April 5, 2012

AND THE RED SMITH READER:

The 13 Best Baseball Books: From 'The Art of Fielding' to 'Moneyball': 'Loveliest of trees, the cherry now,' and spring means baseball is back. From The Natural to Moneyball, find out where to extract the soul of the diamond, and tell us what we left out. (Jimmy So, 4/05/12, Daily Beast)


The Summer Games by Roger Angell

From spring to fall and from decade to decade, baseball changed in the mezzo years between 1962 and 1972--the hot summer when leagues were expanding, franchises were moving, owners were getting richer, players were getting bigger, and television was altering the game. The New Yorker writer's pitch-perfect essays from the 1960s gave birth to modern baseball writing, the way that A.J. Liebling was the heavyweight of boxing literature. Read Angell, and you can practically feel the summer breeze blowing through the outfield bleachers. The smell of spring is in the air. [...]

Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris

The four-part story of Henry Wiggen begins with The Southpaw, which was published a year after The Natural. It, too, has the tendency to knock big hitters out cold, since Harris likes the vernacular so much it can look as if he's throwing nothing but fastballs that blow by you. But true to its title, Bang the Drum Slowly stays the flash of the high heat and centers on the poignant life of Bruce Pearson, Wiggen's catcher and roommate, who's dying slowly of cancer. [...]


Waugh, the accountant protagonist of the metanovelist Coover's strange fiction, might have gotten along with Gould. Each night after work, he becomes the god of something like a fantasy baseball league, tossing dice to dictate the plays of players like "bowlegged old Maggie Everts" or "Hatrack Hines." The conceit might sound pretentious, but it works, and the fun this book offers must be read to be believed.
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Posted by at April 5, 2012 6:37 AM
  

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