As I have mentioned on multiple occasions, I love baseball and I love history.  Specifically, I love Dodgers baseball and I love American history.  So I could not wait to read Peter Golenbock’s Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

This particular work did not disappoint.  I have read several books on the Dodgers – one being on their exodus from Brooklyn and another a oral history from the Los Angeles era (not to mention several on the specific players).  This one was not necessarily my favorite – but absolutely one of the more entertaining.

One of the facets of the book that I found the most interesting was the tie between the team and the neighborhood.  The author explains what led the owner to want to move and what that particular decision did to the community.  I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the fan-base to wait so long for their beloved Bums to finally win a Series . . . only to pack up and leave for the West Coast one season later.

On a lighter note, there is a chapter that aims to describe the culture in that day – namely for the children who grew up playing stick ball in the streets, listening to the games on the radio, and selling soda bottles for tickets.  Interestingly enough, it might have been the rise of the automobile and popularity of the television which contributed to the decline of baseball in America?

Check out the book and let me know what you think.


Killing Floor…

Mitch Rapp and Scot Harveth have always made the perfect vacation reads.  But what do you do when you are all caught up on an entire series?  You find another hero.  After much research and many recommendations, I thought that I should give Lee Child’s Jack Reacher a try.  I was not to be disappointed.

I know I am very late to this party . . . but Reacher does have to be (one book in, mind you) the most intriguing of reoccurring characters in a thriller (thus far).  There is just something that sets him a part.  He does not work for a major counter-terrorism organization.  He doesn’t make that many mistakes.  He is absolutely not the underdog.  He is just very different that most.  The stories are simple and yet mysterious.  

My favorite quote from Killing Floor was when Reacher proposed, “Evaluate. Long experience had taught me to evaluate and assess. When the unexpected gets dumped on you, don’t waste time. Don’t figure out how or why it happened. Don’t recriminate. Don’t figure out whose fault it is. Don’t work out how to avoid the same mistake next time. All of that you do later. If you survive.” 

A few words of caution . . . The Reacher in the novels is nothing like the Reacher on the big screen. And that is a good thing.  I actually enjoyed the Tom Cruise movie – but his portrayal resembles very little to Child’s creation. Second, a disappointing aspect to the franchise is that the stories do not really overlap too much . . . they really are not one congruent narrative.  I wish they were.  I will read them in order – but my guess is that you do not have to.  

Regardless, I can’t wait to pick up the sequel.  

Killing Floor…

Keep Your Love On…

I just finished reading Danny Silk’s Keep Your Love On! which addresses relationship issues such as connection, communication, and boundaries.

My favorite chapter was titled “Communicating in Conflict”.  The author proposes the following:

  • Our first goal in a conversation is to understand one another.
  • My thoughts, feelings, and needs are valuable and important, and so are yours.
  • I do not participate in disrespectful conversations  Until respect is restored, I will not participate.
  • We need to communicate our true feelings and needs to establish trust and intimacy.
  • It’s my job to tell you what is going on inside of me, and your job to tell me what’s going on inside of you.
  • The best way to communicate my feelings and needs to you is to use “I messages” and clear, specific statements that show what I am feeling and experiencing.
  • I will not make judgment statements or tell you how you must change in order to meet my needs.
  • When you communicate your needs to me, it is my job to listen well so I can understand what you need, how my life is affecting you, and what I can do to meet your needs (108).
Great resource for marriage.  Check the book out and let me know what you think.


Keep Your Love On…

The Tale of Despereaux…

Our family completed yet another Newbery Medal Award Winner in Kate Dicamillo’s Tale of Despereaux (her second such award in just ten years, by the way).      

I have updated my rankings accordingly.  Like I have mentioned many times before, the following list does not include the works that did not happen to make the list of award winners (but that we still enjoyed together) such as the seven books included in The Chronicles of NarniaHatchet (an honor recipient), and The Hobbit.

Here is the list to date (along with my respective reviews):

  1. The One and Only Ivan (2013)
  2. The Tale of Despereax (2004)
  3. Bridge to Terabithia (1978) 
  4. Dead End in Norvelt (2012)
  5. Kira-Kira (2005)
  6. Shiloh (1992)
  7. Flora & Ulysses (2014)
  8. When You Reach Me (2010)
  9. Holes (1990)
  10. A Wrinkle in Time (1963)
  11. The Higher Power of Lucky (2007)
  12. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! (2008)
  13. The Graveyard Book (2009)
  14. Moon Over Manifest (2011)
  15. Criss Cross (2006)
My favorite quote from this book was when the narrator proposes, “But still, here are the words Despereaux Tilling spoke to his father. He said, ‘I forgive you, Pa!’ And he said those words because he sensed that it was the only way to save his heart, to stop it from breaking in two. Despereaux, reader, spoke those words to save himself.” 
Honestly, one of the best.  Even more humorous than Flora (and far less “silly”).  I loved the moments when the narrator stepped back fro the story to share insightful thoughts with (or to prod observations from) the reader.  With the exception of Ivan, I cannot think of another Newbery Book that more quotable content.  Maybe, for some reason, talking animals resonate with me? 
As far as our next selection, let’s hope that our recent fortune continues with Crispin: The Cross of Lead.  Has anyone read this book.  Any thoughts? 
The Tale of Despereaux…