I finished “The Art of Fielding” on the flight home and had to let you all know, because it’s the first book in awhile that exceeded my expectations. Fielding is a debut novel that I wanted to read for book club (“The Marriage Plot” won, which was only meh) and that had a lot of buzz when it was first published. (Buzz has not equated with awesomeness in the last several much-fussed-over books I’ve read.) I bought it for the iPad, but I’m totally going to get a hard copy, too, because the script on the cover is so lovely, and because it’s one I’d like to be able to loan out to people.
I’m not a big baseball fan, but although the sport serves as the framework for the book, it’s not about baseball as much as it is exploring the idea of perfection, legacy and finding purpose. The writing was so good it made me want to go back and read passages over again just to roll them around in my brain, like when you taste something really delicious and want to relish it on your tongue.
There where no whys in a person’s life, and very few hows. In the end, in search of useful wisdom, you could only come back to the most hackneyed concepts, like kindness, forbearance, infinite patience. Solomon and Lincoln: This too shall pass. Damn right it will. Or Chekhov: Nothing passes. Equally true.
If you’re looking for a quality book, check it out. I’d have given this a 9 out of 10 at our book club rating session.
Also, this is only semi-related, but for longform journalism, I’ve really been digging the site Grantland lately. It’s a sports site, so again, this is weird for me, but they have some fantastic writers and connect the pieces to larger life themes a lot of times, so it’s more context than pure stats, if that makes sense.