I am the author of this book and hope you enjoy it. Feel free to provide feedback on Good Reads, Amazon or directly to me at email@example.comI am the author of this book and hope you enjoy it. Feel free to provide feedback on Good Reads, Amazon or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ...more
This book is as much about business as it is about baseball, and Michael Lewis' writing is both informative, scathing and gripping. He explains the exThis book is as much about business as it is about baseball, and Michael Lewis' writing is both informative, scathing and gripping. He explains the exceptionally complex set of baseball metrics with ease and grace. As Bill James says, there is a langage to baseball stats; Lewis has it mastered. He translates important statistics such as on base percentage, with simple, yet powerful examples. While the majority of the writing is about baseball, an recurring theme is business--running as an undercurrent because the Oakland A's don't have the financial resources to compete with teams that have three or four times the budget. As such, the A's have determined how to identify undervalued players, acquire them and then manage the team according to a core set of metrics that really matter.
Lewis' writing is masterful. In one scene he provides a great example of Scott Hatteberg's value as a finicy hitter. He portrays a "new baseball" scene when Hatteberg (a remarkably selective and hence effective hitter with a high on-base percentage) faces an equally effective pitcher, Jamie Moyer, who strikes out batters by controlling the strike zone. During the fourth at bat for Hatteberg, the clash of these titans was memorable and laughable. After six pitches, Moyer steps off the mound, frustrated because he usually retires the game's best hitters with few throws. He says, "Just tell me what you want." The typically talkative Hatteberg shrugs but doesn't say a word. Moments later he lines the ball back to Moyer for an out. The contest between the two ended badly for Hatteberg, but throughout the season, he is among the most successful batters in the entire league. See page 184 for details. His success is an example of the long-run statistical outcomes that allow the A's to win enough games to make it the playoffs.
Lewis also shows his flare for writing quality lines. Here's my favorite. Hatteberg hits a walk off homerun to set a league record (20 wins in a row for the A's) and Lewis writes, "As he runs, he sheds years at the rate of about one every twenty feet. By the time he touches home plate, he's less man than boy."
This book is a fabulous read. I suggest watching the movie first, so you will know the story, yet get to enjoy the writing, additional informaiton that is not in the film, and the major and minor differences from the film as you read.
Cathcing Fire is a solid follow up to The Hunger Games. The content still focuses on a dystopic society, a paranoid and heavy-handed, big-brother goveCathcing Fire is a solid follow up to The Hunger Games. The content still focuses on a dystopic society, a paranoid and heavy-handed, big-brother government and a small number of "true to themselves" characters that unwittingly bring change to their world through small rebellious acts that are magnified by the power of media. The pace continues to be fast and is usually driven by the twist or surprise that awaits at the end of almost every chapter. A few drawbacks are evident: the relationship between Katiss and Peeta is contrived and forced--even more so than it should be; there is too little information about the rebellion to make it seem believable; Katniss' train of thought and logic, especially in the penultimate chapter, begins to grate--though the outcome was unknown while reading, this reader sensed that her conclusions were wrong. Despite these drawbacks, there are some great moments--introduction of new characters (Finnick and Johanna, Nuts & Volts) and threats in the arena (JabberJays, monkeys and the clock); shooting the arrow through the forcefield; the separation of Katniss and Peeta. The best fictive moment is when Katniss rakes Haymitch's face with her nails--a perfect moment--powerful, shocking, deserved and true to the heart of the character. I look forward to a quick read and a conclusion in the third book....more
Hunger Games is a solid action adventure for teens. Katniss is a strong character with typical teen struggles--piled on top of the conflict of the HunHunger Games is a solid action adventure for teens. Katniss is a strong character with typical teen struggles--piled on top of the conflict of the Hunger Games. The plot is uni-dimensional and linear but enhanced by some nice twists, a few surprises and good pacing. The quality of the writing is above average and easy to read. My only disappointment the lack of memorable quotes. The one that sticks out for me (as outstanding) is on page 293. Katniss says, "Besides, its the first gift that's always the hardest to pay back."
