Kathy Wicks: Surefire hits for Cubs fans

Kathy Wicks: Surefire hits for Cubs fans

Spring is finally here. It's the time of the year when the weather gets warmer and plants revive. A time of rebirth. A time to buy peanuts and Cracker Jack — and root, root, root for the Cubbies!

Undoubtedly, you've heard the news. In 2016, the Cubs won the National League Championship Series and the World Series, ending a 71-year National League pennant and 108-year World Series drought. And now with the start of a new baseball season comes the dream of a Cubs repeat and two new book titles that celebrate the team that won the hearts of generations of fans.

Scott Simon is an American journalist, host of NPR's "Weekend Edition," lifelong Chicagoan and long-suffering Cubs fan. In "My Cubs: A Love Story," Simon takes a romantic look at pivotal moments in Cubs history through personal reflections that define the difference between love and loyalty. It captures with all the sentiment of a passionate lover the highs and lows of being a Cubs fan with a devotion that defies comparison.

Simon dedicates much of "My Cubs" to the current team and the intense emotions that characterize the final days of the 2016 season. But he also shares vignettes of life growing up in Chicago and going to school near Wrigley Field, sharing his love for his beloved Cubs with his father and grandfather and now his wife and daughters. "Being a Cubs fan," Simon says, "is my nature, my heritage and probably somewhere in my chromosomes."

In "The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse," Tom Verducci takes readers behind the scenes to chronicle what is undoubtedly one of the greatest sports stories of a lifetime.

Devoting chapters to each game in the 2016 series, Verducci presents the play-by-play and the strategy that transformed a perpetually challenged team into the best in baseball.

A skilled and in-depth storyteller, Verducci begins "The Cubs Way" with Theo Epstein's first season with the team in 2012.

Focusing on the mental side of the game as well as the physical, Epstein turned to Joe Maddon to motivate and inspire the team to find its edge and break the 108-year curse.

The book includes color photos — one that portrays Maddon's World Series game seven lineup card with his handwritten notations.

Both "My Cubs" and "The Cubs Way" are recent book releases that share, from two unique perspectives, the story behind a significant achievement in the history of the World Series.

Simon writes about his lifetime fan crush with the Cubs, while Verducci celebrates the designing path of a World Championship team.

Irrespective of your team devotion, consider the words of Simon, who shares a lesson from the 2016 baseball season: "Loving the Cubs has taught a lot of us, not just Cubs fans, that life is more about trying than winning; and trying again; and then again."

Kathy Wicks is the associate director at the Urbana Free Library. She received her master's of library and information science from the University of Illinois and her master's of science in education from Texas A&M University. She is celebrating 37 years working in libraries — both academic and public. She enjoys reading, writing and photography and is a regular participant in marathons and half marathons.

Sections (1):Living
Topics (1):Books

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