Book Club Blowout – The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Welcome to Book Club Blowout – my monthly feature where I select a book for your book club along with food, drinks, costumes, games, decorations, music, or whatever I can think of to create a perfect themed event to make your book club just a little extra special. With the warm weather comes the start of baseball season, and what better time to feature a baseball-themed book. Today, we are going to get you prepared for your book club with The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Now don’t panic if you’re not a baseball fan, Harbach’s book offers so many other elements to enjoy even if you are not a fan of the sport.
Well if we’re going with a baseball theme, then we’re going all out. Hot dogs, peanuts, nachos, soft pretzels. Serve whatever someone might purchase at a ball game (and not that hoity toity baseball food that you can get at some of the newer, fancier stadiums). You have to go with traditional baseball fare!
Now, most people like a traditional, cold, frothy beer at a game (unless you are not a beer fan like myself, then go for the Mike’s Hard Lemonade – it totally has a summer feel to it with the lemonade factor). If you are a Cubs fan like I am, you remember the good ole days with Harry Caray. You can add a twist to the beverages and honor the great sportscaster by choosing to serve Budweiser (granted most of my friends hate Bud, so you may need to have another option ).
You have a few options on this one. You could wear the jersey of your favorite baseball team, or you can just wear a T-shirt that you might wear to the game of your favorite team. On occasion, there are people who do not have a baseball T-shirt (that’s not common here in Chicago, but for those of you in less crazed sports areas, it may be a possibility. If that is the case, then your guests can wear what they might wear if they were playing in a game – jeans or sweats, a random T-shirt, and some basic gym shoes, and don’t forget your baseball mitt!).
Of course you are going to have to play the infamous “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” – maybe several times. There is no song that is more representative of baseball than that one. Now if you are a Cubs fan (I apologize to all you non-Cubs fans out there, but here in Chicago you are either a Cubs fan or a Sox fan, and you show your pride when possible), Steve Goodman has written multiple songs about the Cubs, including “Go Cubs Go” which is played when the Cubs win a home game (and is easily my favorite part of a game). I would imagine other baseball teams out there have their own songs as well!
If you have an active, sporty group, you can always play catch while your guests are arriving. Someone may even discover a love that they didn’t know they had!
Lit Lovers offers several discussion questions for the novel that I found thought provoking and which really tap into the non-baseball elements.
You may just want to have a baseball game playing in the background to enhance the mood
What goes with baseball more than Cracker Jacks. Send your guests home with a box of Cracker Jacks! They can reminisce over your fabulous book club a day or two later while they snack on your treats!
OK, my last plug as a Cubs fan – you could also offer those crazy Harry Caray glasses as a party favor. Who doesn’t like to remember that man!
Even if you are not a fan of baseball, you are sure to get into this book. Batter up!
What other baseball books would you recommend as a book club selection?