Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide three weeks after the 2005 Super Bowl, titling his note “Football Season is Over.” Not to get too dramatic, but I get that feeling of general malaise that creeps in after the end of a sports season. It’s been a little over one week since St. Louie won the World Series, and I must admit I’m already growing restless. No NBA isn’t helping, and surprisingly neither is the start of the Australian Baseball League. That leaves one place to find immediate salvation – To the library!
What I’m proposing is a NotGraphs bookclub, but not really, because that would be too much work. So what I’m really proposing are a few books that I would recommend to this fake bookclub if it actually did ever exist.
The now famous Jonah Keri posted a list of great baseball books many moons ago on NotGraphs, and it is pretty great and a good a place as any to start building your personal baseball library. My only problem with it, however, is its lack of good fiction books (he includes just one, the albeit fantastic The Iowa Baseball Confederacy) – this list, while not as long, thorough, or as well hyper-linked, is an attempt to rectify this very, very minor literary injustice. And that’s my preamble.
Book #1 – The Great American Novel, Philip Roth. A long, well-written joke about our national pastime. Read this in spurts, or just re-read his best book, the novella Goodbye, Columbus, and call it a day.
Book #2 – The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop., Robert Coover. A weird book by a weird writer, the plot follows the titular Henry Waugh and his devotion to a fictional baseball league he creates and plays by himself.
Book #3 – The Natural, Bernard Malamud. The best ever. Better than the movie. If you haven’t read it, do it today.
More to come at some point, probably.