My usual preference for casual reading is a good legal thriller written by authors like Michael Connelly or John Grisham – but I’m always looking for a good baseball read. Here are four selections that I found to be not only entertaining but revealing about the game and the men who have played it.
The very first book I read about baseball occurred during my teenage years. I remember that it opened my eyes to a side of baseball few were aware of and certainly no one was writing about. Jim Brosnan’s The Long Season not only was a smash hit for a pedestrian relief pitcher but a vanguard approach to baseball writing later exploited by Jim Bouton and others. A easy quick and entertaining read.
The other three books are a bit deeper but are equally as entertaining. Two of these are written by Jane Leavy, both are exhaustively researched and offer an intriguing look into two enigmatic baseball personalities – Mickey Mantle (left) and Sandy Koufax (right). Reviews of each book by The New York Times are here: Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle.
Perhaps the most disturbing but equally entertaining entry comes from Richard Ben Cramer and his definitive biography of another baseball icon – Joe DiMaggio. What makes the book better than your normal biography though is how Cramer brings the reader directly into the times and culture of DiMaggio’s era. Here’s the N.Y. Times review.
Finally, to read these (or any other) book……..think about giving the free app Overdrive a close look. You can link directly to your local library and download a book to your mobile device……..it works and it’s free. Download info Here.