ningerbil (ningerbil) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 3 and 4

3. Glory Days in Tribe Town, by Terry Pluto and Tom Hamilton. I'm not a huge sports fan, but even I remember the heady days, from 1994 to 1997, when everyone had Tribe fever. After decades of mediocrity, the Cleveland Indians had a new owner, a new stadium, new and promising players and a general feeling of optimism. This combination got the Tribe to the World Series twice- in 1995 and in 1997. Of course, Cleveland sports luck being what it is, we fell just short of winning the whole enchilada (1997 was especially painful), and a series of bad trades and bad decisions after 1997 had our all-too-brief Camelot dreams crash back into reality. This was an enjoyable read, even for a (very) casual fan like me, easy to follow. Some of the more technical numbers went over my head but the book doesn't dwell too much on numbers. Rather, it goes into the stories of the players, the front office, the managers, and there's even sections of the book dedicated to memories submitted by fans. It was interesting how many chances the front office and coaching staff took-- chances that, for the most part, paid off-- offering long-term contracts to young, promising but untried players in hopes of becoming contenders by 1994. Long-term planning, what a concept!
Pluto, a longtime sports writer, and Hamilton, the longtime radio announcer for the Indians, put together a book that humanizes and fleshes out the players that became heroes for so many. There's also a lot of interesting tidbits. One, I didn't know Dick Jacobs, the former owner, grew up in Goodyear Heights- the neighborhood where I grew up. Also, I didn't know about the sweetheart deal former Browns owner Art Modell had at the stadium (basically he paid a dollar to rent the facility and not only got the profits from the Browns, but a percentage from the Indians, who rented from him). I can see why he was so bitter, having that gravy train yanked from him. No sympathy here, on the contrary.
But I digress. This book was a nice walk down memory lane for even me, and bigger fans of baseball should enjoy this.

4. Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style, by Susan Brown. This was my "Merry Christmas To Me" gift over the holidays. I had been drooling over this book for the past couple years but the asking price was a bit rich for my budget. Thankfully, I was able to get this one on sale. I study fashion history as a hobby, and consider my money well-spent on this gorgeous book. Most of the emphasis is on European (especially French, English and German) and American design, with occasional forays into Japan. I can see some people questioning the lack of diversity in the fashions and the models. It's a fair point. But this book still covers a LOT of ground in its more than 400 pages, going from Ancient Egypt to about 2011. The book is mostly short articles and many, many pictures, with notes on specific items. There are several garments, including a few reconstructed pieces, that are highlighted in detail on two pages. What I really liked were the profiles on couture designers and on individuals who broke ground and set the standards for fashion. For a hobbyist like me, this was a wonderful introduction to terms, designers and history. The glossary of terms at the end is also well laid out and organized. I was startled how many words have a different meaning in the fashion sense. Then again, some words in fashion I suspect are the root for some words today, such as bombast. In fashion, bombast is the filler used in medieval times to "puff" up the sleeves and trouser area. Hmmm. This was definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Currently reading: The Dream Hunters, by Steven M. Hamrick, and Dead Giveaway, by Charles Ramsey and Randy Nyerges.
Tags: non-fiction

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