"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Every once in a while, someone will ask me why I carry a backpack. After all, I'm over thirty (though I don't generally look it--thanks for the genes, Mom!). The reason is twofold.

First, I usually take my lunch to work. I challenge any of you who believe that a professional woman should restrict herself to a purse to fit a frozen dinner, a Jello cup, a tangerine and a yogurt into a purse which already contains pens, pencils, sunscreen, chapstick, a PDA, a cellphone, an MP3 player, a journal and two books. Can't be done. (Well, not without a purse the size of a beach bag, and at that point, why NOT wear a backpack?)

The second reason, of course, is the books. I love books. I collect books. On any given day I have a stack of no less than two dozen unread books patiently awaiting my whim. Whenever I come home with a new book (approximately twice a week) my husband rolls his eyes, sighs loudly, and walks slowly away shaking his head, shoulders hunched in despair.

I "manage" the discrepancy between the staggering amount of stuff I want to read and the time I have available to read it by having three books going at a time: the bus book, the work book, and the home book.

The work book is read on breaks at work. The home book is read at home. The bus book is the book I read elsewhere--on the bus, waiting in lines or lobbies, and while walking. Reading while walking is a handy skill I developed in college, and nets me a good half-hour of extra reading time most days when the weather is nice. Of course, it goes without saying that any new Harry Potter book supercedes the three-book minimum and is the only book in the universe until it has been read. Twice.

Let's check the backpack and coffee table today...

The bus book at the moment is The Catcher by Rob Trucks. It's in the nature of research for me (I'm working on a novel starring a catcher), but I highly recommend it to any serious fan of the game. It's a short book written in an engaging, conversational style. It would make a great audio book, come to think of it.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis is the work book. I'm only ten pages into it, so I don't have much to say except that the preface was very interesting.

At home I'm reading In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillip. This is another one I've barely started, but I've read several other McKillip books and have never been disappointed. I find the adult fantasy market these days overcroweded with two kinds of stories: 600-page-long overpopulated, overcomplicated epics and supernatural softcore porn. Neither is to my taste, which is why I read young adult fantasy novels and the rare authors like McKillip who can spin a thoughtful, magical story with a reasonably-sized cast of characters.

On deck:

When I finish The Catcher, I'm moving on to Blood Rites by Jim Butcher, the sixth in the Harry Dresden series. This series is fast-paced, captivating and absolutely hysterical. Magic, supernatural creatures and rampant sarcasm are a brilliant combination. (The series starts with Storm Front.)

You Have the Power by Howard Dean has sat on my bookshelf since the week after the election. Now that the local political scene is starting to gear up for the mayoral, senatorial and gubernatorial races of 2006, it's time to wake up and get ready to pitch in. Wetterling for Senate, anyone?

Baked to Death by Dean James isn't out yet, but it's due next week and I've already pre-ordered my copy from Borders. I expect Moneyball will be briefly set aside so that I can immediately soak up the fourth adventure of Simon Kirby-Jones, that urbane and witty gay vampire from the American South, now "living" and solving mysteries in the cozy English village of Snupperton Mumsley. (The series began with Posted to Death.)

5 rejoinders:

frightwig sounded off...

A gay vampire detective, huh? Well, that certainly ups the ante.

Have you been interviewing catchers or other ballplayers for your book? Is it your first novel, or have you published before?

Third Base Line sounded off...

It's a great series. And it's just as campy and weird as you'd think!

Haven't interviewed anyone yet; been toying with ideas for how to get in touch with some of the appropriate folks. This is my first novel, so we'll see how it turns out. I'm having fun writing it, at least. :)

Fourth pew, center sounded off...

And a very good novel it is, too.
(I of course have absolutely no bias).

frightwig sounded off...

Is the character modeled after anyone we know?

Good luck. If you ever need another reader, I'll volunteer; and you can tell the publishing houses that between your mother, me, and probably Batgirl, you have a pre-sold market of at least three. :)

Third Base Line sounded off...

Funny you should ask, Frightwig...

It's a case of life imitating art: the character came to me about five years ago, but young Joe is resembling my Ricky more and more as time goes on. Actually, it's getting a litte creepy. I'm almost afraid to write about collisions at the plate these days. ;)