Introducing the FanGraphs Book Club

It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you without a strong book to read to.

Hi, everybody. Opening up this tab really put a smile on my face today. To be honest, I was a bit surprised my login still worked. I would have figured Appelman would have quietly flixed that glitch. He didn’t though, so here I am!

Back in January, when I stepped away from the site, I expressed my desire to form the FanGraphs Book Club. Many of you seemed highly receptive to that idea. In the spirit of saving you a click, here’s what I said:

I should also note that I’m not leaving completely, hence the “For Now” in the title. I titled it as such because David Appelman has graciously agreed to let me start the FanGraphs Book Club. We won’t begin right away — I need to get the store open first — but hopefully around the start of the regular season, I will be back, with the goal of hosting a chat once every four-to-six weeks, on a particular baseball book that we’ll choose together. The idea is that we’ll pick a new baseball book ahead of time, and that book will be available for purchase through my store — in person and online — at a discounted rate. Hopefully, we can have a lot of fun with it, the same way we always have had in the FanGraphs After Dark chats.

OK, so the “around the start of the regular season” part didn’t quite work out. Turns out there’s a lot of work involved with running a bookstore — who knew!?!?! — but I’m ready now. I think. Let’s just pretend I am, OK? Deal? Deal.

So, how do we do an online book club you ask? That’s a fantastic question, and I’m certainly open to suggestions, but here’s my plan for now. First, I’ve created a Facebook Group on my bookstore’s page called FanGraphs Book Club. Very exotic, I know. It’s here that I expect we can have an ongoing discussion, probably mostly about the upcoming book selections. I want to hear what books you all are reading.

Once a book is chosen, we’ll all go out into the world and read it, hopefully. Or at least get the Spark notes. Or watch the movie. Or ask someone about it on Twitter maybe? Something. If you’d like to purchase that book from my store, you’ll be able to do that because I’ll be sure to stock it. You’ll even be able to buy it from my remotely through my store’s webstore, and I’ll ship it to you. I’ll even write you a personal note, if you like, because I love you that much!

Finally, each month or each book-club period, I’ll host a live chat right here like I mentioned previously. It’ll be a good time. If the author is a living person who likes to participate in chats about their book, I’ll see if I can get said author to join us for part of our discussion.

As for what books we should choose, I’m open to any kind of baseball book — history, statistical, current events, even fictional if baseball really plays a central role in the book. I’d like us to choose them all together — shout out which books you think we should start with in the comments (or, alternatively, if there’s an interest in me choosing the first book, also say so in the comments).

I’m hopeful that all of you want to talk about baseball books with me — that you’ll sign up for our Facebook group and come to the chats. This honestly isn’t about me making more money (though that would certainly be a nice silver lining), it’s about trying to marry my old career and new career. Because let’s face it, I miss you guys!

Paul Swydan used to be the managing editor of The Hardball Times, a writer and editor for FanGraphs and a writer for and The Boston Globe. Now, he owns The Silver Unicorn Bookstore, an independent bookstore in Acton, Mass. Follow him on Twitter @Swydan. Follow the store @SilUnicornActon.

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5 years ago
5 years ago
Reply to  Forrest

Nine Innings by Roger Angell is a fantastic book.

Matthew Emember
5 years ago
Reply to  lgfontana

Daniel Okrent, not Angell.

5 years ago
Reply to  Matthew E

Sorry, I was thinking of “Five Seasons” by Angell. My apologies. Okrent’s book is excellent.