Saturday, July 31, 2010

You Must Read This: Summer Edition

My son and I just completed a whirlwind tour of potential colleges:  three trips in three weeks in three states.
One of the things we did to break up the intensity of tours, info sessions, and interviews, all of which started to blend together, was to take an afternoon and worship at the shrine of baseball in Cooperstown, NY:  The Baseball Hall of Fame.

I was a childhood baseball fan, courtesy of my father and the evenings we sat in his car in the driveway, listening to Mets games on AM radio.  I loved the magic and mystery of hearing a game spun to life by distant voices.  That cadence became the auditory equivalent of comfort food.

As I moved into my teen years, I stopped paying attention to baseball.  Part of it was coming of age before Title IX, as well as being the young daughter of parents who were older than all my friends' parent. I never played sports growing up.

When my husband and I moved to the Boston area in 1989, we caught the Red Sox bug, since Fenway was so close by.  I started listening to games on the radio and remembered how those classic sounds were the backdrop of much of my childhood.  It didn't really matter to me that the Sox were perennial almosts.  I was used to that from early exposure to the Mets.  I just loved the sound of the games.

By the time the boys came along, we raised them on Red Sox fever and so they caught the baseball bug as well.  Especially my eldest son.  The one I'd taken on those college visits and to Cooperstown.  (Don't worry, I haven't forgotten this is a book recommendation post.)

So after walking the museum and paying homage to the hall of fame itself, with all of the shiny plaques, we headed to the giftshop, where my son picked out a book by one of his favorite baseball bloggers:  Joe Posnanski.

The book is "The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America."

You. Must. Read. This.


Even if you don't love baseball.

It was the winner of the Casey award for the best baseball book of the year and it's a beautifully written paean to the world of Buck O'Neil.  The world of the Negro League baseball players.  In 2005, Posnanski traveled the baseball season with the 95 year old O'Neil. Through their shared journey, all of us get to see the beauty of a man with every reason to be bitter, but who instead remained steadfastly and stubbornly in love with people and the game he played with such passion.

Really, this is not a baseball book.  It's a book of hope, joy, and integrity, told with incredible grace.

Besides, how can you not rave about a book that brings your almost 17 year old son to tears he is not embarrassed to share with his mom?

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