I'm looking forward to reading the second and third books, but I don't feel compelled to pick them up today or even this weekend. ...more
Arms and the Man is a play in three acts. It is comparable to Shakespeare's comedies, Comedy of Errors, Twelveth Night, and Mid-Summer Night' Dream, iArms and the Man is a play in three acts. It is comparable to Shakespeare's comedies, Comedy of Errors, Twelveth Night, and Mid-Summer Night' Dream, in that society's rules for courting have the characters confused until a voice of reason (The Man--Bluntschli, a hired soldier from neutral Switzerland) returns. He adeptly uncovers their lies and reveals where each character's true heart lies. Because of its brevity and the modern lanugage (compared to the Bard), this script is much easier read then the aforementioned plays. Like Pygmalion, Shaw sets the tone for modern romantic comedy on stage and screen....more
Let me admit on the front end, I'm a Hemingway fan. That being said,I read this as a teen and didn't understand much of it then. I thought its was jusLet me admit on the front end, I'm a Hemingway fan. That being said,I read this as a teen and didn't understand much of it then. I thought its was just a book about ex-pats and bull-fights.
Having re-read it this month, this is now one of my favorites by Hem. The plot is simple yet powerful, and the emotion he evokes with his minimalist style is amazing. Here are my thoughts in detail:
You cannot understand Hemingway until you have lived.
When you’re young, he’s a fast read. The words flow easily and you don’t have to pick up a dictionary like you do with Fitzgerald--unless of course you want to translate the Spanish or French or Italian in the dialog. But the meaning, the feeling, the pain, the emotion are so subtle and understated—often unstated. Until you have lived and know what could, or should, happen in a scene, it is nearly impossible to appreciate what really is happening—to appreciate what is being said with so few words.
The beauty of art is that we fill in the gaps. We take the stories of other people’s lives and overlay them upon our own. We feel their pain because the situations are similar to those we've lived. Few men have suffered Jake’s wound, but almost every many has felt his suffering, the jealousy, the need to be close to a woman you love and who loves you, but circumstances prevent you from fully realizing it. We can empathize. We feel the pain for Jake.
Jake’s injury is tragic. On page 31 an Italian leader declares, “Che mala fortuna! Che mala fortuna!” The injury raises the question, “Why live when you have this injury? What is a man’s purpose in life when he can’t consume and procreate?” Add Jake to the world of the lost generation that essentially has no purpose in general, and his misfortune represents the future of the generation—aimless and bleak. Add Lady Brett Ashley to the mix and the tragedy comes to life. Who is Brett? Only the most attractive woman bar none and most sexually liberated character in the book.
Hemingway’s minimalism is powerful even with something as simple as a kiss. In one scene it is very early in the morning and Brett is terribly drunk. She has badgered the concierge into letting her into Jake's apartment building to see him. She begs Jake to come out with her (and another man) to continue drinking. She is truly in love with Jake, but knows they can never truly be together. Why else would she show up with another man and then kiss Jake? On page 34, Jake narrates, “We kissed goodnight and Brett shivered.” After bit of dialog, he continues, “We kissed again on the stairs.”
There is no explicit dialog about how they kissed—just the kiss. The first kiss is not enough so they kiss again on the steps. Here’s where living comes into play. One kiss is never enough, especially when it is the person you love. We know that Brett should stay--that their passion should be consummated, and in Hemingway fashion, consummated to the greatest extent of exhaustion. But that is not what happens. There is a kiss. Then another. Then Brett leaves. She leaves. That is pain. That is Hemingway. Jake states, “This was Brett, that I had felt like crying about…It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.” Again, for those who have lived, we know that Jake spent the rest of the night in a tortured wrestling match with his mind.
Jake’s injury is tragic yet fictive. It is a vehicle for conveying an internal mental conflict about the barriers that cannot be resolved. And in that fictive aspect, we can compare it to other aspects of life. The pain could be the loss of a first love. It could be the passing of a child or a love that can never be realized due to distance or marriage or time.
There are many great scenes in the book. The best is probably the steers calming the bulls in the arena. While it is marvelously descriptive, it serves as a metaphor for Jake as a steer among all the bulls that are courting Brett. And of course there are the fishing scenes when Jake and Bill get back to nature and feel refreshed before running head-long into the drama of Brett and her men during the fiesta. But Hemingway’s gift to us is the lean dialog where one thing is said but another thing is conveyed. “Did you joke him? Have you joked him before?” The double meanings, the irony and the lies come through with such simple, yet effective statements.
The book ends with Brett and Jake in a cab. Brett says, “Oh, Jake we could have had such a damned good time together.” And then there is a paragraph with three simple lines…”Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.” Without a baton, Jake can’t make it a good time, so he says, “Yes, isn’t it pretty to think so.” ...more