“If only every day were opening day.” – Mary Schmich
For those who have already set a countdown timer for MLB Opening Day 2019, these three books will affirm your love of the game, the off-kilter joys, the sorrows and the wonder of North America’s national pastime.
Baseball Life Advice by Stacey May Fowles (McClelland & Stewart): A “sharp, affecting meditation on the game and what its wins, walk-offs, losses, errors, injuries and (rarely) fights say about life.” This national-bestselling autobiographical collection of essays by novelist and editor Stacey May Fowles, is a reflection on the game of baseball and its therapeutic qualities. It’s also a necessary critique of the outdated appeal of macho retribution in sports and, finally, a vulnerable offering to girls and women who struggle to find a template through which to enjoy the game on their own terms.
Baseball: A Poem in the Magic Number 9 by George Bowering (Coach House Books): Originally published in 1967, this book-length poem weaves together mythology, autobiography, literary history and pop culture. Complete with green velvet-flocked covers, the book itself is shaped like a pennant that unfolds into a diamond. This book is swinging for the fences!
The Utility of Boredom by Andrew Forbes (Invisible Publishing): A collection of essays for ardent seamheads and casual baseball fans alike, The Utility of Boredom is a book about finding respite and comfort in the order, traditions, and rituals of baseball. Says Forbes, “In truth, in the height of summer when we begin to speak in terms of ‘races’ and ‘going down the stretch’ we are perfectly willing to be swallowed by [the game].”