Author: Dan Barry
Title: Bottom of the 33rd
Narrator: Dan Barry
Publication Info: [New York] : Harper Audio, 2011.
I’ve long been aware that Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium hosted the longest professional baseball game in history, a 33-inning affair between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings in 1981. I knew that the game featured two future Hall of Famers, Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken. Barry’s book fills me on a lot that I didn’t know. For example, the game was played well into Easter morning and the weather was so miserably cold that the players burned broken bats in barrels to keep warm. The game was allowed to play so long due to a misprint in the International League rule book that left out the paragraph about curfews. Thus a rather stubborn umpire continued the game until receiving word from the league president at 4:09 am. I also didn’t know that when the game was completed in June of that year, it received international attention boosted by the fact that Major League baseball players were on strike at that time.
Barry tells a compelling story of the game, building tension in the relentless procession of pitches, hits, and outs. He draws on recordings of the Red Wings’ radio broadcast and interviews with players, managers, coaches, media, players’ wives, umpires, spectators, and even the bat boy who were present for the game. If the book were about only the game it would fall apart quickly, but Barry weaves in the lives and careers of many of the participants before and after that game. It makes for a lively bit of sportswriting at it’s best.
Recommended books: The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W. P. Kinsella, Wild and Outside: How a Renegade Minor League Revived the Spirit of Baseball in America’s Heartland by Stefan Fatsis, and Stolen Season: A Journey Through America and Baseball’s Minor Leagues by David Lamb.
Author: John Green
Title: Looking for Alaska
Narrator: Jeff Woodman
Publication Info: [Grand Haven, Mich.] : Brilliance Audio, 2006.
Previously Read By Same Author: The Fault in Our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines.
This novel is told by a boy named Miles who transfers into a boarding school where he befriends his roommate “The Colonel” and falls in love with an intelligent, attractive, but impulsive young woman named Alaska. Like other works in the boarding school genre, the story involves a lot of drinking, smoking, sex, and pranks. But Miles also attends classes and his religious studies class in particular play’s an important role in helping Miles deal with some of the issues he’s facing in his life.
I don’t want to give anything away, but the novel turns on a tragic moment. On the downside, I found the book draws a little too much on the “women in refrigerators” trope and moral lessons that are a bit too pat. Overall though, I found it an accurate and entertaining depiction of teenage life.
Recommended books: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and Fade by Robert Cormier
Author: Lemony Snicket
Title: When Did You See Her Last?
Narrator: Liam Aiken
Publication Info: [New York] : Hachette Audio, 
Other Books Read By Same Author:
The second installment of All the Wrong Questions picks up in Stain’d-by-the-Sea with Lemony Snicket investigating a missing person’s case, putatively with the help of his chaperon S. Theodora Markson. It continues to be a whimsical mix of mystery novel and humor. One thing that stands out is that other than Snicket as narrator, the major characters in this novel are all women, which is a refreshing change. I’m looking forward to the next installment.