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Viva el Libros: An introduction

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A book club for our highbrow frathouse.

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We sit.

The dark days of the off season are upon us, and with it the threat of despair, loneliness, and boredom. I went to bed at 8:00pm last Wednesday.

There is no baseball.

There is nothing.

No. We cannot submit to doldrums of winter. We must fight back and there is a plan. It is called Viva el Libros: The Book Club.

Viva el Libros will be a new off season feature where we will introduce a book to be read during the month and then have a post dedicated to discussing the book at the end of the month. These books will mostly pertain to baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, former players, and the like. Suggestions for books are welcomed and encouraged!

Fellow VEBer YearOfGlad and I have been working tirelessly the past few weeks on getting this prepared to launch. Here is a brief intro from YearOfGlad himself:

Gentle Readers,

This post is to herald the start (first pitch?) of Viva El Libros, an offseason book reading program hosted right here at Viva El Birdos.  Such a thing has been talked about and teased for a little while in various comment sections, but with the two huge recent stories, one tragic and one hopeful, in the Cardinal multiverse, the planning and the announcement has slipped until: now.

lil_scooter93 and I have been hanging out at the library for a couple of weeks, passing notes while we were supposed to be studying, and amongst the endearments and crude cartoons, we hashed out a format and something of a plan:

  • We'll be group-reading one book per month for the three months of the offseason: December, January, February.
  • All of our selections will be baseball-related (sorry, whomever already suggested Siddhartha).
  • We will have a general theme/genre for each month, so as to limit/focus our selections.

Here's the anticipated syllabus:

December: History/Biography

Since people will have many holiday distractions, and because it is the first month, the plan is to read something light, breezy, and about the Cardinals. Because December is right upon us, and we have no time to vote, to we decided to declare by fiat the book we will be reading the first month.  It will be The Summer of Beer and Whiskey by Edward Achorn (2013). A formal introduction will be ready for the first of the month.

January: Literature

The long dark tea-time of the soul suggests the longest and meatiest of our selections.  Something like Bang the Drum Slowly for example (which I need to hurry up and read if I am to be of any use here!)  A book of importance (especially one that will make lil_scooter cry - I jest...). Some suggestions:

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (2011)
Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris (1956)
Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale by Josh Wilker (2010)

February: Journalism

The home stretch.  Pitchers and catchers will report.  Players talking about "best shape of their life".  Hot stove scorching for the Marcus Hatley-type NRIs of the world.  Goofy pics of Waino forthcoming.  So this month will feature something short and punchy again, and this time I (YearOfGlad) insist on a Roger Angell collection, maybe Five Seasons, Once More Around the Park, or Game Time: A Baseball Companion. These are short-form sports journalism collections from one of the best baseball writers ever. Perfect for reading one restless week at a time.

After the initial first "pitch" at the beginning of the month, we'll have a conclusion post near the end of the month where all readers can hang out, ask questions, share great quotes and passages, report on their progress, and generally discuss.

There will NOT be a quiz!  All of this is for entertainment and self-improvement!  Our frathouse has to live up to the "highbrow" label!

Please leave your thoughts and suggestions in comments! I would especially like to thank YearOfGlad for all his help and for writing this introduction! I cannot wait to start reading!