Reading List 2015

Somewhere along the way, I heard some great advice: To become a better writer, read more. … Of course, the catch-22 to this advice is when you start to write more, it takes up more of your precious time to read. I wrote a lot this year, resulting in my favorite addition to this list (see below.)

And while I’m incredibly proud of having a book with my own name on the front cover, the other titles on this list remind me of just how far I have to go to be a great writer. I hope to one day write something as powerful as TNC’s “Between the World and Me” — the most thought-provoking book I’ve read in a long time. When someone says read more (see above), this is the type of book they’re talking about.

I also particularly enjoyed Jon Krakauer’s thriller on murder in the Mormon church and “The Wild Party,” on recommendation from Art Spiegelman, who also illustrated it. Speaking of illustrations, I’ve always been a fan of Gary Cieradkowski’s original artwork and “The League of Outsider Baseball” was a masterpiece. I was less impressed with James Agee’s most famous work — great descriptive abilities, but he needed some serious editing — but I’m better for having read it.

Learned a ton from Andy McCue’s “Mover and Shaker,” a deserving winner of SABR’s Seymour Medal. Rob Fitts’ “Mashi” was also terrific, enhanced by the appearance of Masanori himself at the SABR convention in Chicago. Can’t believe it took me so long to read the first Armour/Levitt collaboration; their new one, “In Pursuit of Pennants,” is on my short list for next year. (I’m always so far behind …)

So, without further ado, here’s my 2015 reading list:

  • Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way (Mark Armour/Dan Levitt)
  • Mover and Shaker: Walter O’Malley, the Dodgers, and Baseball’s Westward Expansion (Andy McCue)
  • Eastland: Legacy of the Titanic (George W. Hilton)
  • Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present (Stuart Shea)
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (James Agee)
  • Under the Banner of Heaven (Jon Krakauer)
  • The League of Outsider Baseball (Gary Cieradkowski)
  • Tricksters in the Madhouse: Lakers vs. Globetrotters, 1948 (John Christgau)
  • Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami (Rob Fitts)
  • Bisbee ’17 (Robert Houston)
  • Adversity Is My Angel: The Life and Career of Raul H. Castro (Raul Castro)
  • Warren Ballpark (Mike Anderson)
  • Iron in Her Soul: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the American Left (Helen Camp)
  • Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates)
  • The Wild Party (Joseph Moncure March)
  • Thanks for Listening! (Jack Brickhouse)
  • The Betrayal (Charles Fountain)
  • The Making of Major League (Jonathan Knight)
  • Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty (Charles Leerhsen)

And finally … I’ve been waiting (and working) a long, long time to add this book to my reading list:

  • Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox (ed. Jacob Pomrenke)