The 2020 Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books

Its back! The 3rd Annual The Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books!

We did it in 2018 and 2019 and honestly, its the best tradition and I hope you’re all as thrilled for round three as I am.

To refresh your memory, The Battle of The Books is a March Madness style bracket where you vote to pick the book club book of the year. You also get a chance to win one of TSBC books by predicting the most accurate bracket over on https://challonge.com/thestacks2020 or click here. You create your account put your predictions in for who you think will win. Then on The Stacks Instagram Stories, you’ll vote (starting 12/22) for your favorite books in head to head battles, until we crown one winner, The Stacks Book Club Book of the Year. The results of each round will be updated over on Challonge (our bracket site) and on our Instagram @thestackspod.

You have until Tuesday, December 22nd at 8:00am PST to put in your predictions. The winner will be whoever has the most accurate bracket, and they will win one of our TSBC books from 2020 (winner’s choice). We will announce the winner of the tournament and the winner of the giveaway on Thursday, December 31st once all the results are in.

Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Tuesday December 22nd . All voting on Instagram!
  4. Spread the word!

If you want all the nerdy details of how the seeding was figure out, you’ve come to the right place. Mostly I created a bunch of my own calculations to rank the books based on many factors. The rankings are full of biases and assumptions, and honestly, thats what makes this fun. You all ultimately get to vote, which means you get to decide. Here is how I ranked these books, and below find a more detailed description of what that means. 

  • Podcast Downloads– Raw number of downloads that episode received according to my data (I know older episodes will be at a disadvantage as the podcast grew over time, but also newer episodes suffer because they haven’t been up as long, I’m hoping it all evens out). It is worth noting that I excluded Citizen: An American Lyric  from this calculation since that episode is not out yet.
  • iTunes Episode Popularity– iTunes lets me see how popular each episode is. Its slight different than raw downloads, because they take into account listeners at the time of recording, but they also only include people listening through iTunes. Again, Citizen: An American Lyric was excluded from this category, see above.
  • Goodreads Scores– I looked up each book on Goodreads and took that score.
  • Goodreads Reviews– I took the raw number of Goodreads reviews for each book.
  • Test of Time– The older a book is, the more credit it got, because it has withstood the test of time. 
  • Social Media Input– I’ve asked The Stacks Instagram followers to tell me their favorite book we read this year, and those responses are incorporated.
  • Traci’s Personal Ranking– Thats right, I’m influencing this competition a little. Its my podcast, so why not?

There are 16 books in the competition, so in each of those categories the books are rated on a scale of 1-16. Each book received a score from each category, 1 being the best, 16 the worst. I then tallied all the scores and divided by 7 (in the case of Citizen: An American Lyric only 5). The lower the score, the higher the ranking.

I know that sounds like a lot, but just trust me, it makes sense. Here are the rankings based on these calculations, and their total overall raw scores, remember lower is better. Where there was a tie, I broke the tie.

  1. The Autobiography of Malcolm X – 3.28
  2. Sula – 3.85
  3. The Giver – 5.14
  4. Citizen 5.8
  5. The Undocumented Americans – 6.14
  6. Breathe – 6.57
  7. Sister Outsider – 7.57
  8. Trick Mirror – 7.71
  9. The Hating Game – 8.71
  10. Trust Exercise – 9.71
  11. Savage Appetites -9.85
  12. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – 10.14
  13. Three Women 10.28
  14. The Butterfly Effect – 11.14
  15. Cribsheet – 11.28
  16. Number One Chinese Restaurant – 12.28

Voting begins Tuesday December 22nd, shortly after 8:00am PST for the first round, and will follow the schedule below. Remember you vote on The Stacks Instagram stories. You just click your favorite book in each round’s head to head matchup. Once the results are in, I’ll share the winners with you and we get ready for the next round. The schedule is below.

Round 1 – December 22nd – Sweet Sixteen 16

Round 2 – December 26th – Elite 8

Round 3 – December 28th – Final 4

Round 4 – December 30th – Championship

That feels like a lot, trust me, it’ll be fun and worth it.
Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Tuesday December 22.
  4. Spread the word!

For those of you curious who won in previous years, 2018 was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, and 2019 was Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. Who will ascend the throne in 2020?


To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

The 2019 Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books

All 26 of The Stacks Book Club Books from 2019, aren’t they so gorgeous?

Its back!

We’re bringing a little friendly competition to the world of The Stacks as 2019 comes to an end. If you remember, we did this all last year, and we’re making it a tradition. It is time for The 2nd Annual The Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books!

We want to know which book is the best book from all our 2019 The Stacks Book Club picks according to YOU.

