Review: Dirk Hayhurst – Bigger Than the Game

Dirk Hayhurst - Bigger Than the GameDirk Hayhurst was one of the first people I followed on Twitter, way back in 2009, and I’ve been keeping a keen eye on him ever since. I absolutely adored his first two books, The Bullpen Gospels and Out of My League, and I was very excited for this one too. When it first came out, I already had a to-read pile longer than my arm, so I left it for a little while before I bought it, but I really wish I hadn’t!

And as I expected, I finished the book within a day, just like the last two. Dirk is the first ballplayer to really let you inside the clubhouse and show you what the world of baseball is really like, and this book shows more of the struggles associated with being that person than the last two books did. During the time period of this book, Dirk is publishing his first book and it’s common knowledge within the clubhouse of his new team. And not everyone is happy with that, in fact, some people are downright angry.

This book contained a lot less baseball than the first two books, and as a result it felt a whole lot more personal. It’s very brave of Dirk to let us in so deep to his life and the struggles he was going through, it’s rare for someone in the public eye to be quite so honest and I found it endeared me to him a whole lot more. Obviously because the events in this book were a couple of years ago and since I’ve been following him on Twitter all this time, I knew how the book was going to end, but I still loved reading the journey.

Living in the UK, it’s kind of hard to get hold of good books about baseball, the local library definitely doesn’t have any. So I’m so glad that I’ve been able to read Dirk’s three books, and I really hope he writes more. His style of writing is so personal that it drags you in so that you feel like you’re experiencing it all along with him.

I’d really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys seeing inside a world that they know nothing about. And I don’t think that you necessarily have to be a baseball fan to enjoy Hayhurst’s books, although you definitely need to have an appreciation of juvenile humour – if an entire chapter devoted to a blocked and rapidly overflowing toilet rapidly turning into a ‘porcelain volcano’ doesn’t sound like your thing, then probably best to steer clear.

5/5

Review: Dirk Hayhurst – Wild Pitches

Dirk Hayhurst - Wild PitchesThis book was in e-book only format, designed as an add-on to Hayhurst’s last book Out of My League. It basically contained extracts that he wrote for the book that didn’t make it into the print copy, but that he though were too good to miss out. Most of the snippets from the e-book were quite funny, although with a few of them, you could tell why they hadn’t made it through into the actual book.

My main complaint was that the book didn’t really seem long enough. It cost about £4, but it only took me an hour to read, so it did seem pretty short. But I suppose that could just be because I was enjoying it so much that I was reading faster than usual.

I do love Hayhurst’s writing, it drags you into the moment and you find yourself laughing along with the characters and some of the more outrageous stories like ‘Do you remember when we had a bear throw out the first pitch and the pitching coach punched it in the face?’. But I especially liked the parts about him meeting and proposing to his wife. Call me a smushy romantic, but it was nice to see the more human side, as opposed to the boys-world of baseball. And the chapter at the end that his wife wrote was a brilliant touch.

I’m giving this book 4/5, but only because I would have liked it to be longer. I can’t wait for Hayhurst’s next full-length book!

4-5

Review: Dirk Hayhurst – Out of My League

dirk-hayhurst-out-of-my-league-e1330855312503It’s been a while since I posted a review, not been feeling great the last few days so had a break from the laptop. But this book was awesome! I kind of knew what to expect from the book after reading Hayhurst’s first book (The Bullpen Gospels), and I most definitely wasn’t disappointed.

This book was just as funny as the first book, it had me laughing out loud quite a few times! Lines like this were just what I expected:

Hitters are stupid, if they weren’t, they’d be pitchers.

The book is refreshingly honest, and gives you a great insight into what life is like for a baseball player, and a better understanding of just how big a difference there is between the lifestyle of the minor leagues and major leagues.

I felt like this book was a lot more personal than the first one, and contained a lot more about his relationship with his girlfriend/fiancee/wife Bonnie. He lets you in on a lot of events in their relationship – the proposal, the wedding, and even a huge argument they had shortly before the wedding after he had pitched a bad game. I liked that this was included, he wasn’t afraid to include the bad parts of himself as well as the good.

The book ends just as he has been claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays, setting up very nicely for book number 3. I have a feeling it’s going to be longer than I would like before it comes out though!

I’d recommend this book to any baseball fan, and also anyone who just wants a good laugh. If you’ve read this book and enjoyed it, you should definitely check out The Bullpen Gospels too. You should also follow him on twitter – @thegarfoose, he’s just about to start playing in the Italian baseball league which should make for some interesting tweets.

5-5

Now Reading: Dirk Hayhurst – Out of My League

dirk-hayhurst-out-of-my-league-e1330855312503I’ve been waiting for this book since I pre-ordered it in October, so I’m very glad that it finally arrived, especially when I started seeing a lot of tweets about people in America reading the book when I still had 2 weeks left until it would be dispatched.

It will be the second book I have read by Dirk Hayhurst, although you may also know him as @thegarfoose on Twitter. His first (The Bullpen Gospels) was fantastic, I remember laughing a LOT when I read it, so I hope this one will be just as good. If it’s anything like the first one, I’ll probably be finished with it by tonight, I just couldn’t put it down.

Now Reading: Jim Bouton & Eliot Asinof – Strike Zone

strike-zone-jim-bouton-and-eliot-asinof-e1329777352178I had a bit of a book-buying-spree last week (someone really needs to stop me!) and bought quite a few baseball books. I’ve read a few in the past (like Josh Hamilton and Dirk Hayhurst) and loved them, so I wanted to read more. The only problem is that it’s quite hard to find them in the UK, so I ended up buying them second hand on Amazon. This one arrived before all the others, for some reason Amazon sent this one by Royal Mail and the others by Yodel. I’ll probably find the others in my bin later this week, if Yodel’s track record is anything to go by.

On a related note, I was quite annoyed to read a lot of tweets this week about people receiving the new Dirk Hayhurst book (Out of My League) in the mail. Amazon says that mine won’t be dispatched until 6th March. I know that it might take longer with it being an American book, but I pre-ordered it at the end of October, so why should I have to wait 2 weeks longer than everyone in America to read it? I guess I’ll just have to be patient!

Now Reading: Alastair Reynolds – Century Rain

alistair-reynolds-century-rain1This book is a sci-fi book (borrowed from Mike), which will be another change for me, I’ve not read much sci-fi before. It looks quite interesting though, I always used to be quite interested in sci-fi tv programs, but somehow fell out of watching them. The description on the back of the book says:

“Century Rain is not just a time-travel story, nor a tale of alternate history. Part hard SF thriller, part interstellar adventure, part noir romance, Century Rain is something altogether stranger.”

I hope to finish this book this weekend. The weather is pretty cold and miserable out, so I will probably just be sitting around the house with Vicky, who is home from uni for a few days. I need to catch up a little bit on my 100 books challenge, I think the last few books have put me back a bit, but there’s still over 10 months left yet, so plenty of time!

On a totally unrelated note, only 12 days until the start of Spring Training! I can’t wait for baseball to start up again, it seems a long time since the end of last season. If anyone has any good baseball books to recommend, leave me a comment! I’ve already pre-ordered Dirk Hayhurst’s new book Out of My League, which is out at the end of this month. If it’s half as good as his first book The Bullpen Gospels, it’s gonna be awesome!