30 October 2013

2013 reading list, July – September

Cory Doctorow, The Makers.  NY: Tor, 2009.
            See full review here

Thomas Healy, The Great Dissent.  NY: Metropolitan, 2013.
            See full review here

Stephen King, Joyland.  London: Titan, 2013.

The Bildungsroman genre isn’t usually associated with horror or crime, but that is exactly what King has given us in this supernatural mystery.  While incorporating the same basic elements as his earlier Bag of Bones—backwards-looking first person narration, an unsolved murder, and ghostly assistance—the tale is, as with King’s best work, fresh, energetic, and enjoyable.

Michael Lewis, Moneyball.  NY: Norton, 2003.

Now a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt, this book made a stir when it was published, by showing how the Oakland Athletics achieved success against overwhelming financial odds by applying rational thought to player evaluation and identifying undervalued assets.  It also brought to the mainstream the idea that getting on base—or not making outs—is a hitter’s most valuable skill.  It is most interesting, though, for the biographical sketches of Billy Beane, Scott Hatteberg, Jeremy Brown, and ChadBradford.

Billy Collins, Aimless Love.  NY: Random House, 2013.
            See full review here

Lawrence Block, Lucky at Cards.  NY: Hard Case Crime, 2007.

A professional gambler takes a chance on the wrong woman in this re-issue of a 1964 title.

Lisa Wheeler & Sophie Blackall, Spinster Goose.  NY: Antheneum, 2011.

A little book of rhymes
About the little crimes
& prices to be paid
By those who played
At this boarding school
Run by a goose who’s cruel.

Molly Lawless, Hit by Pitch.  Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012.
          See full review here

Harold Parrott, The Lords of Baseball.  NY: Praeger, 1966.

Recounting the experiences of a reporter who went to work as traveling secretary for the Dodgers before they left Brooklyn and moved into ticket sales when the team moved to LA, then went on to work with the Seattle Pilots and California Angels, this memoir shows that, as Bill Terry said, baseball must be a great game to survive the fools who run it.

Theodore Sturgeon, E. Pluribus Unicorn.  NY: Ballantine, 1956.

This collection of short stories provides both science fiction and fantasy, demonstrating Sturgeon’s blend of pathos and provocation, making it a good introduction to an under-appreciated early master of the genres.