Author Archive

Book Review: K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches

I like reading books about baseball, but there really isn’t too much about the game itself that end up being new or interesting.  However, this book took something I already know something about and expanded on it in a way that was new and exciting.  Each chapter is about a different type of pitch that can be done in the game of baseball.  Throughout each chapter, the author talks to some of the pitchers who excelled at and were known for that pitch as well as some of the hitters who faced them.  This was really interesting and the different types of pitches and what you can do with them is not something I usually think or read about, so I liked that this book gave me some more insight.  The author also did his homework and it was really great to see how many pitchers and hitters he was able to include in each chapter.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.  This book is scheduled to be released on April 2, 2019 from Doubleday Books.

About the Book

From the New York Times baseball columnist, an enchanting, enthralling history of the national pastime as told through the craft of pitching, based on years of archival research and interviews with more than three hundred people from Hall of Famers to the stars of today

The baseball is an amazing plaything. We can grip it and hold it so many different ways, and even the slightest calibration can turn an ordinary pitch into a weapon to thwart the greatest hitters in the world. Each pitch has its own history, evolving through the decades as the masters pass it down to the next generation. From the earliest days of the game, when Candy Cummings dreamed up the curveball while flinging clamshells on a Brooklyn beach, pitchers have never stopped innovating.

In K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches, Tyler Kepner traces the colorful stories and fascinating folklore behind the ten major pitches. Each chapter highlights a different pitch, from the blazing fastball to the fluttering knuckleball to the slippery spitball. Infusing every page with infectious passion for the game, Kepner brings readers inside the minds of combatants sixty feet, six inches apart.

Filled with priceless insights from many of the best pitchers in baseball history–from Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, and Nolan Ryan to Greg Maddux, Mariano Rivera, and Clayton Kershaw–K will be the definitive book on pitching and join such works as The Glory of Their Times and Moneyball as a classic of the genre.

Book Review: Oh No

Oh No is a collection of comics about being a disappointment or being disappointed.  Every panel ends in the character saying “Oh no” after something happens – or doesn’t happen, as it were.  It made me laugh many times, and the illustrations are just perfect for the subject matter I think. And I could relate to a lot of the comics as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book will be released April 2 from Andrew McMeel Publishing.

About the Book

A humorous and poignant comic collection about disappointments big and small based on the popular webcomic, Webcomic Name.

Alex Norris’ viral webcomic Webcomic Name, has captured the internet’s heart. The disappointed blob and its resigned “oh no” has become a recognizable slogan, tapping into the current internet zeitgeist of self-conscious pessimism to hilarious and heartbreaking effect.

Now in this alternately funny and gloomy collection, oh no brings together all the series’ greatest hits as well as dozens of never-before-seen comics. With exciting material for established fans and newcomers alike, oh no will have something for everyone. Because, after all, we are all the disappointed blob; the disappointed blob is us.

Book Review: We’re Not Sixteen Anymore

We’re Not Sixteen anymore is a book about what happens when a 60ish widow starts using dating apps/sites to try and start dating again.  I was curious to see if there are the same problems with trying to date at 60 as trying to date in your mid-30s.  Becky certainly ended up going on a lot more dates than I have, but a lot of the struggles and problems she had with the guys were the same.  We actually each had an incident at the Cheesecake Factory – though I will say that hers turned out a lot better than mine. (She ended up with her guy – mine walked away at the sight of me never to be heard from again.)

There are also some funny pieces in the book because Becky is 60ish and computer illiterate which puts her in some interesting situations that made me laugh.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book was published in June 2016.

About the Book

This book published in 2016 but its popularity continues and this time of year seems to bring out the online dating ads more than ever.

You’ve seen those ads on television, in newspapers, and (naturally) on computer popups. The models are cute, handsome, young, or at least looking good for their age. But what REALLY happens when a computer semi-illiterate 60ish widow is prodded into this very 21st century form of dating—when the last time she dated was when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon? Getting back into dating makes her feel young. Actual dating makes her realize she is NOT sixteen anymore.  What started out as entries on her Facebook page have expanded into detailed accounts of dating foibles and feats. Anyone who has embraced the concept of online dating, no matter at what age, will find her adventures laugh-out-loud funny and charming.

Book Review: Know Yourself

Know Yourself is a book of questions.  Each page poses a question for yourself – like what is your favorite room in the house? What do you think about before you go to sleep?  I tried to see which questions I was able to come up with answer for right away, which one I had to think about, and which answer I wasn’t very happy with to try and figure out more about myself and maybe what bad habits I have and should attempt to change.  (And I probably should have kept track of how many answers had something to do with Hanson.  Geez. LOL)

I did find I got stuck for a long time on “What were the three best things that happened today?” and maybe I should start one of those journals writing 1 good thing that happened each day to try and focus more on the positive and what I did do than the negative or what I still have to do.

