My Life with Bob

Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues

by Pamela Paul

Hardcover, 242 pages

"Imagine keeping a record of every book you ever read. What would those titles say about you? With humor and warmth, the editor of The New York Times Book Review shares the stories that have shaped her life. For twenty-eight years, Pamela Paul has been keeping a diary that records the books she reads, rather than the life she leads. Or does it? Over time, it's become clear that this Book of Books, or Bob, as she calls him, tells a much bigger story. For Paul, as for many readers, books reflect her inner life— her fantasies and hopes, her dreams and ideas. And her life, in turn, influences which books she chooses, whether for solace or escape, diversion or self-reflection, information or entertainment. My Life with Bob isn't about what's in those books; it's about the relationship between books and readers. Bob was with her when she struggled to get through the Norton Anthology of English Literature in college and when she read Anna Karenina while living abroad alone. He was there when she fell in love and much needed when she sought solace in self-help and memoirs like Autobiography of a Face. Through marriage and divorce, remarriage (The Master and Margarita) and parenthood (The Hunger Games), professional setbacks and successes, Bob recorded what she read while all that happened. The diary—now coffee-stained and frayed—is the record of a lifelong love affair with books, and has come to mean more to her than any other material possession. My Life with Bob is a testament to the power of books to provide the perspective, courage, companionship, and ultimately self-knowledge to forge our own path"—

The Phenomenon

Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life

by Rick Ankiel and Tim Brown

Hardcover, 292 pages

"On October 3, 2000, 21-year-old pitcher Rick Ankiel took the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals in Game One of the National League division series. All was going well until Ankiel, who'd been lauded as the next Bob Gibson, threw a pitch that missed the mitt—wildly. Then he threw another. Then another, five in all. Slowly at first, then rapidly, his once-impenetrable pitcher's psyche crumbled. He would forever look back on that day as the day the unwelcome, inexplicable Phenomenon arrived. In this book, written with veteran sports journalist Tim Brown, Rick Ankiel tells the story of his personal battle with an anxiety condition widely known as the Yips, the courageous soul-searching that followed, and his eventual triumph over the demons in his own mind to reenter the game. For the next four and a half years after that day in October, Ankiel fought the Yips with every bow in his quiver: psychotherapy, medication, deep breathing exercises, self-help books, and, eventually, vodka. Yet the cure eluded Ankiel, much as the clinical diagnosis eluded the physicians and psychotherapists who studied it. Forced not just to retire from baseball but to reconsider his whole life the age of 25, Ankiel made an amazing turnaround, returning to the major leagues, this time as a hitter. He played seven successful years in the majors, finally retiring in 2013. This book is the story of a once-in-a-generation talent, a man haunted by strange personal demons, and who found the strength to overcome them"—