Friday, February 27, 2009

Searching for 'The Southpaw'

Not to change the subject from the great journalism topic we’ve had going on here the last couple days, but… well, here we go.

I really wanted to read Mark Harris’ “The Southpaw” next in my baseball novel series. The book is the basis of this very blog, for it introduces the character of Henry Wiggen to the world.

But I’m running into roadblocks. After lots of searching, I haven’t been able to find the book.

My search started at Half Price Books in Westport. No luck. Then I checked the Olathe branch of Half Price Books. Nothing. I even did something drastic, almost unheard of in today’s world: I walked into my local public library. They didn’t have a copy, nor did any of the library’s other branches. (It wasn’t a completely fruitless trip, though; I picked up books by Charles Portis and Cormac McCarthy I’d been meaning to read, and I got on the waiting list for the “Watchmen” graphic novel, so I can nerd up before the movie comes out next month.)

I even checked a few other local booksellers. Still nothing.

So I might have to exercise the Amazon option.

In the meantime, I’ve started to read “The Celebrant,” by Eric Rolfe Greenberg. It was between that, “The Natural” or “The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop.” All of them are great books. But last night I was looking at my bookshelf and I noticed this blurb on the front of “The Celebrant”:

“Simply the best baseball novel ever written.”

That quote was given by W.P. Kinsella, author of “Shoeless Joe,” the book I just finished. That was the only sign I needed.

(By the way, W.P., we all appreciate your honesty, but you really kinda shot yourself in the foot there.)

--Matt Kelsey


  1. Actually, I agree with W.P. and, in my humble, number two would be A Ticket for a Seamstitch.

  2. Can't believe it's so hard to find that Harris classic. But you should be able to find a cheap copy SOMEWHERE on the 'net.