Book Review: Taking the Field by Howard Megdal

Author: Howard Megdal
Title: Taking the Field
Publication Info: Bloomsbury USA (2011)
ISBN: 9781608195794
Summary/Review: I received this book through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program.  Mets fan and sports journalist Howard Megdal, frustrated by the mismanagement of his favorite team decides to take action by running for the office of Mets general manager.  The position is not an elected office of course, so this is a bit of a gag, but Megdal dutifully holds primaries on a number of Mets blogs.  I could have lived without the extensive details of the election campaign as it becomes obvious pretty early that  Megdal has great ideas about how to manage the Mets and that these ideas have a lot of support among Mets fans.  Luckily, alternate chapters contain Medgal’s actual analysis of how to run a ball club focusing on the Mets historically on their all too many bad transactions as well as the thought and planning that went in to building the championship teams of 1969 and 1986.  Megdal’s evaluation of the Mets past and present  is spot on as are his ideas for the future of the team.  I’d vote for him if I could but lucky for him Sandy Alderson took the job, so Megdal can focus on spending more time with the baby daughter he writes about lovingly throughout the book.

Recommended books: Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets by Greg Prince, Foul Ball: My Life and Hard Times Trying to Save an Old Ballpark by Jim Bouton, and Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
Rating: ***1/2

Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: Or On the Segregation of the Queen by Laurie R. King

Author: Laurie R. King
Title: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice: Or On the Segregation of the Queen
Publication Info: Recorded Books (1994)
ISBN: 0788798782
Summary/Review:  This book is the first of a series in which Sherlock Holmes – “retired” to beekeeping in the country – meets the narrator/protagonist Mary Russell and takes her on as his apprentice.  Since Russell’s intelligence and powers of observation match Holmes the relationship seems to be missing something as they are both almost too perfect (King allows both her characters to make some mistakes to make them a little complementary).  Much of the early half of the book involves Russell’s long apprenticeship and training and drags.  There are a number of mysteries to solve and the novel becomes episodic as a result.  The conclusion actually tries to tie these mysteries together which doesn’t work for me.  I wanted to like this book but just found it a bit dull.  Still, I still see promise that maybe future installments could be better now that this backstory is filled in.

Recommended books: A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Martin Harry Greenberg, and Sherlock Holmes and the Red Demon by Larry Millett
Rating: **1/2