The Alt.list winners

I've finally finished compiling the results of the voting for the alt.list.

I received 159 votes from 79 bloggers and internet people, out of 189 total potential voters who were contacted by me or found the contest through links.

No single work received as large a percentage of the votes as Beloved did in the New York Times pool.

126 individual titles received votes.

The work that received the most votes as the best work of American fiction in the past 25 years is The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster, with 7 votes.

The runners-up:

Peace Like a River, by Lief Enger, with 5 votes

And with 4 votes each:

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, by Michael Chabon
Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

I encouraged people to vote for multiple volumes, which increased the inclusiveness of the list. So after counting the votes straight up, I counted them again using a point system. I gave each voter ten points, and allocated them among the titles he or she voted for.

If I got a vote for one book, that title got ten points. If I got a vote for three books, each got 3.33 points. If I got comments ranking multiple titles, I allocated the votes accordingly.

The 'points' total changed the list of winners significantly. The winner, The New York Trilogy, dropped right off the list.

The title with the most points is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, with 30 points. Three people voted for Infinite Jest and only Infinite Jest.

The runners-up, in a dead heat with between 21 and 23 points each, are A Prayer for Owen Meany, Gilead, Empire Falls, and Nobody's Fool (also by Richard Russo)

What's next?

I'm going to do some more vote-counting and announce which authors received the most votes later this week. Then I'm hoping to read the winning books and talk about them with the bloggers who made them winners.

I'll start with the runaway favorite, Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy, sometime within the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye out!

6 comments:

Maureen said...

Interesting result. I haven't read The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster. I may have to read it now since it was the winner in your poll. Thanks for doing this contest by the way. It was a fantastic idea.

Kate S. said...

My reading of contemporary fiction has thus far tilted more toward Canadian and British titles leaving me ill-equipped to vote in a "best of" poll on U.S. literature. I'm very interested in the list of winners that your project has produced though. I haven't read Auster's New York Trilogy yet either but I bought a copy of it just last week. I look forward to diving in.

K. Welch said...

Though I didn't vote for him, I'm anxiously awaiting to see how Philip Roth did, given his showing on the NYTimes list.

Condalmo said...

Auster's "New York Trilogy" is excellent. Should be required reading. I've written about it at my site and encourage people to check out his "Oracle Night" as well, if NYT appeals...

Kate R said...

Okay, I'll buy it--I hadn't yet.

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