Here is how it works. You go to https://challonge.com/TheStacks2019 or click here. You create your account put your predictions in for who you think will win. Then on The Stacks Instagram Stories, you’ll vote (start 12/20) for your favorite books in head to head battles, until we crown one winner, The Stacks Book Club Book of the Year. The results of each round will be updated over on Challonge (our bracket site) and on our Instagram @thestackspod.

You have until Friday, December 20th at 8:00am PST to put in your predictions. The winner will be whoever has the most accurate bracket, and they will win one of our TSBC books from 2019 (winners choice). We will announce the winner of the tournament and the winner of the giveaway on Tuesday, December 31st once the results are in.

Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Friday December 20th. No voting anywhere but Instagram!
  4. Spread the word!

If you want all the nerdy details of how the seeding was figure out, you’ve come to the right place. Mostly I created a bunch of my own calculations to rank the books based on many factors. The rankings are full of biases and assumptions, and honestly, thats what makes this fun. You all ultimately get to vote, which means you get to decide. Here is how I ranked these books, and below find a more detailed description of what that means. 

  • Podcast Downloads– Raw number of downloads that episode received according to my data (I know older episodes will be at a disadvantage as the podcast grew over time, but also newer episodes suffer because they haven’t been up as long, I’m hoping it all evens out). It is worth noting that I excluded Red at the Bone from this calculation since that episode is not out yet.
  • iTunes Episode Popularity– iTunes lets me see how popular each episode is. Its slight different than raw downloads, because they take into account listeners at the time of recording, but they also only include people listening through iTunes. Again, Red at the Bone was excluded from this category, see above.
  • Goodreads Scores– I just looked up each book on Goodreads and took that score.
  • Goodreads Reviews– I took the raw number of Goodreads reviews for each book.
  • Test of Time– The older a book is, the more credit it got, because it has withstood the test of time. 
  • Social Media Input– I’ve asked you all to tell me your favorite book we read this year on Instagram and Twitter. Those responses are incorporated.
  • Traci’s Personal Ranking– Thats right, I’m influencing this competition a little. Why not?

There are 26 books in the competition, so in each of those categories the books are rated on a scale of 1-26. Each book received a score from each category, 1 being the best, 26 the worst. I then tallied all the scores and divided by 7 (in the case of Red at the Bone only 5). The lower the score, the higher the ranking.

I know that sounds like a lot, but just trust me, it makes sense. Here are the rankings based on these calculations, and their total overall raw scores, remember lower is better. Where there was a tie, I broke the tie.

  1. Tiny Beautiful Things – 4.28
  2. Educated – 7.28
  3. Never Let Me Go – 7.42
  4. Tell Me How It Ends – 7.57
  5. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat – 8.42
  6. Beloved – 8.71
  7. Good and Mad – 11
  8. The Immortalists – 11.14
  9. Home Fire – 11.28
  10. The Light of the World – 11.428
  11. Miracle Creek – 12.14
  12. All You Can Ever Know – 13
  13. Jesus’ Son – 13.14
  14. Tinderbox – 13.14
  15. The Four Agreements – 13.71
  16. Friday Black – 14.14
  17. Chase Darkness with Me – 14.14
  18. Red at the Bone – 14.6
  19. Wild Beauty – 15.28
  20. The Unwinding of the Miracle – 15.57
  21. I’m Thinking of the Ending Things – 15.57
  22. The World Only Spins Forward – 15.71
  23. The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist – 15.85
  24. We Cast a Shadow – 17.28
  25. Work Party – 17.28
  26. Rap Dad – 19.285

Voting begins Thursday December 20th, shortly after 7:00am PST for the first round, and will follow the schedule below. Remember you vote in The Stacks Instagram stories. You just click your favorite book in each round’s head to head matchup. Once the results are in, I’ll share the winners with you and we get ready for the next round. The schedule is below.

Round 1 – December 20th – Play In Games

Round 2 – December 23rd – Sweet Sixteen 16

Round 3 – December 26th – Elite 8

Round 4 – December 28th – Final 4

Round 5 – December 30th – Championship

That feels like a lot, trust me, it’ll be fun and worth it.
Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Friday December 20th.
  4. Spread the word!

If you’re curious who won last year, it should come as no surprise, our winner was non other than The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Will she repeat in 2019? Or is it time for a new author to take the crown?


To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. This in no way effects opinions on books and products reviewed here. For more information click here.

The 2018 Stacks Book Club Battle of the Books

We’re bringing a little friendly competition into The Stacks world as 2018 comes to a close. You get to vote for the winners of this year’s best book from The Stacks Book Club, plus one participant will win one of these books and a tote!

