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The Betrayal

Baseball. History. Scandal. Crime. Chicago. That’s like Christmas, my birthday, and everything good wrapped into one for me and just in time to watch my team duke it out with the Royals in the World Series.

Charles Fountain takes a big swing at separating the fact from gossip, what little can be known for sure and what has passed into legend, and while I don’t think that anyone is ever going to be able to put this game to bed, he makes a great slide into home.

Too many baseball metaphors? I’ve got more….many, many more.

Rumors were rampant that the fix was in even before Eddie Cicotte took the mound in 1919 for the White Sox against the Cincinnati Reds. However, the bigwigs of organized baseball didn’t want to hear it, it would have made America’s Pastime look bad to even check out the rumors. Journalists talked about it amongst themselves, but their editors squashed any actual mention of the idea in print, too controversial and this is baseball, it was too clean and fix something as big as the Series? That’s not possible.

What made it even harder to figure is that the boys played well, really well. They just lost. There were very few questionable plays and the bats were still active, balls were caught, runners were thrown out, etc.

It all fell apart a year later and just got more complicated from there with a myriad of complicated motivations to keep it hidden, get the truth out there, personal squabbles, ambitious lawyers, bitter players and the list is honestly endless, everyone had an oar in. Very few people walked away looking pure as snow, but this is baseball and America…we always bounce back.

You’re going to want to be a baseball fan if you pick up The Betrayal. It isn’t a book for everyone, more a book for every fan.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, the World Series is on and I’ve made some bets.

The Betrayal: How the 1919 Black Sox Scandal Changed Baseball by Charles Fountain

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199795134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199795130


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Days of Rage by Bryan Burrough



“During an eighteen-month period in 1971 and 1972, the FBI reported more than 2,500 bombings on U.S. soil, nearly 5 a day.”

I was born in 1971. So there were 2,500 bombings happening while I was, um, doing whatever it is that babies do. That number shocked me. It’s easy to fall back into thinking that terror in the U.S. started in the last say, twenty years; we’re wrong. The massive difference, that is important to point out, is that most of those bombings in the 70’s had few injuries and even fewer fatalities.

Being in diapers and learning my ABC’s, “the Underground” wasn’t on my radar as a kid and while I’ve heard the name Weather over the years, I certainly had no idea what they stood for or just what their point was before reading this. Burrough’s book gave me a better understanding of the period…and it wasn’t just about protesting the Vietnam War. In fact, it usually wasn’t about the war much at all. That was the big takeaway. I look back and figured that everyone was busy bitching about the war, but there was a lot more going on, like civil rights, Puerto Rican independence, and more.

Days of Rage is well written and breaks up the various underground groups well, really well considering some of these groups were overlapping or active during the same time periods. However, it is far from a flattering portrait and I’m pretty sure that that isn’t Burrough’s fault. The various underground groups were a ragtag bunch; some idealistic, some angry, some drug-addled, etc. It’s hard to fathom this period in our great history where things  were so freaking bad that groups of people thought they had to start bombing and planning to kill people just to get their point across. (with the exception of the obvious mainstream things like the Revolution or the Civil War)

The book was interesting and well done…the subject, or really that should be plural, was just lousy. Burrough’s says it well here…

“In the end, the untold story of the underground era, stretching from 1970 to 1985, is one of misplaced idealism, naiveté, and stunning arrogance.”

Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence by Bryan Burrough

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press (April 7, 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 1594204292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204296

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Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri


A couple of years ago I stumbled onto this wonderful series thanks to my library’s audiobook collection. It was one of those, “Come on Overdrive, just have something good available now. I need a book for the drive tomorrow” moments. Those moments don’t always produce memorable results…Not so that time. I immediately fell in love with the Montalbano series and have kept up ever since.

Inspector Salvo Montalbano is a smart Sicilian cop in the fictional Vigata, with wry sense of humor and a somewhat rag-tag crew of people around him that he often enjoys messing with. Many might want to pigeonhole the mysteries as somewhat cozy, but they often confront many real social and political issues that your average cozy doesn’t touch. Montalbano gets results, but his methods aren’t always conventional or even strictly legal. He’s a smart ass with a heart of gold who gets the job done.  You can’t help love him for it.

