If this was a more traditional blog, Melvin and I would post more often, and that would mean a constant search for new content. The easiest way to populate a blog with content is to comment on, or maybe just take note of, someone else's content.
There was just such an opportunity yesterday. "To celebrate the return of baseball," the New York Times asked some of its staff "to recommend their favorite fiction or nonfiction books that revolve around the sport." The selections appeared on page C4 of the local print edition and since they do not appear to have been published online, perhaps I actually serve a purpose by regurgitating them here.
The books that were mentioned are listed below in alphabetical order by author, but without attribution to the nominee.
Roger Angell, "any collection of his columns"
Jim Bouton, Ball Four
Don DeLillo, Underworld
David James Duncan, The Brothers K
Eric Rolfe Greenberg, The Celebrant
David Halberstam, Summer of '49
Mark Harris, The Southpaw
The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
Roger Kahn, The Boys of Summer
W. P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
"Jane Leavy's masterpieces on Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle"
Michael Lewis, Moneyball
George Maraniss, Clemente
George Will, Men at Work
I am not personally an avid reader of baseball books. I still haven't touched Doug Glanville's memoir, which Melvin loaned me after he read and blogged about it. The one book I have read on this list is DeLillo's Underworld. Michiko Kakutani, who I will mention because Melvin finds her so infuriating, writes,
"The opening section...captures, in one breathtaking sweep, the experience of 35,000 people watching one of baseball's most famous games, in which Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants blasted the 'shot heard 'round the world' to seize the National League pennant from the Brooklyn Dodgers on Oct. 3, 1951."
I certainly agree. And while Thursday's list of favorites seemingly did not make it to the Times' website, the newspaper does have an extensive bibliography you can peruse.
Melvin and I are right now in different parts of Los Angeles, preparing to do what we will do for three days before hitting the baseball byways on Tuesday. Hope to see you there.