There’s a Retroactive Book Award Competition Tonight

It’s to decide the best book from 100 years ago.

bpl book award

The Good Soldier, Psmith, Journalist, and The Thirty-Nine Steps covers via Wikimedia Commons

Put down your copy of Go Set a Watchman, because books published in 2015 have no place at tonight’s Hundred-Year Retroactive Book Award competition at the Boston Public Library.

It will judge the literary excellence of three best-selling books circa 1915: The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan, Psmith, Journalist by P.G. Wodehouse, and The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. The winner will be chosen through a charmingly trivial debate, in which each book’s merits are defended by three Boston-based journalists and writers.

James Parker, contributing editor at The Atlantic, will argue for Psmith, Journalist. Freelance writer and editor Alan Andres will defend The Good Soldier, and Boston Globe contributor Peter Keough will stand up for The Thirty-Nine Steps. Radio Boston co-host Meghna Chakrabarti is moderator of the debate, and will thankfully be there to step in when things get heated in the BPL’s Abbey Room.

Sparknotes didn’t exist 100 years ago, but it might be a good primer for the good-humored contest.

Free, Thursday, November 5, 6 p.m., Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street,