My name is Monica, and I am a Chronological Reader. In this club, according to the Atlantic Wire, “you buy a book, you read it. … You might discard a book, but only if there is very good cause, and it will bring you a sense of deep unease, so you’ll probably pick it back up and finish it anyway.”
Despite this confession, I can. Not. Finish. Chad Hardbach’s “The Art of Fielding.”
I picked it up because a friend recommended it, and it’s March, the season of spring training. I’m enduring a drip, drip, drippy rain that may turn to snow at any moment in northern Illinois instead of soaking in the sunshine with a beer while watching the Minnesota Twins practice baseball in Fort Myers, Fla. I thought a book about a baseball player might be a good antidote.
I tolerated the repeated references to another, apparently fictional book named “The Art of Fielding” by Aparicio Rodriguez. I managed a plethora of last names (baseball teams have nine players, you know, and that’s nine characters with nine first names and nine last names). I sighed heavily when the author illogically jumped scenes (wait a minute, did Henry ride with Schwartzy to the hospital or did he linger in the outfield feeling bad? I’m so confused).
Then Guert turns out to be not only gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but a 50-something-year-old guy crushing on a 20-something baseball player. Gross.
When Pella is introduced in Chapter 10, and the point of view switches from third person to first person, I quit.
I’m bitter about it, too.
See, I’m trying to read a book a week, and this dumb book halted my meager progress with a screech and a blotch of smoking rubber.
The New Yorker liked “The Art of Fielding,” so I must just be a dumb country bumpkin out here in the sticks, but I am not going to finish it.
I’m moving on.
To Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.”