Game Worn: Baseball Treasures from the Game’s Greatest Heroes and Moments (Smithsonian Books, $34.95) brings baseball history to life through its iconic memorabilia. By Stephen Wong, a lifelong collector of baseball artifacts and the author of Smithsonian Baseball, and photographer Dave Grob, this collection of essays and photographs features one-of-a kind relics from throughout the 20th century, from Ty Cobb’s sharpened spikes to David Cone’s crisp and pristine game uniform, charting the evolving look and recalling the major moments of the game. Richly nostalgic and lovingly rendered, this book will bring baseball fans of all ages back to their youth. Go, team!
Alfred Hitchcock’s life, his films, and the ways in which they intersect are well trodden territories. Peter Ackroyd’s Alfred Hitchcock (Nan A. Talese, $26.95) gives a chronological overview of Hitch’s life and his work. We are guided through the filmmaker’s upbringing in Dickensian London, through war-ravaged Britain, and taken to Hollywood. Ackroyd pays special attention to the director’s Catholicism, his macabre sense of humor, and his grueling work ethic. He also details and analyzes each of Hitchcock’s films. Ultimately, this comprehensive biography shows us just how hard it is to know Hitchcock, a man who directed his life’s story with the same control he wielded in his films.
The moment the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, cameras converged off-field around Bill Murray, whose unwavering fandom of the tormented team heralded the end of their one-hundred-eight-year Billy Goat curse. In The Tao of Bill Murray: Real-life Stories of Joy, Enlightenment, and Party Crashing (Random House, $26), Gavin Edwards uses The Ten Principles of Bill (my favorite being The Second: Surprise is golden; Randomness is lobster), to examine the endearing zen of this actor/comedian/everyman. In addition to highlighting these principles, Edwards attempts to reconcile Murray’s mythic man with his true identity. In doing so, the author aptly assesses Caddyshack, Stripes, and Ghostbusters as developing an onscreen persona where “the wiseass slacker gets the girl,” while revealing Murray’s off-screen identity as an actor who “throws away the script, only to improvise the best scene in the movie.” Edwards also considers the phenomenon of random Bill Murray sightings at archeological digs, weddings, and, most dramatically, at red lights—when fingers cascade to cover the eyes of a waiting pedestrian, only to disappear and reveal our beloved clown who jokingly says, “No one will believe this happened.”