THE TWINNING PROJECT
Kirkus- A multi-world adventure starring a band of heroes that readers will want to join.
School Library Journal - exciting premise...and plenty of action
Publishers Weekly - Lipsyte (Center Field) departs from his usual sports themes, bringing a strong sense of character (if not plot) to science fiction in this tale of aliens, parallel worlds, and conspiracy theories.
An Accidental Sportswriter
By ANN LEVIN For The Associated Press
May 2, 2011 (AP)
"An Accidental Sportswriter: A Memoir" (HarperCollins), by Robert Lipsyte: In more than 50 years covering sports, the longtime New York Times columnist Robert Lipsyte prided himself on being a sportswriter who wasn't a fan.
A fat, brainy kid who got beat up in grammar school, Lipsyte majored in English at Columbia University and wanted to be a novelist. "Truth was in the sweep of fiction, I thought, not in a string of little facts," he writes.
But after college, he lucked into a summer job as a copyboy in the Times sports department and fell in love with daily journalism as it was practiced at the Times.
There, with Gay Talese as his mentor, he developed a singular voice that, by temperament and life experience, invariably sided with the underdog. Alert to the social and political changes convulsing the era, he befriended Dick Gregory, eventually collaborating with him on his autobiography. Gregory's scabrous humor about the corrosive affect of racism left a lasting mark.
When Lipsyte was rewarded with a column after 10 years of chasing daily news, including his biggest story, Muhammad Ali, he gravitated to stories with a sharp racial or political edge: lacrosse on an Indian reservation, gay athletes coming out.
"I could enjoy the Kentucky Derby ... as a great horse race, a splendid party and a vignette of Americana only the first couple of times I covered it before issues of class, race and equine exploitation became impossible to ignore," he writes.
Even though he interviewed the greatest sports stars of his era — Ali, Mickey Mantle, Billie Jean King, Lance Armstrong — he never wanted to "god up" the players.
He perceived a bigger story beyond the game scores — something he dubbed Jock Culture, which he saw as a defining aspect of American society. That might sound like a good thing because aren't professional athletes known for hard work and sacrifice? Yes, but people get old and bodies fail, and although athletes may be able to postpone the inevitable with performance-enhancing drugs, eventually they, too, will be used up and discarded.
Jock Culture glorifies the young, the strong and the beautiful, and Lipsyte, the would-be Chekhov, gets the tragic implications. That's why his columns, and this marvelous memoir, "An Accidental Sportswriter," are so affecting.
When readers would hector him about why his work was always so political, at first he put it off on his liberal parents. "Then I thought — now I always think — why isn't everyone else's work more political?"
Heaven is centerfield for Mike Semak, a high school junior whose life has been a straight path to a starting berth on the varsity. And then the path veers as a mysterious girl, an immigrant baseball phenom, and a ruthless coach jolt him into an intense reality.
Kyle Hildebrand, a grandson in a famous NASCAR family, isn't sure he wants his place on the hot seat. But first he has to find out if he is just a driver - or a racer like his older brother.
Matt Rydek, a high school football star on his way to a major college, had it all - a drug habit, a driven father, a vindictive girlfriend and, according to a Publishers Weekly starred review, "a soul-crushing choice...an awful and terrifying ring of truth."
Heroes of Baseball
"A thoroughly entertaining book that reveals stories I had never heard before - about baseball and our country. A sneaky way to teach history."
Jim Bouton, former Yankee pitcher and author of the best-seller "Ball Four."
Alfred Brooks is a high school dropout. His best friend is sinking into drug addiction. A street gang is after him. At Donatelli's Gym, he learns it's the effort, not the win, that makes the man.
“A novel filled with hardship and hope.”
Lipsyte proves again why he is master of the YA sports novel."
-School Library Journal (starred review)
"Terse and thrilling language...a heart-pounding read."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Sonny Bear, Alfred, Henry and Martin meet again at Donatelli's Gym as Starkey appears, savior or stalker or both?
One Fat Summer
“Critics will be polishing up superlatives to describe Lipsyte’s new story, deftly delivered…an intricate, suspenseful tale of family and social relationships.”
In the Country of Illness: Comfort and Advice for the Journey.
The opening passage, in which the author discovers his problem and makes his way from frequent, furtive self-examination to the doctors he refers to as Batman and Robin, reads like an urban ''M*A*S*H''
-Karen Stabiner in The New York Times