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The Dreyfus Affair by Peter Lefcourt

"You might as well kiss the Hall of Fame good-bye if this gets out. This isn't Pete Rose laying down a couple of bets. They'll crucify you for this."

Jacket text:

    Consider the possibilities: In the middle of a pennant race, a team's star shortstop falls in love with his second baseman. Which is exactly what happened to Randy Dreyfus, the best-hitting, best-fielding, best-looking, and most happily married young shortstop in the major leagues. The Dreyfus Affair combines romance, social satire, and some of the finest baseball writing in years. The result is a rollicking, provocative odyssey through one unforgettable World Series championship.

    "A hugely enjoyable romp through Major League Baseball that asks the question: 'Is America ready to accept a pennant winner whose shortstop is in thoroughly requited (and videotaped) love with his second baseman?'"
    —Boston Globe

    "An appealing, almost irresistible idea for a comic novel. In Lefcourt's deft hands, it becomes a thoroughly enjoyable send-up of professional baseball . . . pointed and poignant at the same time."
    —Los Angeles Times

    "The Dreyfus Affair should ease the pain for all the baseball fans who have watched the national pastime do its best to quench their love of the sport."
    —Wall Street Journal

    "The most glamorously upbeat book I've ever read."
    —Boston Sunday Herald

Hysterical, melodramatic, and thought-provoking, The Dreyfus Affair is a great summer read. This is the kind of book that's fun to curl up with and escape the real world for a bit.

Other bookweb baseball books: A False Spring, Shoeless Joe

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Microserfs by Douglas Coupland

"Abe has actually provoked Karla and me into deciding, *yes*. ...With start ups: you get a crap shoot at mega-equity but more importantly, it's true, you do get a chance to be 'One-Point-Oh.' To be the first to do the first version of something. We had to ask ourselves, 'Are you One-Point-Oh"?—the answer is what separates the Microserfs from the Cyberlords."

Jacket text:

    Microserfs: a hilarious, fanatically detailed, and oddly moving book about a handful of misfit Microsoft employees who realize that they don't have lives and subsequently became determined to get lives inside the lightning-paced world of high-tech 1990s' American geek culture.

    Amid a Seattle backdrop of software corporate cultishness ("B-B-B-B-Bill!") and the financial terror of San Francisco and Silicon Valley tech startups, the members of Coupland's quirky ensemble "stick a piece of dynamite inside themselves, like a cartoon cat, in the hopes that when they reassemble their exploded pieces they will be somebody different."

    Coupland gives readers an intimate, deadly accurate, and profoundly funny view of a way of life that is quickly becoming the dominant lifestyle: friends, family, and lovers falling through trapdoors of the new electronic order and becoming involved in an engaging, awkward scramble toward love and success in a brave new world.

    "What Coupland does brilliantly is give us a view from the inside by letting his characters talk until we feel like we're part of the group."
    PC Magazine

    "An accurate look at a thriving subculture."
    The Boston Globe

    "The novel's real fun is in the frequent and rapidly fired pop-culture references that span the 70s, 80s and 90s...and Coupland uses them with relish."
    Entertainment Weekly

This is a book no geek should be without: what's scary is how accurate it still is four years after it was written. The opening chapter appeared in Wired 2.01, the January '94 issue. For anyone highly amused by jokes about the Intel bug and musings on the solipsism and freaky workaholic overfocus that characterizes the geek lifestyle, this book will be one of the funniest things you've ever read.

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Sati by Christopher Pike

"I once knew this girl who thought she was God. She didn't give sight to the blind or raise the dead. She didn't even teach anything, not really, and she never told me anything I probably didn't already know. On the other hand, she didn't expect to be worshipped, nor did she ask for money. Given her high opinion of herself, some might call that a miracle. I don't know, maybe she was God. Her name was Sati and she had blond hair and blue eyes."

    No jacket text.

