I finished this book almost a week ago, but really didn't have anything to say about it. Almost a year ago I said no more fiction reviews, then kept writing them. And even though I just heard about this book less than a month ago, I can't remember why I put it on my list. Did I hear about "Tortilla Curtain" first or both books together? I don't know, but this book was overdone and trite and maybe the reason I had never read TC Boyle in the first place. I can't blame the man- it appears he has written/published 19 books since 1979, has a blog, and also writes short stories. Not all of his books can be catchy and interesting. This one also veered into one of my all time favorite topics: animal rights. Boyle had a fascinating take on AR activists, but each character was an overdone stand-in for any real in-depth analysis to take place. And unfortunately, everybody drowns. That's not a spoiler: everybody, from the first chapter, drowns. It's inevitably dull when any tension ends with drowning.
In other news, I attended a very fun A's game today. A's games are always more fun when the A's win, and when you get to win with 10 of your closest friends. OK, 5,000 of your closest friends? Judge for yourself. (click the picture to get it bigger)
The announced attendance was 13,822, and for once, I don't think that's off by more than 5,000. The stadium DID fill in more than that, though the majority of us hid under the overhang, as it was blazingly hot. The picture, taken as usual during the national anthem, was not taken from my assigned seat (I did not get kicked out), but from a seat about 10 rows back, where we sat the entire game to avoid the sun. The shade doesn't usually hit our assigned seats till about the 5th or 6th inning, and it was 90 degrees. Way Too Hot. So my official guessed attendance was about 7000-8000. Maybe 10,000, but I don't even know what that looks like anymore. It was definitely better than earlier this week.
So what next for the A's? I suggest reading at least one of these articles/links/writings about the A's- food for thought (more than any TC Boyle book you're likely to pick up).
A depressing comparison of Walter Haas and Jon Fisher by Baseball Oakland.
Midway Marks by the excellent Todd Van Poppel Rookie Card Retirement Fund (best blog name ever).
Sentimentally, I miss Mark Ellis. He was a classy guy till the end, and clearly was choked up in the part of his press conference that I heard when he heard about his move to the Rockies. I hope that the A's treated him well when they traded him- he had the most tenure with the A's, and was definitely one of the most solid players during that tenure. As we've seen the last 2 years, defense is clearly an underrated commodity. His fielding percentage (until the last month or so) was amazing, and I remember his errorless streak very clearly. An anchor at second is crucial. I get why he was traded, but he was an underappreciated, quiet guy. He was never going to be flashy, and he was never GREAT, but he was good, and he was an A. Weeks is young and sparkly, and the A's need that. Totally understand, but I'm acknowledging that a veteran player, that hasn't bounced around, is also important. Weird to go out to the park and have Coco Crisp or Gio or Cahill be the old-timers on the club. Pennington? Suzuki? Just strange. Life goes on, and I wish the best for Elly.