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Book thoughts – “Are We Winning” by Will Leitch

July 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I picked up Are We Winning?: Fathers and Sons in the New Golden Age of Baseball from the library a couple of weeks ago because it’s about baseball and it centers around a game at Wrigley Field that I very much remember watching on TV (the Cubs clinched the NL Central in 2008 by beating the Cards that day). Leitch uses the 8.5 innings of that game as a framework for a series of conversations about fathers and sons and baseball. In fact, the book is written to his unborn son and he ends each chapter with the things he wanted his son to learn.

This is a great book. Leitch talks about baseball from the perspective of a guy who really loves the game and lives and dies with the fortunes of his team. The book is insightful and funny and is written really well. The topics range from stats to beer to steroids to the poor facial hair decisions made by players. He even dedicates a good part of one chapter to Bartman (probably because of the pain inflicted by that guy on Cub fans everywhere) as a picture of true fandom. It’s a must read for Cards or Cubs fans and anyone else who is passionate about the game, particularly if you are a second or third generation lover of the game.

Just a couple of quick excerpts:

On fandom: “True baseball fans do not cheer for their teams to win: They cheer for them not to lose. Victory does not come with joy; it comes with relief.” (p.147)

On stats and records: “Baseball is three hours of Shakespeare sixteen times a day, and. somehow, we’ve turned it into a math problem about longevity.” (p.165)

Take some time to check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

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Categories: Books, cubs, sports Tags: , , ,

five pieces of random goodness in my world

March 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Just some random things that have been greatly enjoyed over the last week or so.

Film – saw Juno tonight. Incredibly good. Every performance was spot on and I especially can;t say enough about Ellen Page and J.K. Simmons. If you haven’t seen it – you should.

DVD – King of California. Another movie with incredible performances. Michael Douglas at his best. Hilarious and at the same time a movie that really has something to say about suburban existence.

Books – Thanks to my trip to Vegas I got to read Into the Wild and Earth Abides last week. I love it when I have time to read and find great stuff with which to fill that time. Earth Abides is another in my way too long string of apocalyptic novels.

TV – While I didn’t send any peanuts to CBS, I am a fan of Jericho. I caught the first season on the internet this summer and while it had some incredibly cheesy moments, something kept me watching. I’m glad I did. With only a handful of episodes to tell it’s story, the show has really tightened up and has great pacing and storytelling this time around. If you haven’t been watching, check out season 1 on DVD and the season’s episodes at cbs.com

Hoop – It’s tourney time and I spent a good part of the day in the big chair watching teams I care nothing about play basketball because that’s what you do  on the first day of the tournament. And I plan to do it for the second day as well.

Ah the joy of simple things.

geek joy – the library book sale!

February 24, 2008 Leave a comment

There are a number of major holidays on my calendar. Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, and the annual Metro Library System Friends of the Library Book Sale. No, Hallmark has not yet developed a card, but the observance of this event is as non-negotiable for me as the Humphreys family Easter gathering. Imagine hundreds of the the kind of folks you would imagine attend things like library books sales descending on a building at Fair Park to sort through thousands of donated copies of the Left Behind series to find books they don’t need, may not even really want, but have to buy because they (I) can. How can you not at $.50 for a paperback and $1 for a hardback? So I went, I saw, I purchased. Only seventeen books this year. For a grand total of $19.50 (some were from the “collectors” area – which just means they were in good enough shape to charge more than a dollar for them).

Among the discoveries from the excursion:

A cool edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Last of the Mohicans

Stranger in a Strange Land

Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot

A nice copy of The Sound and the Fury

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Human Stain

The Great Gatsby

And many more (nine more to be precise).

The glow of the book sale takes away some of the sting of the spanking that was handed to OU today. Some of it.

Categories: Books Tags: , ,

quote o’ the week – Margaret Atwood

December 13, 2007 Leave a comment

From The Handmaid’s Tail – good book by the way

” When I get out of here, if I’m ever able to set this down, in any form, even in the form of one voice to another, it will be a reconstruction then too, at yet another remove. It’s impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too may shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many. ” (p.134)

I think part of what drew me to this quote is the parallel I see with the story of God as it unfolds in the Bible. There are so many gaps I wish were filled in. So many expressions I wish I could see. So many conversations I wish I could hear.

top five apocalyptic novels

December 3, 2007 Leave a comment

The perfect list for a week of papers and finals.

No way to order this. It’s hard enough to limit it to five.

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

The Stand – Stephen King

A Canticle for Liebowitz – Walter M. Miller

Oryx and Crake – Margaret Atwood

Children of Men – P.D. James

Honorable mention (sorry I couldn’t resist)
World War Z, The Forge of God, Lucifer’s Hammer, Alas, Babylon

this month’s reading list

November 1, 2007 Leave a comment

I’ll spare you all of the school stuff.

The starred book is the one I would recommend if you were going to only read one off of the list.

The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea – Yukio Mishima

Justice in the Burbs – Will and Lisa Samson

The Night Ferry – Michael Robotham

After Dark– Haruki Murakami*****

No idea why I was feeling Japanese this month.

Categories: Books Tags: ,

lynne spears, parenting author – the weekly whah?!?

October 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Apparently Britney Spears’ mom Lynne is writing a book on parenting. Is it just me, or does this feel a bit like George W. Bush writing a book on peaceful conflict resolution? Or maybe Ken Lay writing a book on business ethics? It could even inspire her daughter to write a book on marriage. That would make just as much sense.

The whole Britney Spears thing is an incredible case study in self-destruction. I wish she and everyone associated with her would just go away so news people would have to find something else to do. Like write books on  journalistic integrity.