This novel takes a fairly simple, neat idea — what if God were a 20-year-old girl? — and goes from there. Its basic philosophy is the same vaguely New Agey theme that runs through quite a bit of Pike's young adult fiction (particularly the Remember Me trilogy), which is interestingly offbeat. Sati is a sweet story, and Pike is a wonderful storyteller, which makes the novel a memorable one. Whether or not you're a fan of Pike's YA novels (he's actually a much better and more imaginative writer than he usually gets credit for), this one is worth checking out.

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Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella

"That was all the instruction I ever received: two announcements and a vision of a baseball field."

Jacket text:

    The voice of a baseball announcer tells Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella: "If you build it, he will come." "He" is Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ray's hero. "It" is a baseball stadium, which Ray carves out of his cornfield.

    Shoeless Joe is about baseball. But it's also about love and the power of dreams to make people come alive. Will you be among the Iowa dreamers who can see a cornfield stadium filled with baseball's greatest heros?

    "Wild . . . Romantic . . . Unconventional . . . A triumph of hope."
    The Boston Globe

    "Startling original artistry . . . A mythical magical baseball novel whose tone lies somewhere between Ray Bradbury and the Twilight Zone . . . An aura permeates the story, creating an atmosphere in which anything seems possible."
    Philadelphia Inquirer

    "A lyrical, seductive, and altogether winning concoction."
    The New York Times Book Review

    "Fresh and believable . . . Baseball becomes a metaphor for religion, a symbol of the need to hold onto something, anything, in a faithless age . . . From the small details of memory, love, and family . . . to the larger themes, Kinsella has got it right."
    Miami Herald

    "A quirky, wonderful book, which is not so much about baseball as it is about dreams, magic, life, and what is quintessentially American . . . A work that will outlive this season and many more."
    Philadelphia Inquirer

This is the novel that the movie Field of Dreams was based on; naturally, the book is even better ;-) This one really does have a magical aura to it: Ray Kinsella's quest seems utterly believable, even when he's sitting in Fenway Park with J.D. Salinger munching a hot dog and listening to a disembodied voice no one else hears. Years after I first read it, this book remains one of my very favourites.

Other bookweb baseball books: The Dreyfus Affair, A False Spring

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

"Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed."

Jacket text:

    People who make their own rules when they know they're right . . . people who get a special pleasure out of doing something well (even if only for themselves) . . . people who know there's more to this whole living thing than meets the eye: they'll be with Jonathan Seagull all the way. Others may simply escape into a delightful adventure about freedom and flight. Either way it's an uncommon treat.

    "Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me Flight. He makes me Young. For both I am deeply grateful."
    —Ray Bradbury

    "This book is a new and valuable citizen in that very wondrous world ruled by St. Exupery's Little Prince. I suspect all of us who visit the worlds of Jonathan Seagull will never want to return."
    —Ernest K. Gann

This is one of those classics that's fun to reread often. It's also one of those books that truly works for all ages: adults will like it as much as children. And you'll never look at seagulls quite the same way .

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A Firing Offense by David Ignatius

"I've often thought that people who go into ordinary professions like business or law lack sufficient ambition. Even the most successful of my Stanford classmates have made this mistake. One man is now an investment banker in New York—already, at thirty-seven, the man to see about mergers and acquisitions in the movie business. I'm told he made close to $5 million last year. But he lacks ambition. He wants to be rich and powerful, to live well, to take care of his children. I decided to become a journalist because I wanted more than that."

    While in Paris, New York Mirror reporter Eric Truell lands the scoop of a lifetime. But when a maverick CIA agent starts leaking explosive, highly sensitive secrets to the savvy journalist, his career skyrockets. As his ties to the CIA deepen, Truell becomes tangled in a dark web of espionage and murder that spans from Washington to Beijing. Uncovering shattering truths in a realm of deceivers, and even more shocking lies in the world of journalism, Truell will make a perfect spy. And an even better victim . . .

What Grisham did for the courtroom Ignatius is doing for the newsroom. I read this in two days and did the classic staying-up-til-4am thing . It's also an awesome look at what working at a newspaper is like.