Field of Daydreams
JIM LEHRER TELLS A MOVING TALE OF BASEBALL AND OBSESSIVE LOVE.
ON M Y
Good as Gold
(Simon & Schuster)
“Joe Heller sent
it to me and said,
‘Your dad is in it.’
I finally have
gotten the cour-
age to read it.”
The host of PBS’s The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer brings a
reporter’s curiosity to novels that explore the restlessness and
yearning in the American spirit. In Oh, Johnny (Random House), Lehrer’s 18th
novel, an ex-Marine has two great ambitions: to find and marry the girl he met at
a Kansas train station during World War II and to become a pro baseball player.
Q: Which do you enjoy more—anchoring the news or writing novels?
A: I’m one of those fortunate people who can love two things at the same time.
Q: How do you get the inspiration for your novels?
A: I got my idea for Oh, Johnny while visiting Wichita, Kansas, where I grew
up. I remembered when I was about 10 and saw a troop train come through.
I still go to Wichita occasionally—it’s kind of my writing escape place. It was
Bernard Malamud who said that if you’re going to write fiction, you’d better
never, ever let your mind go beyond about 16 years old. Maybe that’s what
helps me—I’m back being a kid again.
Q: As a storyteller, do you think the ’08 presidential candidates’ personal
narratives were important to the election’s outcome?
A: I think the election proved that the story is more important than anything
else. Obama began as someone nobody even knew, so people had to find out
who he was, in addition to his ideas. It boiled down to “With whom am I the
most comfortable in this crisis?” And it had as much to do with tone and style
as with issues. —Diane Brown
A. How to Live: A Search for Wisdom
From Old People BY HENRY ALFORD
(TWELVE). Seeking valuable life lessons,
the author interviews a range of elders,
from comedian Phyllis Diller to scholar
Harold Bloom. A notable finding: Older
people seem to bounce back from adversity faster than younger folks do.
B. Hunting Eichmann BY NEAL BASCOMB
(HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT). A sus-penseful journalistic account of the
events leading to the Nazi Adolph Eichmann’s capture in 1960 after he eluded
Israeli intelligence for 15 years.
C. Why We Make Mistakes BY JOSEPH T.
HALLINAN (BROADWAY BOOKS). Fun facts
that explain such common foibles as
why we’re unduly swayed by first impressions and why our memory for PIN
numbers and passwords is so lousy.
D. When You Lie About Your Age,
the Terrorists Win BY CAROL LEIFER
(VILLARD). The standup comic (and
Seinfeld writer) comments wryly on
collagen binges, class reunions, and
being old enough to have seen the
Beatles at Shea Stadium.
E. The Yankee Years BY JOE TORRE AND
TOM VERDUCCI (BROADWAY BOOKS). The
former New York Yankees manager tells
how he led the team to record wins.
FROM LEFT: JOSHUA ROBERTS; ILLUSTRATION BY ANTONY HARE
We’ve loved it, cried over
it, and cringed at it more
than any other book or
movie. Film critic Molly
Haskell looks at the en-
during role the epic Gone
With the Wind has played
in our lives, in her new book, Frankly, My
Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited
(Yale University Press). ;