Margaret Sullivan's Reviews > Vanity Fair's How a Book is Born: The Making of The Art of Fielding

Vanity Fair's How a Book is Born by Keith Gessen
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

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Read from November 30 to December 05, 2011

An enjoyable and interesting look at modern book publishing, how a book--in this case The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach--is acquired and publicized and marketed, and what the author and publishers do in their collaboration. Though it should be pointed out for you aspiring authors out there, this is not what you should expect if you aspire to write genre. This is the treatment that only a super-special literary novel gets, because they are super special.

It's not a full book, of course, but really a long feature article.

I have to say I didn't appreciate the author's comments about Women Won't Read Baseball Books. Untrue; I have read many myself; I had many years' start on the author, having entered on my studies at Oxford while he was a good little boy working his sampler at home (a reference to another book, by a woman, that is not really a baseball book). Shoeless Joe, The Natural, Ball Four, Moneyball, the list goes on. I've even read that oddment The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. by Robert Coover (which might, like the book under discussion, also be claimed to be Not Really A Baseball Book). I have downloaded the sample of The Art of Fielding to my Nook, and if I like it will buy and read it, though it's not really a baseball book. I know many women who love baseball and would happily read a baseball book. At Thanksgiving, I showed several titles of baseball books on my Nook to my sister, who wrote down the titles so she could find them. I'm belaboring the point, which is--women do indeed read baseball books. So stop that right now. Don't make me show you my Cluebat; it is no longer metaphorical.

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