, humane story through the device of power point slides. Oddly, I was perhaps most moved by the tale delivered through those infamous slides.

Egan can also write a hell of a sentence, and in fact she has written an abundance of them here. I close this post with an example, a description of an undone rocker who we’ve also known, in pages elsewhere, as a singing tour de force.

Look at what Egan can do:

Nowadays he was huge—from medications, he claimed, both post-cancer and antidepressant—but a glance into his trash can nearly always revealed an empty gallon box of Dreyer’s Rocky Road ice cream. His red hair had devolved into a stringy gray ponytail. An unsuccessful hip replacement had left him with the lurching, belly-hoisting walk of a refrigerator on a hand truck. Still, he was awake, dressed—even shaven. The blinds of his loft were up and a tinge of shower humidity hung in the air, pleasantly cut by the smell of brewing coffee.

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12. Jeff Howe Relaunches One Book, One Twitter as 1book140

Jeff Howe has partnered with The Atlantic to relaunch the online book club, One Book, One Twitter

Howe explained in the announcement: “I’d always intended to relaunch One Book, One Twitter … It has a new name—1book140—but what hasn’t changed is the global, participatory nature of the affair: The crowd is still in charge.”

Twitter readers will choose the book to read in the online book club.  You can still vote on the following titles: The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, The Keep by Jennifer Egan, Snow by Orhan Pamuk, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart, and Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead. Reading will commence on June 1st.

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13. Goodreads Has Millions of Readers and First Book Has Millions of Books … Hmmm …

Goodreads Book Club to Benefit First BookWe’re excited to announce that First Book has joined forces with Goodreads, one of the largest online communities of readers, to bring more books to more children this summer.

This summer the Goodreads community will be reading ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’, by Jennifer Egan, to kick off their new Goodreads Book Club. (It’s an incredible book; it was recently awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and the National Book Critics Circle Award).

For every 10,000 members of the Goodreads community who add this title to their shelves on the site, Goodreads will donate 1,000 books to kids in need through First Book. That may sound like a lot of people, but it turns out there are a whole bunch of people on Goodreads. 25,000 people have already added this title, so we’re up to 2,000 donated books right out of the gate. Woot!

But we’d love to get that number much, much higher, so if you’re on Goodreads, please read (and add) ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’, and see what all the richly-deserved fuss is about. And if you’re not on Goodreads, go sign up! It’s free and it’s a huge, interesting community of people who love books. Plus there are quite a few First Book staffers on there already, and we’d love to talk about our favorite books with you.

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14. Goodreads Partners with First Book to Fight Illiteracy

Goodreads has partnered with First Book, a charity group whose mission is to make sure children who reside in low-income communities are able to have access to books. Together, these two organizations will be fighting illiteracy using the Goodreads Book Club.

Every time 10,000 Goodreads members add A Visit From the Goon Squad to their shelves, the organization promises to donate 1,000 books. So far, 25,000 members have added the book. If another 5,000 members follow, then Goodreads will provide 3,000 books.

Here’s more from the site’s blog post: “Our initial goal is to donate 5,000 books—which means we need 50,000 people to add A Visit From The Goon Squad by August 2, when the Book Club concludes with a live video chat with author Jennifer Egan. If more than 50,000 people add the book before the end date, we will honor our pledge and donate up to 10,000 books!”

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15. Goodreads Give Books

Last week we were happy to announce that First Book joined forces with Goodreads, one of the largest online communities of readers, to bring more books to more children this summer.

This summer the Goodreads community will be reading ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’, by Jennifer Egan, to kick off their new Goodreads Book Club. For every 10 members of the Goodreads community who add this title to their shelves on the site, Goodreads will donate 1 book to kids in need through First Book.

We are happy to announce that the participant count is now at 32,613, closing in on 33,000. We would love to get to the 40,000 mark so that we can donate 4,000 books to kids in need. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to help First Book get books to kids, this is it! Goodreads members simply have to add the book to any shelf. (For folks who are new to Goodreads, registration is easy, quick, and completely free.)

Join the the book club and help us get books to kids!

 

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16. Jennifer Egan Publishes New Short Story Disguised as List

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan has published a new 300-word short stort story at the Guardian–a dark and suspenseful tale told entirely through a “To Do” list.

Egan has experimented with writing modes for years. Her critically acclaimed novel A Visit from the Goon Squad included a section written as a PowerPoint presentation. You can see the slideshow here.

Above, we’ve embedded a video shot during Egan’s presentation at BEA 2010 about PowerPoint fiction. Egan spoke at the 7x20x21 event that year, a discussion curated by Ryan Chapman and Ami Greko.

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17. Knopf & Doubleday Join Spotify

Both Knopf and Doubleday and have joined Spotify, building hand-picked music lists for their authors. The site includes a number of playlists, including one by Colson Whitehead, Erin Morgenstern, Jennifer Egan.

Follow this link to get a Spotify invite for the free service. We also recommend you check our “How to Control Your Facebook Apps” post to make sure you are happy with your privacy settings. We’ve already built “12 Spotify Playlists for Writers.”

Here’s more about Whitehead’s playlist for Zone One: “The undead take Manhattan in this literary and literal feast from award-winning author Colson Whitehead. The author selected these 10 songs to set the scene for his postmodern meditation on exterminating zombies in Manhattan.” (Via K.B. Abele)

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18. ‘Writers in Support of the Occupy Movement’ Petition Counts 200+ Signatures

So far, 224 writers have signed a new Writers in Support of the Occupy Movement petition. What do you think?

