Friday, March 30, 2012

The Art of Fielding

Thanks to the Doctor for hosting a lovely BC!  We started off with two kinds of bruschetta topped with delishy tapenades, followed by pulled pork tinga street tacos with all the garnishess and a slightly Mexi salad, and a peppermint patty chocolate cake in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  Lish!

Normally El Jefe likes to linger a little longer over any discussion of tacos, however, there are special circumstances surrounding this month's book that require immediate attention.  The Art of Fielding, the fiction debut of author Chad Harbach, was one of the all-time highest scoring books in BC history with two 8's, two 9s, a 10, and two scores in between!  Said another way:  the lowest score this book got was an 8!  Almost unheard of since A Confederacy of Dunces back in 2003.  This newcomer of an author writes like an old pro.  Every character was lovingly conceived, each one's neediness and desperation revealed in a unique and poignant way.  And all so likable!  Schwartzy, jockish and determined on the outside, vulnerable as a kid on the inside.  Scrimmer, so talented and tragic!  Guert, the handsome and stately college president (think, Mit Romney hair) who falls head over heels for a gay freshman, Owen (aka Buddah), in what is somehow a sweet rather than creepy romance.  Even the rest of the team was lovable, with their macho locker room banter and disgusting college guy habits.  The only characters that rubbed people the wrong way were Pella, Guert's daughter and her ex-husband David.  Some thought Pella was a spoiled brat and pretty bitchy (although that reaction is probably just from siding with Schwartzy!).  The other critique was that the end of the story fell apart.  But El Jefe says, what's wrong with digging up a dead body and burying it in a lake?  And others actually found Owen's tribute to Guert out on the boat to be quite touching.  Of course, one of life's great unsolved mysteries will be whether Guert took his own life (insert gesture of tying noose around neck and head jerking sideways), or his ticker simply gave out.  We'll never know.  In sum, this story was a joy to read with something to like for everyone:  humor, drama, sports, romance, coming of age, tragedy and triumph.  No doubt a BC hall-of-famer alongside the likes of Life of Pi, Middlesex, and Infidel.

From the Shortstop Hall of Fame

Honus "the Flying Dutchman" Wagner, Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates, 1897-1917

Alex "A-Rod" Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees, 1994 to present

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, 1995 to present

Cal "Iron Man" Ripkin, Baltimore Orioles, 1981-2001

Luis "Little Louie" Aparicio, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox, 1956-1973

Oscar "R2D2" Mullen, Milwaukee Brewers, March 2012

Our next meeting is at the Foxx's house on Wednesday, April 4th.  El Jefe was on app duty but needs a sub, the Highlander is on dessert.  As it is Bisnonna's 89th birthday, El Jefe and the Doctor will not be able to make it.  So sorry to miss as we are diving headlong into the Hunger Games craze.  Take El Jefe's word for it:  just go straight for the trilogy box set, you won't regret it.  Until next time, you konw what to do... xoej

Monday, March 12, 2012

Eat, Drink and Be Married

Thanks to Logan's Run for hosting a lovely BC, and a packed house to boot!  We started off with a cheese and charcuterie platter, with some sort of figgy-quincy dip on the side that made it exceptionally lishy.  Next, steaming hot chicken pot pies in individual ramekins, accompanied by wild arugula salad with goat cheese and a citrus vinaigrette dressing, and finally, homemade red velvet cupcakes with Valentine's Day sprinkles.  Lish!!  Always love the seasonal desserts.

Such a treat!  For only the second?  third?  time in BC history, our book's author was in attendance!  Rebecca Bloom (we get to call her Becca!), author of Eat, Drink and Be Married, joined us to talk about how she wrote her book, got it published, and won't be embarrassed if her kids read it when they grow up.  As many books as we've read and discussed over the years, this was the first time that we've gotten this much insight into the actual writing and publishing process.  One might think an author has overcome her biggest obstacle once the denouement is conceived, the final chapter written, and the word "Fin" triumphantly typed out on the keyboard.  Alas, no.  There still needs to be someone who wants to read the darn thing and get behind the idea that other people will want to read it.  And as it turns out, finding that someone is pretty difficult in these latter days of the recession.  And so, Becca took it upon herself to self-publish her latest oeuvre, a tale of four best friends who reunite for a wedding, all kinds of drama ensuing.  Of course the first thing we all wanted to know was whether any of the four was Becca herself, and of the others, were they real people?  As it turns out, no character is an exact representation of any particular person Becca knows (or herself), but rather, each is a montage of various personality traits that are familiar to us all.  Which is why the second thing we did was to go around the room and each choose the character with whom we identified the most.  High-brow Hannah, who is a glaringly selfish Bridezilla, but ultimately has a stroke of self-realization on the eve of her wedding?  Nina, the work-out obsessed power player, who can't bear the thought of a baby adding an inch to her waistline or otherwise throwing a wrench in the works of her agro life?  Zoe, the edgy punkster who is the rock her friends lean on, but deep down somewhat self-loathing?  Or Kate, the weird cat-guitar lady?  (Actually, no one picked Kate, and El Jefe would normally take back that uncharitable description of her, except that it doesn't matter because no one picked her.)  It was a lot of fun to get to know these ladies--as well as Becca-- over the course of the book, and we very much look forward to Becca's next project!  (Maybe starting a book club, ha!)

Our next meeting is, ahem, Wednesday (did someone say, "Oh Snap!"?).  The Doctor is hosting, Red is on apps, and Ms. K. dessert.  In case the Highlander is reading this, open up your Kindle and download "The Art of Fielding," which is the book we have all read over the past month and will be discussing in two days.  Until Wednesday, read early and often!  Bring your picks for the List o' Death!  And good luck to the Saint!  We are very excited to have yet another little one in the BC family by April!  xoej