Library’s Book Madness Tournament returns


Photo Courtesy of Mallory Vaudo

Grace Holland, Staff Writer

Every year, the Madison library participates in their own version of March Madness but with books. Librarians Alice Pleasants and Liz Liebman hold the competitions for months throughout the school year. 

Book Madness starts during winter break and continues through the spring. Planning for the event entails going through student reviews and reviewing which books they enjoy. 

“We choose 64 books for the competition,” Liebman said. “We try to pick really new books and go through reviews to find the best of the best.”

The 64 books are split  into pairs that are later chosen by students. Students will then read the pair of books and vote in the library on their favorite from the pair after reading. 

“When we get to the final four round, we’ll have two readers and they will each pick the best from their pair of books. In the final two round, we try to get as many copies of the books as we can so everybody who wants to participate can read each of the final two books,” Liebman said. 

Paige Adelberger (’23) is a current participant in Book Madness.

I’ve been really enjoying Book Madness, mostly because it is a chance for me to read books that I might not have found/read otherwise,” Adelberger said “It also gives me a chance to read books that other students have read and enjoyed.” 

Book Madness started at the Madison library when Alice Pleasants joined the staff. 

“At my previous school we had read an article in the school library journal that had done something similar so we kind of adapted it to highschool,” Pleasants said. 

Book Madness won’t enter the final round until after spring break in order to give participating students enough time to read both books. Currently, one group of students are reading either “The Black Flamingo” by Dean Atta and “Sooley: A Novel” by John Grisham, or “Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses” by Kristen O’Neal and “Furia” by Yamile Saied Méndez. The other group of students are reading “The New David Espinoza” by Fred Aceves and “Raybearer” by Jordan Ifueko or “Sanctuary” by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher and “The Loop” by Ben Oliver. 

True to the competition, these paired books are each different from the other. “The Black Flamingo” tells the life of Jamaican and Greek-Cypriot teen Michael, who goes through his life trying to find his identity. Atta writes this story in the form of poems that spread over 400 pages. “Sanctuary” by the co-founder of the “Women’s March,” Paola Mendoza, sets her story 10 years into the future with teens escaping their corrupt government. “The Loop” by Ben Oliver covers the fictional story of a teenager who is incarcerated in maximum security, waiting on Death Row.

My favorite book that I’d read would most likely be Sooley, just because it’s a very satisfying read, and I enjoyed how it moved from place to place and told a story that could be interpreted in different ways,” Adelberger said.