A great book for rookie fans and veterans. You get the scoop on everything from types of pitches and catchers' signs to player superstitions and the o...moreA great book for rookie fans and veterans. You get the scoop on everything from types of pitches and catchers' signs to player superstitions and the origins of baseball traditions. The book is a great beginner's guide or refresher course. Even well-heeled fans are bound to learn a few things. (less)
I loved having Mary Karr read this to me (audiobook). Her voice captures the wit and sorrow that balance "Lit" beautifully. Alcoholism, depression, an...moreI loved having Mary Karr read this to me (audiobook). Her voice captures the wit and sorrow that balance "Lit" beautifully. Alcoholism, depression, and writing - they've become the trilogy of doom for so many talented writers. Karr shows us - without pity - how she got to such a dark place in her life, and her ascent toward recovery and a begrudging, but well-earned faith.
I love her candor, her cards-on-the-table confessional approach to her work and her demons, and how she had to reconcile her past (two alcoholic parents) to salvage her future (doing the best she could for her son in her efforts to recover).
I would imagine it would be easy to say that Karr spends too much time blaming her parents, or spelling out the details of her spiral into full-fledged addict, but to hear her read the story herself, the self-pity seems minimal, and the willingness to find the humor, and the humanity, in each misstep along her path, cut through. As much as I love Anne Lamott's writing - and the similarities between the two ladies are many - I find Karr to be the one who wallows less, and packs a more palpable punch.
I look forward to going back and reading "Liar's Club" next, the memoir with which I likely should've started. (less)
From Veracruz to certain death, 26 Mexican men try to find their way to a new life in America. Fourteen of them - dubbed "The Yuma 14" - never made it...moreFrom Veracruz to certain death, 26 Mexican men try to find their way to a new life in America. Fourteen of them - dubbed "The Yuma 14" - never made it. This is their story of hope, suffering and - for some - survival.
No matter what you believe politically about immigration - and make no mistake, these are 26 men trying to enter the U.S. illegally - this story is heartbreaking, beautifully told, and written with such an attention to experiential detail that I loved it for the language as much as for the compelling approach to the story.
It's brutal, it's populated with characters both noble and heartless, and it's told so well, I ordered a copy from Amazon to have, highlight, and read again - the DeKalb library wanted their copy back after six weeks, apparently.
This is a terrific - and horrific - book, and I want to read Urrea's "Across the Wire" next to learn more. What T.C. Boyle's "Tortilla Curtain" covered as a piece of fiction, and Bruce Springsteen captured on "Matamoros Banks" and "Across the Border" musically, Urrea captures here - and then some.(less)
Weighing in at 750 pages, I knew this book would have a Dickensian quality to it, with subplots emerging as the tale progressed. The main story is pai...moreWeighing in at 750 pages, I knew this book would have a Dickensian quality to it, with subplots emerging as the tale progressed. The main story is painful and wonderfully done. Once Lamb begins to commingle the main character's ancestry with the story, however, the book begins to meander from taut to sprawling.
For an epic that tries to weave the Columbine shootings, Hurricane Katrina, Civil War times, and generations of family history into one tale, I'd give Lamb an "A" for effort, and perhaps a "B" for execution.
As I told my wife, "You'd love the journey back to the secrets of his family's past, but hate the current day Columbine stuff". I was just the opposite - more interested in the aftermath of today's tragedies than unearthed familial history from generations before. So, on one hand, there's something for everyone; on the other, you might feel you're reading more stories than you bargained for.
Lamb, though, is a terrific writer, and I felt as swept away by his narrative and characters as I have by my favorite current writer, TC Boyle. So, I do recommend this book - just prepare yourself for Lamb's desire to throw every historical moment since slavery into the tale at some point. (less)