We’re going to be redesigning the blog soon. It should look basically the same, but will have a few features (including month-by-month archives) that it doesn’t have right now.
Another feature I think I’d like to add is a regularly updated list of the books I’m reviewing. At the moment, the pile looks like this:
A Home on the Field, by Paul Cuadros (HarperCollins/Rayo)
City of God, by Paulo Lins (Grove/Atlantic/Black Cat)
Rebound, by Bob Krech (Marshall Cavendish)
How to Coach a Soccer Team, by Tony Carr (Sterling)
The Joke’s Over, by Ralph Steadman (Harcourt)
The Last Match, by David Dodge (Hard Case Crime)
The Best American Travel Writing 2006, edited by Tim Cahill (Houghton Mifflin)
The Blonde, by Duane Swierczynski (St. Martin’s/Minotaur)
Night Falls on Damascus, by Frederick Highland (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne)
Maybe if I get ambitious I’ll add book covers, too. Maybe.
Funny story about one of the above books. Ilene Cooper, Children’s Books Editor, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing a young-adult book about soccer. Her soccer-conversant reviewers were already committed, and, as you may have noticed, I do occasionally review a soccer book or two.
Sure, I said. I’ve got a lot of books in my pile, but if it’s about soccer, send it over.
A few days later I received two envelopes from work. The first one, from Ilene, held two copies of a blue book with a black-and-white basketball on the cover: Rebound, by Bob Krech.
Puzzled, I opened the second envelope, which was from Bill Ott. It contained two books: The Joke’s Over, by Ralph Steadman, and How to Coach a Soccer Team, by Tony Carr.
I scratched my head. Had Ilene thrown her soccer book in Bill’s envelope and then decided to also mail me a book about basketball? Then I noticed a note from Bill. The note explained that the soccer book was from him, something he’d thought of including after we discussed the Steadman book.
Then I had a thought. Ilene has many areas of expertise, from picture books to politics. She’s an oft-published (and award-winning) author herself. But I’ve never heard her talking sports around the water cooler. Had she mistaken the basketball for a soccer ball?
Turns out that was exactly what happened. And, given that the basketball on this cover was black-and-white (underscoring the book’s exploration of racial issues), she was actually pretty close to right. Black and white are the traditional colors for a soccer ball.
She was embarrassed, so I wasn’t going to tell her that rebound is a well-known basketball term – but it turns out she did know it was a basketball term. She didn’t think it was necessarily a basketball-exclusive term. She even surprised me by recalling Charles Barkley’s erstwhile nickname: The Round Mound of Rebound.
(Another area of Ilene’s expertise: celebrities.)
Then Ilene discovered that she did have a YA soccer book in her office. But due to time constraints, I’ll be reviewing Rebound and Ilene will be reviewing Soccer Chick Rules.
And there you have it, the uncensored, behind-the-scenes dirt on what really goes on at Booklist.
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