A one-of-a-kind slugger keeps his uniform clean in this chronicle of his days in baseball.

PAPI

MY STORY

The ups and downs of a legendary baseball career.

In an introduction that covers his early years in the Dominican Republic, Ortiz, who co-authored this book with sportswriter and radio host Holley, notes that he defied heavy odds just to survive, much less become a successful professional player. No one who follows baseball will deny that he was an imposing presence or that he was one of the finest clutch hitters of all time. He was a major contributor to the reversal of the historical misfortunes of the Boston Red Sox, beginning with their World Series victory in 2004 and continuing with another in 2007. After the 2013 Patriot’s Day Marathon bombing, Ortiz became one of the voices of “Boston Strong” and helped the team, and the city, to a therapeutic World Series victory. Along the way, there were, of course, bumps in the road. Ortiz feels he was underestimated by his first big league manager, Tom Kelly of the Minnesota Twins, and that his uneven start in the majors was primarily due to this. In 2009, Ortiz was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs and suffered a slump that had many observers suggesting he was finished. His marriage fractured, though he does not say exactly why, and he had more troubles with a manager, this time Bobby Valentine, in 2012, and recurring contract issues. Ortiz describes a few of his teammates, most notably Manny Ramirez, who was both “a hitting genius” and unpredictable and “rude,” and Jon Lester, a pitcher who recovered from cancer to return to the big leagues. Ortiz appears positive, constructive, and determined to succeed, and though he deploys a few vulgarities for effect, nothing upsets his cheerful optimism. There are a few intriguing behind-the-scenes anecdotes, but Ortiz offers little self-critical thought. Readers who have already canonized Big Papi will be reassured, but those who hoped to meet a more rounded, multidimensional human will struggle to find him here.

A one-of-a-kind slugger keeps his uniform clean in this chronicle of his days in baseball.

Pub Date: May 16, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-81461-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2017

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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