December 11, 2015

Spring 2016: The Selling Of The Babe & My Father, The Pornographer

Two books I am looking forward to reading next spring:

The Selling of the Babe: The Deal That Changed Baseball and Created a Legend
By Glenn Stout
(Published by Thomas Dunne, March 8, 2016)

The complete story surrounding the most famous and significant player transaction in professional sports.

The sale of Babe Ruth by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees in 1919 is one of the pivotal moments in baseball history, changing the fortunes of two of baseball's most storied franchises, changing the game forever and helping to create the legend of the greatest player the game has ever known.

More than a simple transaction, the sale resulted in a deal that created the Yankee dynasty, turned Boston into an also-ran, sold the American people on the modern home run era after the Black Sox scandal and led the public to fall in love with Ruth. Award-winning baseball historian Glenn Stout reveals brand-new information about Babe and the unique political situation surrounding his sale, including:

- The political battle among baseball's elite that inspired the sale.

- How Prohibition and the lifting of Blue Laws in New York affected Yankees owner and beer baron Jacob Ruppert.

- Reveals how a shortage of quality wool due to World War One led to changes in the way baseballs were made that resulted in the inadvertent creation of the "lively" ball.

- Uncovers Ruth's disruptive influence on the Red Sox in 1918 and 1919, and uses sabermetrics to showing his negative impact on the team as he transitioned from pitcher to outfielder.

The Selling of Babe is the first book to focus on the ramifications of the sale and captures the central moment of Ruth's evolution from player to icon, and will appeal to fans of The Kid and Pinstripe Empire. Babe's sale to New York and the subsequent selling of Ruth to America led baseball from the Deadball Era and sparked a new era in the game, one revolved around the long ball and one man, The Babe.

My Father, the Pornographer (A Memoir)
By Chris Offutt
(Published by Simon & Schuster, February 9, 2016)

After inheriting 400 novels of pornography written by his father in the 1970s and '80s, critically acclaimed author Chris Offutt sets out to make sense of a complicated father-son relationship in this carefully observed, beautifully written memoir.

"Clearing Dad's office felt like prospecting within his brain. As I sorted, like an archaeologist, backward through time, I saw a remarkable mind at work, a life lived on its own terms."

When Andrew Offutt died, his son, Chris, inherited a desk, a rifle, and 1800 pounds of porn. Andrew had been considered the "king of twentieth century smut," a career that began as a strategy to pay for his son's orthodontic needs and soon took on a life of its own, peaking during the '70s when the commercial popularity of the erotic novel was at its height.

With his dutiful wife serving as typist, Andrew wrote from their home in the Kentucky hills, locked away in an office no one dared intrude upon. In this fashion he wrote 400 novels, ranging from pirate porn and ghost porn, to historical porn and time travel porn, to secret agent porn and zombie porn. The more he wrote, the more intense his ambition became, and the more difficult it was for his children to penetrate his world.

Over one long summer in his hometown, helping his mother move out of the house, Chris began to examine his deceased father's possessions and realized he finally had an opportunity to come to grips with the mercurial man he always feared but never understood. Offutt takes us on the journey with him, showing us how only in his father's absence could he truly make sense of the man and his legacy. This riveting, evocatively told memoir of a deeply complex father-son relationship proves again why the New York Times Book Review said, "Offutt's obvious kin are Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and Ernest Hemingway."
Earlier this year, the New York Times ran a fascinating feature on Offutt and his father's books.

1 comment:

laura k said...

Really nice covers on both books.