Friday, August 31, 2012

Books of the Month, August 2012

I love books. They're fun, educational, and some of them require no recharging.

Originally, I wanted to write a piece for The Philly Post on how Phillies fans could cope with a lost season, an idea that my editor rejected. That surprised me, because as a lifelong Mets fan I could offer readers advice that psychologists from Albany to Zurich would applaud.  

Part of my coping technique included books, specifically ones about baseball. In my opinion, no sport has a greater literary tradition: Ball Four, The Boys of Summer, Roger Angell's voluptuous body of work, and so on. There is a world of words to get lost in as dreams of postseason glory evaporate with each passing game. 

Boy, that sounded like something from that Baseball documentary. Better get back on track. 

Here are five books that Phillie fans--or anyone who appreciates baseball and good writing--will savor.   

1.) A False Spring by Pat Jordan. Philadelphians know Jordan (pictured) as the magazine veteran who wrote not-so-favorable profiles of Steve Carlton and John Bolaris. But Jordan's recollections as a teenage minor league pitcher contribute to perhaps the best memoir about misspent youth ever written. 

2.) The Last Boy by Jane Leavy. Leavy's exhaustive look at Mickey Mantle's private life--which was staggeringly different from his public, good old boy persona--is one of the best biographies I've ever read on anyone. A staggering work.  

3.) The Game From Where I Stand by Doug Glanville. The former Phillie examines the everyday aspects of being a ballplayer. An eloquent, humorous look at the humdrum that the public rarely sees. 

4.) The Bad Guys Won! by Jeff Pearlman. About one of my favorite teams of all-time, the 1986 New York Mets. And it's written by an author with an insatiable appetite for research. Translation: Get ready for some unreal stories, starting with the flight after the Mets won the pennant. 

5.) The Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty by Buster Olney. Because sometimes you need to revel in the misfortune of your betters. And because Olney is a fantastic reporter.

That's it for now. Until next month, read in peace. 

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