The petition is composed of a single sentence: “We, the undersigned writers and all who will join us, support Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement around the world.” So far, the petition has virtual signatures from Alison Bechdel, Samuel R. Delaney, Jennifer Egan, Barbara Ehrenreich, Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Lethem, Ann Patchett, Salman Rushdie and many other authors. You can sign at the bottom of the page.

Earlier today, Occupy Wall Street activists braced for a possible eviction, but the city decided to postpone the scheduled cleaning. (Via Sarah Weinman & Bookforum)

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19. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan
(Knopf, June 9, 2010)

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Reading this book was a little like starting a conversation out of general politeness, and discovering that you're talking to someone you passionately want for a best friend.

Jennifer Egan -- full disclosure -- is a friend and customer of Greenlight Bookstore. I'd hosted her before for events at other stores, and chatted with her and her kids at Greenlight, but to my own detriment I had never actually read any of her fiction. (Even though, as often seems to happen, it seems in retrospect like obviously the sort of thing I would like: the smart but not overtly political feminism of Look At Me, the Gothic nested stories of The Keep, etc. -- good storytelling in the service of big ideas, or vice versa, without sacrificing the one for the other.) It seemed like now would be the time to pick her up, though, since we're hosting her launch party for the book on Wednesday. So I opened the intriguingly titled A Visit From the Goon Squad earlier this spring.

And found a new addition to my personal author pantheon.

As I wrote for our recent staff picks email, A Visit From the Goon Squad is ostensibly (and quite effectively) about the world of rock music, and the intersections of the realms of commerce and creativity (and the dysfunctional folks who inhabit both). But it's really about life on Earth, in all its heartbreaking and maddening and rich and loveable complexity. It's about the mistakes of each generation, about being young and growing up, about adventure and domesticity, about interconnectivity and isolation, and (especially) about the brutality and kindnesses of time.

And it doesn't hurt that it is structured in my favorite form: the novel as interlinked stories (cf. my pantheon authors David Mitchell, Charles Baxter, Joan Silber, and others). Some of those were published in the New Yorker -- trust me that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, though each story has its own poignant and complete miniature arc. One of them perfectly evokes being a young and foolish professional woman in New York City (ahem). One is written flawlessly from the perspective of a very young gay man, one about a record exec, several about the intersections of teenagers who have grown up too fast and adults who are not very grown-up at all. One is composed of a series of PowerPoint slides and is alarmingly literate and moving. San Francisco, Italy, and Arizona make appearances, as do the 1970s, the 1990s, and a near-future that is the most believable I think I've ever read (wait till you learn what a "pointer" is). The meaning of the title is illusive, but when it hit me it hit hard, and shaped my understanding of the project of the novel in the way the best titles can do.

And did I mention the damn thing is funny, too? Apparently Jennifer Egan is one of those rare authors who can quite literally do anything.

I have already seen Jennifer post-Goon Squad reading, and gotten out of the way my mumbled fangirl admiration. Luckily she seems as delighted at how it came out as her readers will, and is in fact the sort of kind and smart and idealistic and charming author that

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20. Free Book Samples of 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Nominees

Today the PEN/Faulkner Foundation revealed the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction nominees. Below, we’ve created a literary mixtape linking to free samples of all five novels.

The release has more information about the award: “The winner, who will receive $15,000, will be announced on March 15; the four finalists will receive $5,000 each. In a ceremony that celebrates the winner as ‘first among equals,’ all five authors will be honored during the 31st Annual PEN/Faulkner Award ceremony at the Folger Shakespeare Library, located at 201 East Capitol Street, SE on Saturday, May 7, at 7pm.”

If you want more books, we made similar mixtapes linking to free samples of 2011 Edgar Awards finalists, the 2011 ALA Youth Media Awards winners, the 2011 Book Critics Circle Awards finalists, the Best Translated Books Longlist, the Believer Book Awards shortlist, and the Best Books of 2010.

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21. A Visit from the Goon Squad



A Visit from the Goon Squad was one of the best books I read recently. It’s a marvel, written not only in first and third, but also in second person. It also bounces back and forth in time a lot - characters might be 40 in one chapter and 14 on the next. Part of it is even set in the future.

After I finished, I wrote the author, Jennifer Egan, a note, telling her how much I loved the book. (She also wrote The Keep, which I reviewed for the Oregonian and would again highly recommend.) I told her that each time I started a chapter in Goon Squad, I would try to orient myself and ask “Which now is it?” because each of the nows was equally valid, whether a chapter was set in the 1980s or even twenty years from our current now. I found that concept oddly comforting, because my friend [Lisa Madigan] was dying, and it was reassuring, somehow, to think that all the various times of her life, including so many when she was healthy and happy, were equally valid.

Anyway, if you love Jennifer Egan’s writing as much as I do, or if you simply want to know more about her, you’ll enjoy this long interview with her.

Interestingly, it looks like they are making a complete change for the paperback cover. I’m not sure I like the new one as well.



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22. Jennifer Egan Wins 2011 Tournament of Books

Today A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan has won the 2011 Tournament of Books at The Morning News–a round robin competition that pits books against books every March.

A team of literary judges decided each round of the competition, and all the judges voted on the final two books: Jonathan Franzen‘s Freedom and Egan’s novel. Egan earned nine votes; Franzen earned eight.

Andrew Womack concluded the contest with this vote: “How fortunate to find two books in the championship so comparable—both spanning decades (or beyond) and heavily centered on music. For me, this decision comes down to pacing, and Franzen is the Pink Floyd to Egan’s Sex Pistols; by the end of Freedom I couldn’t take another meandering guitar solo, while I was dazzled by how much Goon Squad packed into such a compact space.”

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