Monday, March 5, 2018

Circus + Baseball + Coming of Age + SciFi = These Reads

One problem with all these book posts is I run out of creative ways to start these. So, again, here's some books I read.

Bottom Of The 33rd: Hope, Redemption and Baseball's Longest Game by Dan Barry is so incredibly well-written. It's a nonfiction read, and yes, there is in fact a real life baseball game that once went 33 innings! This is a trek back through that game in 1981 between the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings, but y'all it's so much more. The author dives into the stories of the players (which includes two guys you may have heard of - Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr), as well as the fans that were in attendance. Minor league baseball is a fascinating place, and this is such a thorough and beautiful examination. I've read a lot of sports books through the years, and this is one of the best. This has been on my list for some time, and I'm so glad I finally found it at Powell's, so I could have the experience of reading this in my life.

Read this book if - You love a good sports read. You're a baseball fan. You love books that involve a variety of stories about a variety of people.

The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor was an advanced reader's copy I received. It's a middle grade read (so 3rd through 5th grade, I guess?) and I think that was one of my struggles with this one. I tried to imagine how the elementary school version of me would react for this one. I liked it well enough, and I think I would have felt the same way as a kid. It's the classic story of a lovable kid who struggles with the social hierarchy of childhood. He's lost a friend, and he makes a new one along the way, as he is trying to navigate bullying, relentless questions about what really happened to his friend (which is the big *gasp* at the end), continuing to navigate grief, and just all that being a kid brings with it.

Read this book if - You are a fan of the middle grade genre and/or a middle grader who also apparently reads blogs of thirtysomethings that offer book reviews?

The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman was this month's selection for my online book club. I hadn't heard of this one before diving in, and wow, y'all, this one got me. It's an emotional read, but it's so wonderful. It's a read that alternates between narrators in two different times. There's the story of Lilly in 1931, a little girl who's never really left her home, and then one night, her mother sells her to the circus. Then, there's Julia who is navigating life in 1955. She's left her toxic home life, is struggling to get by, and then she gets some news that takes her back to her childhood home. The stories run separately, but as you go, some common threads start to appear. I am also particularly captivated by stories of the circus, so this one really got me. I do offer the disclaimer that when I say emotion there is some tragedy involved, but so worth feeling those feels.

Read this book if - You like historical fiction. You like a book that has a bit of a mystery in its plot. You share my fascination with the world of the circus.

A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel was obviously one I read because of the movie. I opted for the graphic novel because I hadn't read one in awhile, and I thought this was be a good opportunity to do that. After reading, I could see why people are so captivated by the story. And y'all, it is going to be so visually stunning. There is so much dimension to the story (both literally and figuratively, I guess). I really am glad I took the time to get to know the source material before checking out the real deal soon-ish. Movie aside, the graphic novel was really well done. At some point, I want to go and read the full novel just to compare, but I felt like this was a really strong retelling with an added visual element that made the story come to life even more for someone (me) who was reading this for the first time.

Read this book if - You plan on seeing the movie and want to have the background of the original material. You've already seen the movie and want to see where it all began. You have no idea if/when you'll see the movie, but you like a good sci-fi read.