A novel that can make you laugh, cry, and stand up and cheer, The Art of Fielding (Little, Brown, $25.99) by Chad Harbach is a smart, funny, big-hearted story. Henry Skrimshander is a sure-handed shortstop from a small town recruited by the team’s captain to join the squad at fictional Westish College, a Div. 3 school in Wisconsin. His dedication to his position is mystical, owing much to his well-worn copy of the Tao-like Art of Fielding. When the national record for errorless innings is within his grasp, though, and an errant throw nearly kills his room-mate/team-mate/best friend, the irrepressible Owen, everything Henry has taken for granted is thrown into question. One of the most talked about books of this year and for good reason, The Art of Fielding is more than a baseball book. It’s as knowing about relationships as it is about sports. It also displays in equal measure the author’s passions for literature and baseball.
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