BY DAVID DUHR
[Unless David Duhr reads 80 books in the year 2013, he’s committed to reading publicly from Fifty Shades of Grey while wearing a hot pink onesie.]
Last month I stated on my blog a goal of reading 80 books in 2013, and I asked friends to suggest methods of public shaming and humiliation if I don’t reach this goal. I did this partly for accountability and partly because I’m a whorey attention whore.
The consensus was that if I fail I must perform a public reading of Fifty Shades of Grey while wearing a hot-pink onesie. (Imagine being inside the mind of the person who envisions me in tight baby-pajamas.)
After a strong start to the year, knocking over a dozen books in January and another nine in February, 80 looked to be a breeze. But I ran into a March buzzsaw that began with a bookless week in Boston: four days for AWP—where nobody reads a damn thing—and the surrounding four days going on benders with the gang here at Chamber Four.
And then I took an assignment to review a 520-page werewolf novel, and the longer I read this book, the further away the ending seems. So between travel, dice baseball (more on that later), and these goddamn werewolves, I only read four books in March and am starting to browse jumbo hot-pink onesies.
Now that I’m firmly entrenched in this project, for the rest of the year I’m going to cover my monthly progress for you here at C4, and include a quick review of each book.
And if I come up short, we’ll include some onesie video footage here on the site. Here we go.
Bottom of the 33rd, Dan Barry
(New York Times Review)
This book tells the story of a 1981 Triple-A baseball game that went 33 innings and ran very, very deep into a frigid Rhode Island night (it was eventually concluded days later). Among the future big-leaguers were Cal Ripken Jr., and a bunch of guys that BoSox fans will remember from the ’86 debacle: Wade Boggs, Rich Gedman, Bruce Hurst, Marty Barrett, and more. But Barry, an NYT staff writer, focuses on the stories of those players who never made it above AAA, including Dave Koza, Pawtucket’s cleanup hitter, who starred in the minors for years but never received a call-up. (He just couldn’t hit the curveball.)
Barry’s writing is stellar throughout. The book has the leisurely pace of a ballgame, but offers several moments of quick excitement—and plenty of devastating sadness and bitter nostalgia over missed or blown opportunities. (Note especially the story of Bobby Bonner, who was called up by the Orioles late one season, missed a groundball, got shitcanned by Earl Weaver and never saw the Majors again.)
This is one of the best baseball books I’ve ever read. You don’t have to be a Sox fan, or even a fan of the game, to enjoy it. And if you’re a failed ballplayer yourself, take a deep breath and plunge in. Consider it therapy. Continue reading