By Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 23, 2021
There are lots of things to be excited about during March: rising temperatures, the first of the spring flowers, and of course, Thriftbooks Novel Knockout. It's like March Madness, only with books! We start with a list of 64 acclaimed titles divided into four distinct sections and with each round we divide the number by half as you, our dear readers, vote on individual matches to decide the winner.
In 2019, Novel Knockout's inaugural year, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone beat out The Princess Bride for the title of Ultimate Novel. Rounding out the final four were The Tell-Tale Heart and To Kill a Mockingbird.
Last year in Novel Knockout: Character Clash, the honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh emerged as the victor against Tolkien's beloved wizard, Gandalf. Harry Potter's Dolores Umbridge topped the Villains category, while Inigo Montoya came out as everyone's favorite Wild Card (arguably thanks to Mandy Patinkin's glorious performance in the film).
This year's contest theme is Generation Domination. Books are divided into four generational divides: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Which generation will come out on top? Get the whole family involved!
The most contentious battles are always interesting to look at. Voters on either side offer passionate support for their contender as they watch the numbers climb. As always, we love seeing how much you love your books!
For Baby Boomers books, one of our most hotly contested battles was between Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and On the Road by Jack Kerouac, with the latter edging into the lead. One dissenter commented that, "Despite the drugs and craziness of Fear and Loathing, to me it's much more readable . . . (Hunter) Thompson is hilarious and fun."
In Gen X titles, Jurassic Park and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams came head to head, with Jurassic park winning by a nose. Commenters came out on both sides of the equation. "Michael Crichton was a genius who was ahead of his time," declared one. But from another: "Seriously? No Contest. Hitchhiker's Guide all the way!"
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah won a narrow victory over Kafka on the Shore in a Millennial matchup. But several objectors protested, with one passionate fan commenting in another poll that, "Haruki Murakami deserves the Nobel Prize in Literature!!! He is my absolute favorite author!"
And for Gen Z, a surprisingly close battle emerged between the winning The Fault in Our Stars and The Invisible Life of Addie Larue. After all, as the post noted, crying over John Green's 2012 tearjerker is practically a Gen Z staple, while the popular newcomer by V. E. Schwab just came out in 2020.
As we head into the final week, we are nearly down to our Final Four contenders: one for each generation. You still have time to vote for your favorite Gen Z title before they go head-to-head in our last few rounds this week. Don't forget to vote!
The Baby Boomer and Gen X finalists meet in battle on March 26. Millennials vs. Gen Z will be fighting it out March 28. Be sure to vote for this year's champion! You can do it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or just on the comments of the Novel Knockout page on our website.