I really enjoyed this book and how it made me think about things about myself.

“Life is not about finding the right answers; it’s about asking the right questions” – Unknown

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.  This book will be released April 2, 2019 from Workman Publishing Company.

About the Book

Incisive questions can inspire self-reflection, spark ideas, and, best of all, reveal surprising truths. From Flow, the champions of meditating on life’s simple pleasures, here’s a book of 165 creative questions, some sweet, some silly, some unexpectedly provocative, that will open the mind to deeper self-knowledge. There are no “right” answers—the point is simply to stay curious and stay open to learning about oneself or a friend, partner, or roommate.

There are questions to prompt memories: How many homes have you lived in? To fuel a fantasy life: Which historical event do you wish you could have seen with your own eyes? To tap into your sense of adventure: What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done? To remind you to live in the present: What were the three best things that happened today? To celebrate your strength: When have you stood up for yourself?

A signature Flow book in its mindful theme and charming, colorful aesthetic with vibrant patterns and hand-lettering, Know Yourself is a pleasure to browse through and share.

 

Kelly Clarkson Mohegan Sun Arena

I wasn’t sure how jetlagged I’d be when I headed to Mohegan Sun to see Kelly Clarkson just 4 days after getting home from Australia but was pretty sure back-to-back concerts last trip to Australia helped get me back on EST so I was hoping for the best. (Australia post(s) are coming, eventually)

I ended up having a seat right by one of her side catwalks and for the longest time no one showed up to sit in the seats next to or in front of me.  Finally next to me filled it but it turned out they didn’t actually sell any of the seats in front of me as after both openers had taken the stage they started seeing who wanted to move based on the catwalk obstructing views and they filled in the rows in front of me.

I was happy no one really stood for the show because I was really not sure how I’d be able to handle a full set of that being so exhausted! Brynn Cartelli from The Voice opened and being from MA this was her “home town show” and Maggie Rose also opened.  Both ended up joining Kelly later in her set as well.

I enjoy that Kelly talks a lot during her set and tells some background stories about the songs.  She also started talking to a pregnant woman in the audience and went on about how she was miserable during her pregnancies and 2 was enough, then she decided they’d finish the conversation later and she would get back to singing. She ended up talking about how the next song was about how no one in her small town got divorced except her family and her friends and then started talking about how sometimes divorce was good… joked about how she hadn’t even had anything to drink yet and she was just going to stop talking and sing.

For A Minute and a Glass of Wine she had Brynn Cartelli join her and they did a duet of Foy Vance’s Make it Rain – a song that Kelly said she hadn’t heard until Brynn brought it up to her (maybe she did it on the voice? i dont know, i dont watch anymore)

The catwalk was so, so close – Kelly came up it 2 or 3 times during the show and her band and backup singers used it as well, and overall my blindly buying a single ticket as soon as tickets went on sale and not having an accurate seating chart worked in my favor (for once?)

 

Matt Nathanson VIP / Acoustic concert The Warehouse Fairfield, CT

February 24th I treated myself to not one, but two Matt Nathanson concerts at The Warehouse in Fairfield, CT. He was doing an acoustic run in smaller venues than usual and since most shows sold out so quickly he did a VIP show as well which you did not need tickets to the concert in order to attend to allow for more fans to have access, which was really cool.

For the VIP show he spun the wheel of Nathanson 3x as well as did a Q&A with the audience. There were some really great questions and I think Matt really enjoyed himself. Afterwards we all got to meet him as well as get a signed poster and coffee mug.

The wheel spins were Song-Spiration, High School and Wedding Dress which led to performances of Room at the End of the World, Illusions a song he had written for a girl in high school and of course, Wedding Dress.

For the show, the wheel was switched out a bit. Unfortunately, the crowd was less than stellar. One woman kept yelling “FASTER” and at first Matt said “Do you want me to spin the wheel faster or sing the song? I have one and a half singles, do you think I am not going to sing it?” and when she yelled it again later, he said “I am literally taking it off the setlist right now” and he did – I wasn’t sure if he was serious until we got to the end of the show, and Faster, the song I was *most* looking forward to hearing, wasn’t done. He did throw in an older less played song instead, which I am sure made the super fans happy but as a more casual fan I didn’t really notice that he did that. The crowd continued to yell out – and I have to wonder if his witty responses were making it seem like he was condoning the behavior and making people think it was ok to shout out things and if it would have been less if he had instead ignored them and just continued on with the show. (Though I can see how it would be hard to ignore it – but simply asking security to find the person shouting and escort them out may have gotten his annoyance across a bit better and would have made things more enjoyable for the rest of us as well. *shrugs*) Despite the song I most wanted to hear being cut, I had an enjoyable night and definitely need to try and see him more on future tours – even though I doubt he will be coming back to Fairfield anytime soon!

