There’s a really interesting discussion happening over at The Tournament of Books about fans and the Zombie Round voting. (Zombies being eliminated books voted back in for one more round.)
Again, the insight is obvious, but these readers didn’t just enjoy the book, they’re invested in it. At some level (maybe a low one, but a level nonetheless), liking 2666 or Bolaño’s books is part of those readers’ identities or self-image. It’s meaningful that someone feels compelled to write a comment (in some cases very long comments) about a book that someone else (particularly a couple of low-level jokers like us) disliked.
The phenomenon is even more pronounced with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, where we had fans of Ms. Lockhart (and young-adult literature as a whole), rallying to the cause in the voting. Sure, it was plenty easy to cast a vote in the Zombie competition, but there’s only one book where the readers got together and disseminated the word and turned out in force.
The comments go in many directions including a recommendation for a separate non-fiction tourney. This interested me because in the one I’m commanding we’ve got nonfiction and fiction going head to head as happens in many of our awards, say the Newbery or the Printz.