29 September 2013

Book Club Love

I had two goals for myself this weekend: paint my toenails and write a blog post.

I'm happy to report that my toenails are a lovely shade of autumn red. Goal one...check!

As for the blog post....well, that hasn't been so easy. The more I have to say, the less time I have to say it.

Maybe I'll just stick to something simple today. Every once in a while I get to do something really cool like hang out with super-smart ladies, drink wine, and talk about books.

Yep, it's Book Club!

What I dearly love about book club (besides the wine and brilliant women) is that it compels me to read things that I normally would never have chosen for myself. And sometimes I'm actually excited by what I discover.

This time around, the selection was The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Now, I'm not a sports enthusiast. I'm actually more of a sports un-enthusiast, if truth be told. But this novel ended up being about so much more than baseball - I grew really attached to the characters and started to really worry about them toward the end.

Here is Amazon.com's description of the novel:

"At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, "The Art of Fielding is mere baseball fiction the way Moby Dick is just a fish story" (Nicholas Dawidoff). It is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to oneself and to others."

Pella Affenlight annoyed me, Owen Dunne delighted and amused me, and Mike Schwartz just about stole my heart. The Art of Fielding is SUCH a character-driven book, I couldn't help but love it. And my Book Club Bettys agreed: this one is a keeper!

Of course, book club is often more about getting together with friends, enjoying a delicious meal together and a glass of vino, and catching up on each other's lives than it is about the novel. But this time, at least for a little while, it was ALL about the book!

Stay tuned for our next book club selection: Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.

Goal number two...check!  Many happy returns,

Today's Gratitude List:
  • Lazy Sunday mornings
  • Trail mix
  • NPR podcasts
  • Phone calls with my best friend

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