Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What the Great British Bake Off Taught Me About Judging Books


Almost all of my spare time the last few weeks has been consumed by two passions: the Man Booker Prize and The Great British Bake Off. And I’ve discovered a link between these two passions—and it’s not just that delicious baked goods are nice to enjoy with a good book.

What to Read if You Want More of The Great British Bake Off

For the second year in a row, a group of blogging friends and I have been reading all of the books on the long list for this year’s Man Booker Prize as part of what we call the WoMan Booker Shadow Panel. We exchange opinions on the books and come up with our own short list. Our opinions are varied, and we enjoy trying to reach a consensus.
On The Great British Bake Off (known as The Great British Baking Show in the U.S.), judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry have a similar (but yummier) task. They have to sample a bunch of baked goods and judge which baker is the star of the week and which one has to leave the competition.

Judging the quality of anything is murky and complicated, especially when everything under consideration meets a certain baseline standard. All of the bakers in the Bake Off are talented, and all of the books in the Booker contest have achieved a basic level of excellence (even if, as a reader, I might not find that excellence easy to see).  MORE

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