Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oh Steve Kluger, how much emptier my life would be without you

So in celebration of my forthcoming birthday, my amazing mother bought me something absurd like 11 items off my media wishlist (plus she ordered them all used AND from independent booksellers through Alibris, so I can't even pretend to have socially responsible moral outrage about it. Which I wouldn't anyways, but I feel like a good daughter would try to seize whatever flimsy excuse she could to prevent her mother from spoiling her. I have no such qualms). This means that for the past week there've been 1-2 new books in my mailbox every time I come home, which is a little bit the best thing ever.

On the downside, I've literally run out of room for cookbooks. This is not an exaggeration. (We live in a house with exactly one drawer, remember?) Please prevent me from buying any more cookbooks ever again until we move.*

On the upside, the sheer randomness with which these books have been appearing on my doorstep has been absolutely breathtaking. Sandwiched between such works of art as Jamaica Kincaid's At the Bottom of the River and Dorothy Roberts' Killing the Black Body and Ronald Takaki's Strangers from a Different Shore have been such gems as today's arrival: Changing Pitches. That's right, Rebecca - Steve Kluger's gay baseball novel! It's out-of-print, impossible to find, and not supposed to be particularly good. But R&R&I have a longstanding loyalty to Mr. Kluger on the strength of Last Days of Summer, and I also appreciate him for the hugely enjoyable if mostly forgettable Almost Like Being In Love. I saw this bad boy at a used bookstore once upon a time and knew I had to read it someday. I mean THIS is what it says on the back:

Washington Senators star Scotty MacKay is a left-handed pitcher whose fastball isn't what it used to be. His team is in last place. His girlfriend just got an acting job as a pitcher of Kool-Aid on a TV commercial. And if that isn't enough, he's just been teamed with a catcher he detests: Jason Cornell. Jason is twenty-eight, has lots of teeth, and poses for underwear ads. He's blond and has blue eyes. Scotty's favorite color is blue... By August, Scotty's got a major league problem on his hands.

Tell me they did not just use the phrase "major league problem."

Seriously, with a description this bad it's GOT to be amazing. And the catch is that Steve Kluger is actually quite a good writer - I mean, I sat through all 200-odd pages of Patricia Nell Warren's crappy so-called classic The Front Runner, I fully admit to having embarrassingly low standards for my gay novels. But when I get one that's actually a good read, it just makes me appreciate it all the more.

Oh! And the best part is the COVER! Oh my god, so bad! No wonder the poor Book Rack in Springfield, IL couldn't get this one off the shelves fast enough. Let's see... is it this hilariously suggestive image?

Nope... hmmm... how about THIS confusingly similar yet somehow even more suggestive one?

Nope. If it's so bad it's not even on Google Images, then it MUST be:

That's right... the kind of book that you would be embarrassed for even your husband to see you reading, if he hadn't already asked to read it after you've finished.

*This is the part where Rebecca politely doesn't tell you about the email I sent her yesterday about how I plan on getting myself a copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven't actually bought it yet. But let's be honest, it's only a matter of time. If I'm truly weak, I'll probably pre-order it.


  1. i definitely went through like, 90% of this post assuming rebecca had written it because of the kluger-fixation, and thinking, WOW rebecca's mom shops EARLY.

    ps can i borrow that book sometime?? awesome.

  2. Hee, she picked up my fixation nicely, no? Steve Kluger is maybe 50% of authors we can actually agree on. (Cynthia Voigt? Anyone else kt?) I'll also need to be borrowing that book, btw.

  3. Hmmm, should I mention the 3 cookbooks you still have at the house: Laurel's Kitchen, the Essential Vegetarian with the great photos, and the detested Crescent Dragonwagon's vegetarian cookbook? xoxox N