Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Book Review - The Astral

Kate Christensen's new novel The Astral (2011) is my most recent fiction book (not that there have been many recently...). I picked this up when cruising a book store on the strength of having really liked her 2008 PEN/Faulkner award winning novel The Great Man. It didn't disappoint.

The Astral is the story of Harry Quirk, an aging poet who is thrown out of his apartment by his wife of many years. As Harry tries to come to terms with the end of his marriage, he is also dealing with understanding his daughter who is now openly gay, and his son who has joined a cult. Over the course of the novel we get to see Harry struggle to understand what his life has become. This is not a happy story, but it does feel real, and true.

"This should have struck me as ominous, I now suppose, but I was so smitten, I found myself charmed by her frank, untrammeled need for control. This insistence on doing what she wanted would play itself out in ten thousand ways over the next three decades plus. I always capitulated to it. In fact I craved it." [p. 56]

4 stars out of 5.

Books read in 2011: 2 (Yikes!!!)
Published in 2011: 1 (this)
NewAuthors: 1
Classics: none

Next up... more history. I feel like Crusades...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wilmington Blue Rocks

Minor league baseball is a fun, inexpensive and relaxing time out for the family. Since they moved back to town in 1993, we have tried to make it a habit to get to at least one Wilmington Blue Rocks game every year. Today, we were able to come with my family, my mom and Chris, and Dave and his family. It was fun to have so many of us there at the same time.

The Blue Rocks are high single-A ball, affiliated with the Kansas City Royals. Most of the players are around 20 to 22 years old. The quality of play is erratic, with many of the players showing one of two things: raw talent that is as yet unrefined, and players who clearly do not have the physical tools to advance much past this level. Over the years, we have seen a number of players who have gone on to the major leagues, and some more recognizable names, such as Pete Rose Jr, who have not.

Tickets are cheap, concessions are priced lower than the major leagues, and there is a certain excitement to being in a small stadium where you can virtually be sitting on top of the field. We were about 4 rows back behind the third base dugout, and the tickets were around $10 each. I can't imagine what similar seating at the Phillies game would cost, if you could get the tickets (which you can't).

It was a very enjoyable evening, with nice weather. As is often the case with these games, just going is the fun part, and as I write this post well after the fact, I can't remember who won. But it doesn't matter. We had three generations of the family at the game, and everyone had a good time.