Archive for October, 2010

Still reading books

October 27, 2010

So yeah, it’s been a few months. But I’m still reading– trying to reach 50 books and/or 20,000 pages.

29) The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. Kahn, who was a kid sportswriter covering the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers, wrote a book about the team he covered after they were all no longer playing. The resulting book, first published in the early ’70s, is a poignant, humanizing look at old baseball players, and at the journalist who covered them. They may make more money now, but they’re definitely not the boys of summer. 512 pages.

30) Gloria’s Miracle by Jerry Brewer. Jerry, who is a friend of mine, published this story of Gloria Strauss, a remarkable young girl, who was diagnosed with incurable cancer at age seven, and eventually succumbed at age eleven. Along the way, Gloria and her family’s remarkable poise, strength, and faith inspired Jerry reconsider his own life, and to become a Christian. Jerry is a brilliant writer and this is a story that he tells as well as it deserves. 256 pages.

31) Invictus by John Carlin. Carlin chronicles Nelson Mandela’s rise to power and his embracing of the Springboks, white South Africa’s favorite team, to help unite his divided nation into a single force. I am embarassed that I did not know more about Mandela, but I plan to read more, and his use of sports as cultural bonding agent is nothing shy of brilliant. Quick and enjoyable reading. 288 pages.

32) Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman writes an apparently true-life “High Fidelity” without the happy ending. Even when Chuck is bad, he’s good. But he’s not on his A game here. Skip this and try another of his books. 272 pages.

33) Dream Season by Bob Cowser Jr. Cowser is a college professor with a wife and a new baby. He decides to play semi-pro football and chronicles his season. Since Cowser is a good writer and an apparently none-too-brilliant player, the book works pretty well. Nothing too deep here, but a good chronicle of men who enjoy sport for sport’s sake. 240 pages.

34) God and Football by Chad Gibbs. Gibbs, who is a born-again Christian and a fervent Auburn Tiger fan, goes around the SEC in a season, trying to balance football fanaticism which devotion to Christ. The resulting book is at times wry and at times poignant, but is never dull. Gibbs has a bright future as a sort of sports-loving Donald Miller. He is an incredibly funny writer and an excellent Christian role model if a Saturday has ever made you “lose your religion”, so to speak. 240 pages.

35) Paperback Writer by Mark Shipper. In 1978, Shipper wrote a fictional biography of the Beatles– and their reunion. Since the reunion never came, Shipper’s is that much more odd, but interesting. He ultimately concludes, as we all probably know, that the magic of the Beatles would’ve never struck twice. 254 pages.

36) Eli the Good by Silas House. House, who has spent most of his career crafting amazing Appalachian women, finally writes a young man’s story. Set in the Vietnam era, it represents a collision of the influences of the day on a young life. As with all of House’s books, stop reading and go get it. It’s another good one. 304 pages.

37) Crossroads by Tom Graves. Tom is yet another author who goes searching for Robert Johnson. While there’s not much to say, Graves says it in an interesting, and fairly balanced way. 151 pages.

38) Curse of the Bambino by Dan Shaughnessy. Now that the 2004 Red Sox killed the curse, you can find this for perhaps $2, like I did. Good baseball history book, although I could do without a bit of the babble as to how important baseball is (apparently only) to Red Sox fans. 256 pages.

Two more underway– one is about 120 pages in, and the other is about 60.

So at the moment… 37.9 books, 12,878 pages.
To be on point for my goal… 41.1 books, 16,438 pages.

So I’m three books behind and about 3,500 pages. Obviously, the page count won’t be remedied, even though I do have a few longer books to go. Looks like it’s 50 books or bust.