The baseball season may have ended on a down note in Milwaukee, but at least Wisconsin can lay claim to a great new baseball novel--Racine native Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding, lauded by big-name literary critics like the New York Times' Michiko Kakutani and #1 on Amazon's Top 100 Books of 2011. Set in the fictional Westish College on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, it tells the story of Henry Skrimshander, a shortstop prodigy recruited to the school's baseball team by its captain, senior Mike Schwartz. Mike's coaching and advice mold Henry into a bona fide major-league prospect and the team into a top collegiate competitor. Westish College president Guert Affenlight takes a newfound interest in the team due to its recent successes and unexpectedly finds himself infatuated with Mike and Henry's teammate, Owen Dunne. Also woven into the story is Affenlight's daughter, Pella, his prodigal child returning home after a failed marriage and who becomes a romantic interest for both Mike and Henry. You don't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this moving and gentle novel, and you'll find it just as hard to leave Westish College as it is for the characters.
Submitted by Brett R. @ Washington Park