Top Five Wednesday: Books Outside my Comfort Zone

Today’s Top Five Wednesday topic is the best books I’ve read outside my comfort zone, which is definitely mystery. I probably had 6-7 books in mind when I came up with my list, but I ultimately stuck with the required five books. I’ve actually talked about all five books at some point either on here or in previous videos, so there really should be no surprise  this time around.

Now watch: It’s quick!

What are the best books you’ve read that fell outside your literary comfort zone?

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February Book Haul

February has come and gone, which means even MORE books! But I’ll be honest. I actually got these in January at the same time as my previous book haul. I even recorded it at the same time because I didn’t want to have a million books in one video.

So let’s just not get all technical with it. We’ll pretend that I didn’t tell you all of that and that these books were actually bought in February. How’s that? Now watch, watch, watch! And tell me which books you brought home this month.

January’s Great Start to 2015

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Photo Credit: The Telecom Blog

I didn’t know what to expect in January. Last year when my blog was still a baby, the entire month of January had a grand total of 38 views. I hadn’t yet adopted my new posting philosophy and I think I still had some posts about my own writing. But last month turned out quite well. It became my third best month ever, only eleven views from taking the second spot. So it was a nice month. Anyway, let’s get on with some stats from the month. I’m changing it up just a bit for the new year. And as always, previous record will be in parenthesis.

Posts: 29 (31)

Likes: 714 (689) New record!

Comments: 604 (2121)

Followers: 2325

Books Read: 4

Poems Posted: 1

Nothing special here. This was actually the first month I ever hit 700 Likes. That’s exciting, but it would be more so if those people would comment instead of just hit Like and move on. Eh. But if you’ve read my previous monthly recaps then you know I’ve added two new categories. I’m going to start including the number of books I read and the number of poems I post in my monthly recaps. It’ll be an easy way to see how close I am to reaching my goal of reading 50 books and posting 25 poems in 2015. Now for some posts.

Top Post

How Helpful are Writing Books?

Favorite Post

Writers, Stop Saying You’re OCD

Post you may Have Missed

Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: #44 Moneyball by Michael Lewis

And just a quick announcement. I’ll be posting everyday in February. Woo! Cause I know you’re so happy to hear that. I typically only miss one or two days a month anyway, but February is such a short month that I don’t see why I can’t just go ahead and post each day. So I will. AND I’m going to be asking y’all an important question in the coming days. Stay tuned!

How was your January?

Amazon’s List of 100 Books Everyone Should Read: #44 Moneyball by Michael Lewis

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Hey look, I’m not waiting months to get my 2015 reading off the ground. I actually started this book last year sometime and I would read and then not and then read. Anyway, I finished it last night and I have some things to say. Remember guys, with the books from the Amazon list I’m just telling you what I think and I’m not going to tell you detail after detail from the books. These aren’t reviews.

This was the fifth book I’ve read from the list since it was released about a year ago. I’m hoping to get a few of these under my belt before this year comes to an end. Now onto the book.

Moneyball

This book follows the 2002 Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. Hopefully some of that sentence rings a bell. Michael Lewis followed the team to get a look inside Oakland’s unorthodox manner of building a professional baseball team. Stats like batting average and stolen bases and runs batted in (RBI) were no longer valued as they had been for all of baseball’s long history. Instead Billy Beane and his staff focused more on on-base percentage (OBP) and sabermetrics. In short, sabermetrics are the statistical study of in-game baseball activity.

During the course of the 2002 season the Oakland Athletics set an American League record of 20 consecutive wins while having the second lowest payroll in all of baseball. They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

My Thoughts

Wow. Just wow. I have to admit that I saw the movie adaptation of this book long before ever picking up the book. Chances are that you have too. Brad Pitt. Jonah Hill. Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations. Yeah. Anyway, so I thought I knew a good bit about the book. Wrong. I knew nothing.

Michael Lewis tells you about the origins of sabermetrics. And how Bill James (a pioneer of sabermetrics) originally wrote for an audience that didn’t exist. No one cared about sabermetrics because they’d never heard of such a thing and figured that baseball people knew what they were doing. It tells the reader a whole lot about how the Oakland Athletics drafted players that were not on other teams’ radars or were heavily undervalued. Lewis puts you in front of these players who sometimes don’t understand why the Oakland Athletics have such interest in them (because no other team does).

But the greatest aspect of this book is how well Billy Beane is described. Billy Beane is the general manager of the A’s and the main subject of the book. See, in the movie we get to see him work his magic during the course of the 2002 season. But in the book we learn so much more. We learn about his playing career. We learn that he was drafted out of high school in the first round and expected to be a Major League outfielder in short time. We learn that he didn’t pan out and ultimately quits baseball to become a scout. The movie is only able to give you snippets of his life prior to his role as the GM.

When the book was originally released in 2003 Billy Beane was the joke of all jokes. Everyone thought he wrote the damn thing to make himself out to be some genius. To make himself out to be smarter than every executive in baseball. But that’s not what I take away from this book. I see a man passionate about his work who refuses to accept mediocrity in its execution and results. And he also didn’t write the book.

All in all, this book far exceeded my expectations. Every baseball fan should read it. I have it ranked as #18 on my list of the best books I’ve ever read. And oh by the way, sabermetrics are used by every baseball team in Major League Baseball today.

The movie is also titled Moneyball.

PS: any newcomers to my blog can check out what I thought of The Fault in Our StarsThe Diary of a Young Girl, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; also from the Amazon list.