At the Sun-Gazette, staff members tend to read. A lot. So we thought we would share what we're reading and let you know how they fare.
Submissions from the community also are encouraged and may be mailed to the Lifestyle Department, 252 W. Fourth St., Williamsport, PA 17701 or emailed to email@example.com.
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Reader: Mike Reuther, political and business reporter.
What I read: "A Pitch for Justice" by Harold Kasselman
Synopsis: A young Major League pitcher faces possible consequences for unleashing a fatal pitch that kills an opposing player.
Stats: Amazon Digital Services Inc., 325 pages.
What I thought: What would happen if a Major League pitcher threw a ball that struck and killed an opposing player?
Should the pitcher face trial? What criminal charges would he face?
Author Harold Kasselman, a former prosecutor and defense attorney, decided to put together a legal thriller that explores these questions.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tim Charles is the ballplayer who throws the pitch that kills a New York Mets player.
Jaime Brooks is the somewhat reluctant prosecuting attorney who agrees to take on the case.
He's a big baseball fan and is very much aware that the unwritten baseball code of pitchers throwing at hitters - without necessarily trying to hit them - has long been part of the game.
The author does a nice job introducing the story and the events that lead up to the fatal pitch.
There's bad blood between the Phillies and the Mets, and the task of sending a message to the Mets falls to Charles.
The young hurler is a big talent, capable of throwing a ball 100 mph.
He has never thrown his overpowering fastball at hitters.
But in this case, what actually happened?
That's the big question in this story.
Much of the novel is played out in the courtroom prior to and during the ultimate trial.
Kasselman knows the legal world well.
Beyond that, the characters are believable, especially Brooks, a divorced veteran lawyer thinking of retirement who finds himself falling in love once again.
The Phils manager, a no-nonsense, old-school, hard-drinking sort, is facing trial along with Charles for apparently giving the go ahead for the fatal pitch.
There's the victim's angry widow determined to see justice done, no matter the costs.
The author breathes life into a story that explores some difficult questions while not getting bogged down in too much incomprehensible legalese.
Readers of "A Pitch for Justice" will likely share my experience as they near the end of this story: Clicking away the pages of their e-reading devices to find out if Charles will be convicted or acquitted.
What I'm reading next: "Between a Smile and a Tear" by Robert Buchianerri.
Staffer: Tara D. McKinney, correspondent
What I read: "Sweet Tooth," by Ian McEwan.
Synopsis: Serena Frome is a gorgeous and semi-brilliant student at Cambridge University.
Unfortunately, she has forsaken her love of literature to please her mother and ends up floundering along as a mathematics major.
Serena's love life is fraught with awkward fumblings and unfortunate revelations.
Upon recommendation by one of her lovers, an elderly English tutor, she is recruited by MI5, the English intelligence agency.
It is her compulsive reading and beauty that make her a perfect undercover agent with a mission to manipulate current writers' works to support government ideals. This covert operation is known as "Sweet Tooth."
Serena's work causes her to pursue up and coming author, Tom Haley.
Initially, it is his stories she falls in love with. Shortly after meeting him, she falls for the man himself.
Her work for MI5 and romantic relationship with Tom Haley are at cross-purposes.
Serena must hide her identity from the author and her relationship with him from MI5.
As time moves forward, Serena's two worlds are destined to collide.
Stats: Published by Nan A. Talese in 2012, 320 pages
What I thought: I read Ian McEwan's new book because of how much I enjoyed one of his other novels, "Atonement."
In comparison, "Sweet Tooth," was a funnier, but far less compelling read.
One of the aspects of the book that didn't quite make sense was the multi-faceted personality of the main character Serena.
She is intelligent, clueless, fickle, stoic, charming, annoying, thoughtful and self-absorbed - an interesting, but unlikely combination of character traits.
Her quest for sexual attention is quite sad and points toward her daddy issues.
Reading about Serena's sexual and professional missteps was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
At times the book plodded along and I wanted to skim ahead through the boring passages, such as descriptions of Serena's apartment and roommates.
I did feel as though I was immersed in 1970's Cold War-era London complete with stuffy government office buildings, fallout from the hippy movement, and glass ceiling for women in the workplace.
The only parts of the novel I truly enjoyed were the main character's references to other literature and the stories within the story, written by Tom Daley, Serena's love interest.
Labeling this novel as a spy thriller is something of a misnomer.
The spy elements of the book were few and far between with most of the action taking place when Serena and her colleague are sent on a secret mission, to clean a filthy safe house.
Instead of strapping on guns and transporting microfiche, the women in British Intelligence put on rubber gloves or carry files to the offices of their male superiors.
If English spy thriller is what you are looking for, skip "Sweet Tooth," and read "Trapeze," by Simon Mawer instead.
What I'm reading next: "The Anatomist's Apprentice," by Tessa Harris.