Robyn's Reads: January 2017

11:43:00 AM

Its the end of the month, so that means another roundup of books I read. This month was so much fun for me! I feel like I had the perfect amount of variety in what I was reading and it was a strong start to what I think will be a great year!

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ?  (GOODREADS)

My Thoughts: I liked this one a lot. It was the perfect quick read, feel good story that I wanted. The layout of the story was interesting, changing between reading the emails and chats between Beth and Jennifer and then normal chapters explaining Lincoln's view. It broke up the story nicely and helped me as a reader to be following the story through Lincoln's perspective. That was another interesting thing I liked, it was this romantic comedy from the perspective of the man rather than the woman.

Overall, you get exactly what you expect. Heartwarming, funny, and it keeps you reading so you can find out just exactly how Beth and Lincoln finally meet.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

Summary: Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.

Lewis was in the room with the A's top management as they spent the summer of 2002 adding and subtracting players and he provides outstanding play-by-play. In the June player draft, Beane acquired nearly every prospect he coveted (few of whom were coveted by other teams) and at the July trading deadline he engaged in a tense battle of nerves to acquire a lefty reliever. Besides being one of the most insider accounts ever written about baseball, Moneyball is populated with fascinating characters. We meet Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher who most teams project to be a 15th round draft pick (Beane takes him in the first). Sidearm pitcher Chad Bradford is plucked from the White Sox triple-A club to be a key set-up man and catcher Scott Hatteberg is rebuilt as a first baseman. But the most interesting character is Beane himself. A speedy athletic can't-miss prospect who somehow missed, Beane reinvents himself as a front-office guru, relying on players completely unlike, say, Billy Beane. Lewis, one of the top nonfiction writers of his era (Liar's Poker, The New New Thing), offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane's economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike. --John Moe  (GOODREADS)

My Thoughts: Moneyball blew me away, I seriously loved it. Brett and I saw the movie when it first came out, and I loved the idea behind it back then. Since, I have read a few other books by Michael Lewis that I enjoyed so when I opened this on Christmas (courtesy of Brett, of course) I was really excited to get going.

Yes, it was heavy on statistics and statistical modeling. Yes, that made parts of the book a little dense. Yes, it is still readable. It helped that I already knew a lot of the acronyms from following and playing baseball/softball all growing up, I had just fallen out of touch with it. But if you don't know what a certain statistic means, its usually explained anyway.

That being the case, I love how Lewis decided to write about statistical analysis of baseball using a narrative and following a season with the Oakland Athletics. It offered tangible examples so you could see results unfolding through the story as he explained them. What I thought was interesting was that in the afterword Lewis says that he didn't set out to write a book about the Athletics, but a book about saber metrics (this type of analysis), and that the Athletics were the only ones doing it enough to use as material. Since the early 2000s other teams (like the Red Sox) have picked up this technique, but at the time the book was very controversial within the professional baseball world.

Basically I want to talk about this book with anyone. I called my dad and talked for over an hour about baseball, I'm forcing Brett to read it so that we can talk about the nitty gritty details. I was a super annoying person the whole time I read it because I kept saying "Oh wow! Listen to this..." But its okay, he says he still loves me.

If you are interested in baseball or statistics at all, go read this. And then come talk to me about it.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Harry Potter 5 &  6

Like I said when I started rereading the series a couple moths ago, I think I might save all my thoughts until I finish. Or maybe I won't even share them here? Do people want to talk about Harry Potter anymore? I just wanted to reread a series I know I love for pure selfish enjoyment, so that's why I started. I have been reading one HP, one not-HP, one HP, one not-HP until I finish them all off.

Possibilities for Next Month: 
Follow the River
That Used to Be Us
Better Than Before
Still Alice

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