Off the Bookshelf: Before the Home Run

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Short excerpts from long reads

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"He speaks in your voice, American, and there's a shine in his eye that's halfway hopeful. It's a school day, sure, but he's nowhere near the classroom. He wants to be here instead, standing in the shadow of this old rust-hulk of a structure, and it's hard to blame him -- this metropolis of steel and concrete and flaky paint and cropped grass and enormous Chesterfield packs aslant on the scoreboards, a couple of cigarettes jutting from each.

"Longing on a large scale is what makes history. This is just a kid with a local yearning but he is part of an assembling crowd, anonymous thousands off the buses and trains, people in narrow columns tramping over the swing bridge above the river, and even if they are not a migration or a revolution, some vast shaking of the soul, they bring with them the body heat of a great city and their own small day -- men in fedoras and sailors on shore leave, the stray tumble of their thoughts, going to a game." ~ from Pafko At The Wall by Don Delillo

Image credit: Flickr user Ian Ramsley Design + Illustration

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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