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May 01, 2011

Sunday Book Thread

I've been terribly busy at work the last week, and haven't had much opportunity to read. I find it hard to read novels or long-form non-fiction when I'm busy like this, so I tend to read short essays in whatever free time I have available. And this being baseball season (thank God!), I can think of no more pleasant way to use my limited reading time than reading Roger Angell's baseball essays.

Angell has been a fixture at The New Yorker for years and years, and is probably the best "baseball writer" ever. He's written hundreds of baseball-themed essays over the years, and they're periodically collected into book form. I've been working my way through Angell's Five Seasons, which came out in the late 1970's and chronicles (among other things) the morphing of professional baseball from a mere sport into a huge mass-entertainment franchise. (One of his best essays ever, "Gone for Good", about Pirates pitcher Steve Blass, is also in this volume.)

I should note that conservative columnist George Will is a splendid baseball writer too, and wrote a real classic some years back titled Men At Work. This book is just about the best "introduction to baseball" there is. If you have a spouse or friend who just doesn't "get" baseball, give them this book.

An early "clubhouse tell-all" is Jim Bouton's Ball Four. It's a funny and unvarnished look at what goes on both on and off the diamond. (It also seems kind of old-fashioned for a "tell all" kind of book; the steroids, sex scandals, strikes, and other shenanigans over the years have rendered this book almost quaint.)

What's everyone else reading?

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posted by Monty at 08:49 AM

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