This book is out in left field and over my head

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 Harbach’s “The Art of Fielding.”

It’s crap.

Art of FieldingI 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.”

5 responses to “This book is out in left field and over my head

  1. you will have to tell me if, and how much, you like reading “Bossy Pants.” it’s been on my list for awhile, but I just have not picked it up yet

  2. OOhhh! Yes, tell us what you think of Tina’s book. I would have high hopes for it. I can’t ever imagine enjoying a book about baseball, personally, but I know the disappointment of starting a book and realizing you are forcing yourself to read it. Life’s too short. We read for enjoyment.

  3. You know I bought this book recently because so many people said it was a really good book. It’s not the type of book I’d usually read because I always thought it was about baseball/sports…and everyone who loved it said it was so much more than that. I’m not too excited to read it because somehow, I still can’t believe it’s not about baseball and that it’s good. Then I read your review and now it’s like I really don’t want to read it…lol.

  4. I tthought you might like it because you are into baseball. I confess that I did not like it and thought I was too dumb to get what makes this book great. I’m relieved that I’m not alone but sorry that you I had you waste time reading it. Feel free to donate it to savers and and I am sorry for giving you the book!

    • Consider it donated (I had set it aside in the “return to owner” pile). But don’t apologize for lending it to me. Most of your suggestions are good ones.

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