Reading List 2013

Starting with “The Celebrant” in July, my reading list went on a Johan Santana-esque second-half run. Just about every book I picked up turned out to be tremendous, and it’s hard to narrow down my favorites during that stretch.

If I had to pick just one to recommend, it’d be “Baseball’s Great Experiment” by the equally great Jules Tygiel, who I was fortunate enough to correspond with through SABR circles for a few years before his death. Rachel Maddow’s “Drift” was an eye-opening look at America’s war-industrial complex, and “Monuments Men” was one of the rare World War II stories that I’d never heard before. (Can’t wait for the George Clooney film coming out in February!)

From the early part of the year, I learned more from Nate Silver’s dense but brilliant “The Signal and the Noise” than any book I’ve read in a long time. Rob Fitts’ “Banzai Babe Ruth” was deserving of all its praise. I will always be biased toward my friend Bill Lamb’s fantastic work, but “Black Sox in the Coutroom” is a must-read; it clears up so much confusion about the Black Sox Scandal legal proceedings.

Alas, I was disappointed in Dennis Lehane’s “Live By Night,” his follow-up to “The Given Day” (one of my all-time favorite novels). If you’re already a Tim O’Brien fan, “Northern Lights” pays off in the end; but it took quite a while to get there. And I didn’t even finish Michael Chabon’s “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union;” it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my 2013 reading list:

  • Mystic River (Dennis Lehane)
  • The Signal and the Noise (Nate Silver)
  • Live By Night (Dennis Lehane)
  • American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee (Karen Abbott)
  • Death on the Black Sea: The Untold Story of the Struma and World War II’s Holocaust at Sea (Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins)
  • Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage and Assassination During the 1934 Tour of Japan (Rob Fitts)
  • Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship (John Baldwin and Ron Powers)
  • Black Sox In The Courtroom (Bill Lamb)
  • Baseball Comes Out (Jack Saunders)
  • The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Northern Lights (Tim O’Brien)
  • The First Lady of Fleet Street: Rachel Beer, Crusading Heiress and Newspaper Pioneer (Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev)
  • Watergate: A Novel (Thomas Mallon)
  • The Celebrant (Eric Rolfe Greenberg)
  • Inventing Baseball: The 100 Greatest Games of the 19th Century (Bill Felber, ed.)
  • Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip (Matthew Algeo)
  • Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy (Jules Tygiel)
  • Drift (Rachel Maddow)
  • The Man Who Never Died: Joe Hill (William Adler)
  • City of Scoundrels: The 12 Days of Disaster That Gave Birth to Modern Chicago (Gary Krist)
  • Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (Robert Edsel)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (Michael Chabon) — didn’t finish
  • Pretty Bubbles in the Air: America in 1919 (William Miller)