Here is how it works. You go to https://challonge.com/TheStacks2018 or click here. You create your account put your predictions in for who you think will win. Then on The Stacks Instagram Stories, you’ll vote (start 12/20) for your favorite books in head to head battles, until we crown one winner, The Stacks Book Club Book of the Year. The results of each round will be updated over on Challonge (our bracket site) and on our Instagram @thestackspod.

You have until Thursday, December 20th at 9:00am PST to put in your predictions, the person who does the best will win one book from the 19 books in the tournament and a The Stacks Tote bag. We will announce the winner of the tournament and the winner of the giveaway on Monday, December 31st once the results are in.


Some of you might be wondering how the seedings worked out for the tournament, and I’ll be honest, I did a bunch of calculations to rank the books based on a slew of factors The rankings are full of bias, and assumptions, and thats what makes it fun, since ultimately YOU decide the best book. Here is what I looked at to rank these books, and below find a more detailed description of what that means. 

  • Podcast Downloads- Raw number of downloads that episode received according to my data (I know older episodes will be at a disadvantage as the podcast grew over time, but also newer episodes suffer because they haven’t been up as long, I’m hoping it all evens out). It is worth noting that I excluded Open City from this calculation since that episode is not out yet.
  • iTunes Episode Popularity- iTunes lets me see how popular each episode is. Its slight different than raw downloads, because they take into account listeners at the time of recording, but they also only include people listening through iTunes. Again,Open City  was excluded from this category, see above.
  • Goodreads Scores- I just looked up each book on Goodreads and took that score.
  • Goodreads Reviews- I took the raw number of Goodreads reviews for each book.
  • Test of Time- The older a book is, the more credit it got, because it has withstood the test of time. 
  • Social Media Input- I’ve asked you all to tell me your favorite book we read this year on Instagram and Twitter. Those responses are incorporated.
  • Traci’s Personal Ranking- Thats right, I’m influencing this competition a little. Why not?

There are 19 books in the competition, so in each of those categories the books are rated on a scale of 1-19. Each book received a score from each category, 1 being the best, 19 the worst. I then tallied all the scores and divided by 7 (in the case of Open City  only 5). The lower the score, the higher the ranking.

I know that sounds like a lot, but just trust me, it makes sense. Here are the rankings based on these calculations, and their total overall raw scores, remember lower is better. Where there was a tie, I broke the tie.

  • 1 Between the World and Me -5.142
  • 2 Giovanni’s Room – 5.571
  • 3 The Bluest Eye – 5.857
  • 4 Men We Reaped – 6.428
  • 5 Exit West – 6.714
  • 6 Bad Blood – 7.14
  • 7 Year of Yes – 7.714
  • 8 The Mars Room – 9.142
  • 9 If You Leave Me – 9.428
  • 10 Between the World and Me -5.142
  • 11 How Democracies Die – 9.714
  • 12 Less – 10
  • 13 Open City – 11
  • 14 Reincarnation Blues – 12.428
  • 15 Vulgar Favors – 12.571
  • 16 How Soccer Explains the World – 12.714
  • 17 To the Bridge – 13.428
  • 18 New Boy – 13.428
  • 19 Motherhood – 14.57

Voting begins Thursday December 20th, shortly after 9:00am PST for the first round, and will follow the schedule below. Remember you vote in The Stacks Instagram stories. You just click your favorite book in each round’s head to head matchup. Once the results are in, I’ll share the winners with you and we get ready for the next round. The schedule is below.

Round 1 – December 20th – Play In Games

Round 2 – December 23rd – Sweet Sixteen 16

Round 3 – December 26th – Elite 8

Round 4 – December 28th – Final 4

Round 5 – December 30th – Championship

That feels like a lot, trust me, it’ll be fun and worth it. Here is the important stuff.

  1. Make sure you’re following The Stacks on Instagram @thestackspod.
  2. Register for the bracket if you want to be part of the giveaway CLICK HERE
  3. Vote in each round on our Insta Stories,  starting Thursday December 20th.
  4. Spread the word!

To contribute to The Stacks, join The Stacks Pack, and get exclusive perks, check out our Patreon page. We are beyond grateful for anything you’re able to give to support the production of this show. If you prefer to do a one time contribution go to paypal.me/thestackspod.

The Stacks participates in affiliate programs. We receive a small commission when products are purchased through links on this website, and this comes at no cost to you. Shopping through these links helps support the show, but does not effect my opinions on books and products. For more information click here.