Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Art of Fielding

For those who don't know: 1) Round Rock is a suburb just north of Austin, 2) Round Rock is home to the Round Rock Express, a minor league baseball team affiliated with the Texas Rangers, and 3) I love baseball. I've always wanted to go to a game, but never made it out there until Saturday. The Express were playing the Sacramento River Cats, who are affiliated with my beloved San Francisco Giants, so I bought a ticket and drove the forty minutes to Might As Well Be Canada to watch some baseball.

I spent nearly thirty dollars on food and sat in direct, blazing sunlight for most of the game, but it was so worth it. Sacramento won, I got to see Hunter Pence (!!!) play, and the fans were let onto the outfield for a Bob Schneider concert after the game. It was all very #summer. If you're in the area and like baseball even a little bit, you should definitely catch a game this summer.

A day of baseball had me thinking back to The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, the second book we read for the book club I host at West Elm Austin and my favorite choice so far. I had heard the buzz surrounding the novel when it was released a few years ago, but brushed it off as a "sports book" and that wasn't really my jam. But it totally is my jam, guys.

The story takes place at fictional Westish College and centers around Henry Skrimshander, a prodigy for all intents and purposes, who seems to be headed straight for the big leagues until a routine play goes horribly wrong. Westish's president Guert Affenlight falls in love despite himself, while his daughter returns home after leaving her husband. Mike Schwartz, Henry's mentor, struggles with the idea of life after college, and his and Henry's teammate Owen Dunne enters into a risky affair. So, as you can tell, it's a book about baseball that's not really about baseball.

One of the most pleasing aspects of this book was the seemingly effortless transitions. Harbach moves from viewpoint to viewpoint, often several times within one chapter, but he does so so skillfully that you never stumble while reading. Each character has a distinct voice, and you find yourself rooting for all of them, which makes it that much harder to put down once you pick it up.


P.S. The Voyage Out Book Club at BookPeople will be meeting to discuss The Art of Fielding on July 31st at 5 PM! I'll be there!


Lizzie said...

I always wondered what this book was like so thanks for the glimpse :)

Also all your book clubbing makes me nostalglic for my high school days...

Dillon said...

1) Your evening sounds amazing and 2) I really, really enjoyed that book!

lina said...

ah! the sacramento river cats!!! love love love.

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