Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Are They Reading? And Why?

I was listening to The Joey Reynolds Show (which has reruns broadcast on WINA-AM in Charlottesville early Sunday mornings) and heard an interview with one of the authors of Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The interview intrigued me, so I went to look up the book on, where this description can be found:

The authorized tie-in book to the 100th anniversary of this beloved song. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" is the third most frequently sung song in America, after "Happy Birthday" and "The Star-Spangled Banner," and you'd be hard-pressed to find an American who doesn't know the words. With the release of this special edition, full-color, hardcover book, the complete story of the song is presented, taking us on a fascinating journey into how "Ball Game" has come to take a unique place in our cultural landscape. With images of historical newspaper clippings, baseball cards, sheet music, movie stills, ballplayers at the mic, and of course, Harry Caray leading the crowd at Wrigley, Baseball's Greatest Hit also comes packaged with a CD of rare and classic recordings, including performances by Dr. John, Arturo Sandoval, George Winston, Harry Caray and many more. Features an introduction by baseball commissioner Bud Selig and a foreword by Carly Simon. Baseball's Greatest Hit is a gorgeous celebration, not only of a song, but of baseball, music, pop culture, and the creative ways that Americans have always taken popular music and made it their own. And as the book traces the song's evolution over the last 100 years, it also traces the evolution of American culture - from the early days of Tin Pan Alley and sheet music pluggers; through the early role of women as baseball players and fans; through movie musicals, baseball's expansion west, rock and roll, and modern ballparks; right up to the present-day when in July 2007 more than 50 Hall of Famers came together to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" in Cooperstown.

On the radio, the author, Robert Thompson, pointed out that neither the composer nor the lyricist of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" attended a baseball game until long after they wrote the song. That, in itself, is intriguing (as I said).

But talk about something really provocative! Look at what turned up when I added the book to my Amazon wish list:

In case you can't read the screen shot (click to embiggen), it says

Customers who bought Baseball's Greatest Hit: The Story of Take Me Out to the Ball Game also bought:

The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch (Author), Jeffrey Zaslow (Author)
Price: $12.07

We Would Have Played for Nothing: Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk About the Game They Loved (Baseball Oral History Poject)
by Fay Vincent (Author)
Price: $16.50

The Bush Tragedy
by Jacob Weisberg (Author)
Price: $17.16

Now, I can understand why people who add a book about "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to their wish lists might also be interested in Fay Vincent's book -- the one in the middle -- but what is the connection of baseball to a book by a dying scientist and to another book that is a critical biography of George W. Bush?

The most erudite commentator on America's national pastime, George F. Will, might be the only person who could scrutinize and explain this mystery.

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