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JE: A couple months ago, Little Brown’s Executive Vice President and Publisher Michael Pietsch sent me Chad Harbach’s debut, The Art of Fielding, which is due out this fall. Since I relish any opportunity to repeat myself, this is what I had to say:

“Spectacular! The Art of Fielding is a wise, warm-hearted, self-assured, and fiercely readable debut, which heralds the coming of a young American writer to watch. Harbach’s characters live and breathe, yearn, ache, and in the end, make you love them for their flaws. You won’t want this book to end.”

And by the way, here’s what that OTHER Jonathan had to say (the one with the glasses that Oprah likes so much): “Reading The Art of Fielding is like watching a hugely gifted young shortstop: you keep waiting for the errors, but there are no errors. First novels this complete and consuming come along very, very seldom.”

Not to scare non-sports fans off, because being a baseball fan is not a prerequisite for loving this campus novel, but rarely has baseball been written about this well in fiction. This is the kind of novel that could actually make a baseball fan out of somebody.

You’re gonna’ hear a lot about this book in the next six months, but I wanted to get the conversation started early, right here at Three Guys. On another Little Brown note–they just acquired friend-of-the-blog Maria Semple’s second novel, Bernadette, Past and Present, which will come out next summer, and yes, I blurbed that one, too. And it also kicks serious ass. I’ll save that for a later post. In the meantime, start anticipating one of the best novels you’ll read this year, Harbach’s The Art of Fielding.