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Joey McIntyre in Waitress on Broadway

One Saturday at the end of February I headed to New York City with my mom to see Joey McIntyre in Waitress. I had previously seen Jason Mraz in the same role a little over a year ago so I was curious to see how their portrayals matched up. At the end of Part I, I was thinking Jason had the edge – as the doctor I think is supposed to be a little bit strange and awkward and Jason could play that with ease, where as Joey came across a bit more confident.  By the end, I wasn’t really sure who I thought did better as they both kind of brought something different to the character.  I teased that if Joey came out to sign, he would win, as Jason did not come out.   I managed to get my playbill signed by Joey in addition to the actresses that played Becky and Jenna.  We debated waiting for Ogie and trying to get a selfie with Joey – but the crowd was creeping in as Joey came near, so once my playbill was signed we ducked out and went to dinner.  This is a really fun show and the only one I have seen more than once!

Gaelic Storm at The Wolf Den

Friday night we headed to The Wolf’s Den at Mohegan Sun to catch a free show from Gaelic Storm (aka Garlic Thunder, which is the name they told me they should be called when I met them 10 years ago on The Rock Boat) I hadn’t seen them in 10 years and I think several of the band members had switched out since  then, but they still were as funny and entertaining as when I had seen them last, and hopefully will get to see them again soon, now that I have a couple of friends who also enjoy them.  I didn’t keep track of the setlist and it looks like no one else really did either, as the one below is missing quite a few songs

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Book Review: The Ultimate History of The ’80s Teen Movie

I was not a teen until the late ’90s and I’m also not a huge movie watcher, but with Fandom Running Club starting a “Cult Classic” medal series, well maybe I should see what the 80s had to offer so I can try and guess on some of the clues to come. (The first one is “Dont You 4K About Me” – The Breakfast Club – which is an 80s movie I have seen!)

The book starts in… 1978? With talk about John Travolta.  It compares some of the story lines from the 80s with how they would not fly in a movie today.  The book is quite long and touches on a TON of movies… most of which of course I had never seen (but have heard of, at least!)  And a lot of details on them.  It is a history, after all.

I was hoping for a check list of sorts of all the movies in the back of the book so I could see what I had seen and what I haven’t, but let’s be honest, my number would probably be able to be counted on one hand.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book is being released March 19, 2019 by Diversion Books.

About the Book

A trip back to the era of troubled teens and awesome soundtracks; of Reagan, rap, and Ridgemont High; of MTV, VHS, and “Axel F”; of outsiders, lost boys, and dead poets; of Bill and Ted, Brooke Shields, and the Brat Pack; of three Porky’s flicks, two Coreys, and one summer when “Baby” refused to be put in a corner.

The Ultimate History of the ’80s Teen Movie goes behind the scenes of a genre where cult hits mingled with studio blockbusters, where giants like Spielberg and Coppola rubbed shoulders with baby-faced first-timers, and where future superstars Sean, Demi, and Tom all got their big break. Music, comedy, and politics all play a part in the surprisingly complex history of the ’80s teen movie. And while the films might have been aimed primarily at adolescents, the best tackle universal issues and remain relevant to all ages.

From a late ’70s Hollywood influx to an early ’90s indie scene that gave youth cinema a timely reboot, film expert James King highlights the personal struggles, the social changes, and the boardroom shake-ups that produced an iconic time in movie history.

Book Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a collection of poetry from Mr Rogers. There are a lot included and a lot of great illustrations to go with it – starting with the famous “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” which was the opening song to his show.  I think my favorite in the book was “I’m Glad I’m the Way I Am” – the first verse “I’m glad I’m the way I am, I’m glad I’m me. I’, glad I’m the way That I’m supposed to be” resonates with me. The rest of it too, but mostly that first part.  There are a lot of different topics covered in each of the poems/songs as well.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated. This book will be released March 19, 2019 from Quirk Books.

About the Book

For the first time ever, 75 beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children’s Corner are collected in this charmingly illustrated treasury, sure to be cherished by generations of children as well as the millions of adults who grew up with Mister Rogers.

It’s you I like.
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair—
But it’s you I like.

From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more. Through these songs—as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations—Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time alone, this beautiful book of meaningful poetry is for every child—including the child inside of every one of us.