A Fun Thing for You to Do

Has the physical exhaustion of the endless middle-class toil got you down? Are you desperate for another in a long string of trivial distractions to amuse you and distract you from the harsh reality of the unblinking void? Allow this ancient, unanimated daguerreotype to bring a moment of Good Feelings into your life, or at least some cognitive dissonance.

The game: attached below is a photograph of the northern half of the present author’s home library.

(Embiggenation is a necessity for this particular activity. Click to do so.)

Majestic, no? Note the grandeur of the Ikea bookshelves, all named Billy. Take in the couch, a bloated and gaseous corpse, purchased in the Watergate era. Cast your eyes toward the crown molding, lending a touch of Ionic superciliousness. Finally, bathe in the radiant light of the books, all purchased for between $0.99 to $3.00 at thrift stores and public library book sales.

Once you’re finished being struck by awe, let’s move forward to The Game.


The outlined section in the picture above houses the baseball books in my collection. The challenge: using the picture above, name as many of the books as possible that you can recognize, based on the spines. There are 65 books in total. A final hint: they are alphabetized by author.

Good luck to you! May you be diverted!

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Patrick Dubuque writes for NotGraphs and The Hardball Times, and he served as former Bill Spaceman Lee Visiting Professor for Baseball Exploration at Pitchers & Poets. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.

49 Responses to “A Fun Thing for You to Do”

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  1. Kyle says:

    That, my friends, is an MF’ing Home Library.

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  2. Aaron W. says:

    Joke if you may, but the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract shows up clearly. My question: is Al Stump’s book in the baseball section or is it with the other fiction?

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  3. David Wiers says:

    I can only tell with certainty that there is a Bill James Historical Abstract on the second highest shelf. Any guesses beyond that would be wild speculation.

    /plucks low hanging fruit

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  4. O! Holy Cow, the Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto.

    Baseball is a Funny Game – Joe Garagiola

    Weaver on Strategy – Earl Weaver

    The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

    The rest are all assorted Matt Christopher young adult novels.

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    • You wound me, sir. Mike Lupica all the way.

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    • the sauce says:

      Fun fact: I read Matt Christopher’s “Catcher with a Glass Arm” in first grade. Upon re-reading it in fifth grade, I learned that the first grade version of me didn’t understand metaphors all that well and that the catcher’s arm was not, in fact, made of glass.

      I experienced a similar problem reading “No Arm in Left Field” except it was made worse by the growing suspicion I had that Matt Christopher was recycling his plots. Those suspicions were confirmed when I read Christopher’s “The Third Baseman That Couldn’t Throw Well or Something” and “A Biography of Johnny Damon”.

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  5. Wil says:

    I do like how in the upper right of this picture there is a heavy tome precariously perched, ready to fall into the path of an unsuspecting reader and quite possibly render said reader unconscious.

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  6. Gene says:

    OK, that’s a chair, not a couch, first off. Second, may we assume you sit in that chair to read? And if so, do you read with those awful fluorescent-white overhead lights?

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  7. rcbuss says:

    Ball Four

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  8. MusialyAwesome says:

    Veeck – As in Wreck

    Boys of Summer

    Nine Innings


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  9. MIT says:

    I believe I can make out cardboard gods on the 5th shelf

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  10. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    Because rules are for breaking:

    – I’m a Stranger Here Myself, In a Sunburnt Country, Notes from a Small Island, Neither Here Nor There, Bill Bryson
    – Collapse, Jared Diamond
    – 1776, David McCullough
    – four volumes of The Onion
    – America: The Book, by the writers of the Daily Show
    – The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman
    – Doubt, Jennifer Hecht
    – Himalaya, Michael Palin

    …and because I am not completely useles…
    – the Library of America classic baseball writing anthology

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  11. The Return of Rambo Diaz says:

    Request: Jeremy Book surrounded by Patrick Dubuque’s Books.

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  12. jauche says:

    Shoeless Joe

    Baseball Between the Numbers

    The Buck O’Neil book by Posnanski. Sorry, my internet is broken and I can’t look up the title.

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  13. Greg says:

    I see an autographed copy of Jose Canseco’s “Juiced.”

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  14. Illinois glass M. Michael Sheets says:

    I spy The Book.

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  15. the sauce says:

    why u gotta call me out on cheating bro :(

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  16. Toasty says:

    I do believe I see a copy of “Baseball Between the Numbers.”

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  17. UncleCharlieVT says:

    Chess by laszlo polgar
    Basic chess endings by fine
    My 60 most memorable games by Fischer
    Two knights defense by flear (and too many Everyman opening tomes to name)
    Opening repertoire for black by Karpov
    My great predecessors by Kasparov vol. 3?

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    • The Everyman opening books were a gift from a friend, which I’ve yet to fully appreciate. Great predecessors would be volume 5.

      The chess section of the library might be the most expensive; hard to find those in thrift stores.

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  18. Bill says:

    Is that a series of books from the Loeb series in the upper left hand corner?

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  19. Now that a day has passed, I’ll attach a full-size photograph of the library for the curious. Enjoy:


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    • That wasn’t Michael Palin’s “Himalaya”! It was Michael Palin somewhere else. Where, and is it a good read?

      My collection lacks S.J. Perelman. Where should I start?

      Also, thank goodness you have a Dirk Hayhurst book.

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      • I’m ashamed to admit that

        1. My wife’s more of a travel reader than I am. The only Palin book I’ve read is his attempt at fiction, “Hemingway’s Chair”, which would best be described as “pleasant”.

        2. I haven’t actually gotten to reading Perelman yet, either. I will do so, once I wrap up a few of the ones I’m on.

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  20. I’m slow on the draw, but of those not yet named, I was able to pick out Baseball Hacks and Ichiro On Ichiro from their blurry spines.

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  21. l1ay says:

    Odd Man Out by Matt McCarthy near the middle of the 4th shelf.

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  22. JT says:

    I thought you were going to ask us to find more tetris pieces

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  23. twigman says:

    I cannot name a single baseball book from the first image; but I must say that I am slightly surprised that it appears to be only a small percentage of the whole. While I understand that you are truly an accomplished reader, I still would have expected more books on perhaps your favorite subject, baseball.

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