Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Our Baseball Bookshelf

Baseball is back! And in honor of this week’s opening of the 2012 major league baseball season, we’re taking a look at Overlook’s baseball bookshelf.

Arguably one of the greatest books ever written about the sport is Robert Coover’s classic 1968 novel The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Reissued last year by Overlook, this timeless novel received a glowing tribute in The New York Times Book Review by Matt Weiland.

New in paperback this Spring is The Night Casey Was Born, a lively history of the most famous baseball poem of all time, Casey at the Bat. Author John Evangelist Walsh tells the story behind the poem and its young journalist author, as well as its inaugural performance in 1888 in New York's Wallack's Theater by DeWolf Hopper. The Night Casey was Born is a portrait of America in the earliest years of its love affair with baseball.

Billy Lombado’s The Man with Two Arms is a literary novel featuring a switch-pitcher who rises up through the ranks and baseball diamonds all over the country. It will thrill Chicago baseball fans, and appeal to all with a tender father-son story . Critic Alan Cheuse notes: “Undoubtedly modern America’s finest literary tribute to the baseball since Bernard Malamud’s novel The Natural . . . Lombardo’s one of a kind novel about a one of a kind ball player becomes as engrossing as a perfect game going into the late innings. If you’re in the stands, you don’t want to look away from the field, let alone leave the stadium early. Those who love to read about this great pastime will have the same feeling when reading about Denny Grenville, on and off the field.”

And for the younger crowd, we recommend Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars by Walter Brooks, with illustrations by Kurt Wiese. The Freddy the Pig books, long considered classics of American children's literature are with each reissue by Overlook Press finding new readers. In this volume, Freddy organizes a Martian baseball team! Anyone who can imagine a baseball team consisting of Martians, an elephant, an ostrich, and Mr. Boorschmidt, with Freddy as coach, has a slight idea of what's in store.

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