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The Art of Fielding
A Novel
Chad Harbach
read on May 1, 2013

This was pretty much, if not entirely, a waste of time. The book is on a lot of best-of-2012 lists, which I really don't understand. I'm not exactly target demo for a lot of these fiction books, but I really don't see what the draw was here. The characters were surprisingly one dimensional. They all seemed to go through pretty predictable development arcs, but those arcs didn't even really lead anywhere.

Tangent: I think the reason we enjoy art, and especially narrative driven art like books and movies, is at least partly because of the idea that through empathy you can prepare your brain to understand complex, novel situations, without having to actually experience them yourselves. Death, love, betrayal, etc are all very hard things to get "right", and costly to endure. But if you're able to experience those things through art (or dreams), you're presumably better off for when they inevitably happen to you. This idea was well developed and supported in How The Mind Works.

This book prepared me for nothing. It was marginally entertaining to read, but I'm truly no better for it. The cover is a different story though! Not many designers are able to actually pull off all-typography covers, but I think this one looks nice and even captures some of the spirit of the book. Well done.

Author Bio:

Chad Harbach (born 1975) is an American writer. An editor at the journal n + 1, he is the author of the 2011 novel The Art of Fielding.