Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book #53

Take Time For Paradise, by A. Bartlett Giamatti. Paperback.

A revision of a book that came out shortly after Giamatti's 1989 death, this little work shows off the wide-ranging mind of the man who served a too-brief tenure as Commissioner of Major League Baseball. A Yale professor whose command of language is stunning, this ends up being an impressive melange of philosophy, poetry, and essay.

I say "little" because it takes a foreword and an afterword to get the manuscript over 100 pages. But this does not make for a quick read -- Giamatti takes on big topics, and does so with references to Blake, Shakespeare, and Aristotle. It is a challenge to read, but worth the effort. His meditation on the meaning of "home" in baseball, in the English language, and in literature, is worth the price of admission.

The book is basically three essays or speeches that Giamatti made. He covers the concept of "play" in the modern world, the role of "rules" in sports and in society, and the notion of the sports stadium as a miniature city. Although written more than two decades ago, and by a man from the "Ivory Tower," Giamatti's insights into the relationships between sport, society, and technology are insightful.

Again, not an easy read, but one that is certainly worth the effort.

Disclosure: I received this as an Advanced Reading Copy, from LibraryThing.

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