This book promised to be a humorous, entertaining look at the national pastime, and the people that play Rotisserie Baseball.
I'm a sports fan (especia...moreThis book promised to be a humorous, entertaining look at the national pastime, and the people that play Rotisserie Baseball.
I'm a sports fan (especially baseball and football). I'm a geek. I've spent many hours managing my fantasy teams (thereby combining the "sports" and "geek" parts of my life). I've also been told that I am a humorous, entertaining writer. How come it didn't occur to me to write this book? I think I would've done a better job... and I don't think I'm better than anyone at anything. The fact that author Sam Walker's regular day job is columnist for the Wall Street Journal should've been a warning for the boredom ahead.
I was hoping for more stories about the players (both MLB and fantasy), observations of their individual mindsets, and what makes the way we are. How about some pop culture references, ala Dennis Miller or Bill Simmons? I mean you can't go wrong with a line like "The name of Twins first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz is harder than Peter North on the set of Pump Friction". Ok, maybe that isn't my best line ever... it's just an example. By the way, the name Mientkiewicz is pronounced Men-Kay-Vich (I think).
While there are many entertaining anecdotes scattered throughout the book, there are also too many breakdowns of obscure stats, confusing math, and tired sports cliches. By the time I realized I wasn't getting the kick out my reading time that I'd hoped it was too late. I still wanted to know who won, and how they did it. In a way it was like the last Indiana Jones movie... not as much fun as I'd expected, but just enough twists to keep me mildly interested in the outcome.
Now I'm thinking I should start working on a comical diary of my upcoming Fantasy Football season before someone else does... I just wish I wasn't so f'ing lazy. (less)
Pulitzer Prize winning humorist Dave Barry, best selling mystery writer Ridley Pearson, and illustrator Greg Call have combined their talents to creat...morePulitzer Prize winning humorist Dave Barry, best selling mystery writer Ridley Pearson, and illustrator Greg Call have combined their talents to create a series of prequels to the J.M. Barrie classic Peter Pan. This is the first of those stories.
Let me start my little review by saying that this book is so fun, exciting, and enjoyable that I have completely forgotten (almost) the creepy feeling I felt as a 42 year old man wandering around the children's section of the library looking for it.
Yes it's a children's book, make fun of me if you want, but it's not like I was breathlessly turning the pages to find out what would happen if Grover encountered a monster at the end of the book. At over 450 pages it follows the trend set by the Harry Potter books.... The story is equally satisfying for both kids and adults that grew up with these legendary characters, and thick enough that kids can do serious damage to the child predators that lurking around every corner (at least according to NBC's "Dateline"). The type is a little larger for the younger readers, but not so big that adults will be embarrassed.
Have you ever wondered... How an orphan from England learned to fly, never grow old, make his home on a deserted island, and become everybody's favorite peanut butter pitchman?
How the most feared ambidextrous pirate on the high seas became the infamous embodiment of one handed evil (second only to the drummer for Def Leppard).
How that annoying little fairy wound up living on Neverland? I mean Tinkerbell, not Michael Jackson.
All these questions are answered, and more.
Seriously, this is an excellent book, and I will definitely be slinking my way back to that room in the library with the little tables and chairs so that I can continue following the adventures of Peter and his cohorts. (less)
In the future I'm planning on writing a full fledged diatribe about this mess, but until I get the chance I'll summarize it with three short words.......moreIn the future I'm planning on writing a full fledged diatribe about this mess, but until I get the chance I'll summarize it with three short words....
Worst Book Ever. (How obvious was that? I guess I'm a hack.)(less)
I really enjoyed this book, probably a little more than my 3 star review indicates, but there is one big negative (in my opinion)that bugged me a lot....moreI really enjoyed this book, probably a little more than my 3 star review indicates, but there is one big negative (in my opinion)that bugged me a lot.
I'll tell you the negative in a minute, but first I want to explain the premise of the book, and also mention some positives.
This is the story of The Rock Bottom Remainders, a band made up of a dozen or so best selling authors including Stephen King, Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Greil Marcus, and many others. The book chronicles their formation for a "one-time-only" gig, and the subsequent 10 day tour that followed. Each of the writers in the band take a turn writing a chapter to tell the stories of what happened on the tour bus, and in the clubs they played during that 2 week period traveling the east coast.
The positives: Lots of great anecdotes, mostly funny, but sometimes serious, from some of the best storytellers in America. These stories don't always have to do with the band, but rather personal recollections of past events in their lives, and how they relate to why they are in the RBR's. These were my favorites:
King battling a stomach ailment an hour before showtime reminds him of the time he almost drown as a child.
Amy Tan, as a teenager, trying to find ways to rebel against her strict Chinese parents.
Dave Barry hilariously telling the story of the ups and downs of his college band, Federal Duck.
Most touching was Dave Marsh telling the story of his daughter Kristen, who died of a rare cancer in her early 20's. and how the band helped him get through the despair.
That's just a few, but there are lots of others that are equally as interesting.
So what could be wrong with this book you ask...
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Did I say repetition?
Each of the authors try to add their own touches and style to the anecdotes, but after a while hearing the same stories over and over again got to be a bit boring for me, including:
How publicist Kathi Goldmark formed the band.
The frustration, but ultimate respect, of music director/band leader Al Kooper.
Amy Tan's dominatrix outfit while she sang "These Boots Are Made For Walking".
The legal issues surrounding the Dave Barry/Stephen King version of the 50's teen tragedy classic "Tell Laura I Love Her"
Dave Marsh's nightly cross dressing.
... and many more
These tales of the road were humorous the first couple of times they were told, but after the fourth, seventh, or tenth times it was too much.
On the other hand, I'm a factory worker living in a little apartment with my pet cat, so who am I to criticize anything these superstars of literature do? If you want to read it don't let anything I say stop you. I'm sure you'll love it. (less)
Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield is one of my favorite writers. In the magazine he uses snarky humor and obscure pop culture references to commen...moreRolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield is one of my favorite writers. In the magazine he uses snarky humor and obscure pop culture references to comment on current entertainment, and if you know me you know that's my dream job. You may have also seen him on VH1 "I Love The ..." shows.
This book takes that sense of humor and turns it on it's ear, adding heartwarming memories and heartbreaking loss as he tells the story of his life, and his one true love, through his love of the music and mix tapes that have been a major part of everything he has done.
I can't imagine how I identify with a shy, geeky, loner looking for love with the use of music, writing, and an offbeat sense of humor. (less)