1book140 Nominations: A Status Update

By Jeff Howe

1book140_icon.JPG I'm incredibly pleased by the response to our launch. We have more than 1,500 followers on @1book140 (shout outs galore to return readers from last year's One Book, One Twitter project). We've received well over 100 nominations (you can for which book we should read (you can find a running list here), and what's amazing (okay: daunting) is that there are nearly as many suggested titles. In fact, only a few books received multiple nominations—Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell received four noms; George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones picked up seven—and scores of wonderful, worthy, and just plain wacky books were mentioned only once, including The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Orientalism, by the late Edward Said, and of course, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by Seth Grahame-Smith.

Diversity is great. But it presents us with the difficulty of curating a shortlist. As I said yesterday, next week we'll launch the voting phase of 1book140. This is how it'll work: 1) We pick a five-book shortlist from your nominations; 2) You vote on a winner. Easy, right? Au contraire:

Last year we threw open the gates and determined the entire short-list by the number of votes. This turned into something of a circus, and not the nice orderly ones you take your kids to. Ne'er do wells stuffed the ballot boxes, the software didn't match our needs, and there were general complaints about the unfairness of the process. Too much democracy can be a bad thing. So we decided to let you determine the long list. We'll determine the short list. You'll determine the winner. We just need to settle on the criteria that determines how we go about that process. So consider this a call for ideas. Should we do what we can to maintain the diversity of nominations? Only choose books by living authors? Or authors with Twitter accounts? Any and all input welcome, but for the sake of order, keep it to the comments section below:


This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/05/1book140-nominations-a-status-update/239046/