Another things that sets the series apart is the language. Camilleri interweaves a whole heap of Italian and the Sicilian dialect into his books without leaving English speakers behind. I credit Camilleri (and Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti Series) with the wee grasp I have of Italian because he makes is natural and easy.

However, this is the first book in the series that I have read as opposed to listening to and there was a huge difference. Grover Gardner narrates the audiobooks and he pronounces all of the Sicilian that doesn’t roll off of your tongue easily. As I was reading this, I heard his voice in my head and would have been lost a few times if I hadn’t already heard him say some words in the prior books. I can’t think of another series or even standalone that I would suggest audio versions more strongly.

If you’re like me and have a yen for Italy, a sarcastic sense of humor, and like your mysteries served with a side of well hidden social commentary….check out Inspector Montalbano. You can start anywhere, but I always try to start series at the beginning for the full experience.


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I don’t know about you, but as a reader, there are times that I need to step outside of the usual and try something new. Gethsemane was so far outside my comfort zone that it’s hard to know where to start talking about it.

It’s an epic poem…woah, there Nelly, the last time I read one of those was by force in high school and let’s just say it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Gethsemane was different and not only because I wasn’t being forced to read it. Perhaps the author explains it best…

Gethsemane is not your epic poem in the traditional sense. Its body of work is composed as an ode in three acts, but formatted as a linear narrative that is divided by one hundred forty-eight verses that read like sonnets. Each stanza (or poetic sentence) is no longer than twelve syllables in length, and each ends in a unique rhyme. Not a single rhyme was repeated, which accentuates the melodic beauty of each verse.

The key for me here was the “melodic beauty”, it was lyrical in a really calming non-Gilgamesh way. Music also plays a big part in the author’s original conception and that was a huge part of the overall reading experience. Jacobs went above and beyond for the audio version of the work (note: I say work, I don’t see this as just a book.) and he was kind enough to send me both the audio and printed version. There’s a sense of fullness and commitment that is such a unique experience that it’s hard to describe.


My thoughts? Obviously, I’m a bit dumbfounded on how to describe it…it wasn’t anything like reading or listening to a book, more like experiencing it.  It left me in an amazing meditative state and the entire concept just continues to blow me away. I may have to listen a few more times to allow it to really sink in.


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8 Ways to Read More

Do you want to be a writer like Daniel Handler? Maybe you love Daniel and his work, but you really just want to expand your literary education. Either way, it’s important to invest more time to reading. Read on for ways to squeeze this important pastime into your day.

1. Figure out your purpose for reading. Why do you want to read? What do you want to get out of it? Do you want to learn about a certain topic? Maybe you want to get inspired for your own writing or read all of the classics. By having a purpose, you’ll make reading more of a priority.

2. Only read books you’re attracted to. There’s no point in making yourself read books you don’t have a genuine interest in!

3. Don’t feel guilty about skipping pages. If you’re reading educational books, you may already know some of what’s written. In this case, skip over it! No need to revisit information you already know when you can spend that time soaking up new knowledge.

4. Create reading goals. For example, you may want to read one new book every week or every month, or get through a certain number of pages or chapters every night. By giving yourself a goal and a deadline, you’ll make sure to reach for your book every day.

5. Add reading to your daily routine. For example, you can read every weekday during your train commute to work or every evening right before you go to sleep.

6. Always have your next book chosen. By knowing what you’re going to pick up after you’ve finished your current book, you won’t have down time between reads. This means you’ll stay in the habit of reading.

7. Use your free time to read. By always having a book or e-reader on you, you can get a few pages read when standing on line, waiting for a friend, or being stuck in a traffic jam.

8. Read in a quiet place. If there are fewer distractions around, you’ll find it easier to read and you’ll get through your daily reading goal faster. Plus, you’ll soak up the information more than if you were in a noisy place.

With these tips, you’ll hopefully be able to get through all of the reading you have planned for the year!


This was a sponsored post full of grand ideas. If I was to write the list, it wouldn’t have been practical. #1 would have been quit your job, farm the kids out to family and or neighbors, and change the locks on your house so your husband can’t get in. See? Not really practical. 

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