As part of our Best Books of 2011 coverage, our editors weigh in on some of their personal favorites from the list.
I’ve interviewed Chad Harbach for BookPage, written a What We’re Reading Wednesday post about The Art of Fielding, recommended the novel to all of my friends . . . What is there left to say? (Except: “Chad, it’s time for you to add me to your payroll!”)
The greatest perk of working for a book review is that I get access to a lot of wonderful books—review copies, recommendations by the dozen and I’m surrounded by people who are constantly encouraging me to read. I read about about a book a week, which is a lot less than many book bloggers—but enough that characters and storylines start to blur together, and at the end of the year, it’s not hard to determine which books are far and away my favorites. These are the books that stick with me.
The Art of Fielding is one of those books. There are several characters who go through immense struggles and transformations. There are three fully-developed love stories. There is a charming college campus, with a quirky, Moby Dick-related history. Yes, there is baseball (the greatest of all sports, in my humble opinion) . . . but it’s not really a book about baseball. Baseball is important to the central conflict and brings the characters together, but ultimately this book is about growing up and falling in love—with another person, with a place, with a part of your life.
I’ve said it countless times, and I’ll say it again this last time: Just read The Art of Fielding. You’ll thank me later.