Penguins Stopped Play: Eleven Village Cricketers Take on the World

by Harry Thompson | Sports |
ISBN: 0719563453 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 1/13/2018
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, January 13, 2018
I got this hardcover from Better World Books, after seeing it mentioned in the Book Talk forum. It's a dry, rollicking, informative, wacky memoir/travelogue about the author's experiences with his local thoroughly-amateur cricket team as they tackle an around-the-world trip, pitting themselves against other teams - nearly all of which are considerably more talented than they are! There are personal clashes, an ongoing litany of travel mishaps, crushing defeats - and the occasional surprisingly good match.

From the opening scene set on the ice off of Antarctica, where penguins really do stop play, back to the founding of the original team (dubbed the "Captain Scott XI" in honor of South Pole runner-up Scott, hence the Antarctic stop), and then to its various shenanigans leading up to the world tour, I found the book vastly entertaining - and informative, as my knowledge of cricket is based mainly on snippets from the "Lord Peter Wimsey" novels and the fictional exploits of Raffles (professional cricketer and amateur cracksman). While the game does have elements in common with baseball, it also features very, very different aspects, some of which seem truly bizarre to this American! But I give the author credit - even when in the depth of a terminology-laden description of a match, I found that I could follow the gist, as in who was ahead, who was making silly mistakes, who was amazingly talented and/or lucky...

Among the many entertaining anecdotes are those featuring celebrities, often appearing on opposing teams - Hugh Grant, for example ("a foppish and elegant bat who never scored any runs"), and Hugh Laurie; game-based incidents such as the time a bowler (aka "pitcher") was stung by a wasp just as he released the ball, which went wild and struck the non-striker (one of two batters on the pitch at the same time, the one whose turn to hit it was not) in the unmentionables as he was in mid-run, after which it gets more chaotic... That one boggles the mind!

And there's much, much more, including some bleakly hilarious accounts of the ongoing problems had by the author in trying to book the world tour - with most of the headaches attributed to British Airways.

After enjoying this book so very much, I was saddened to learn that the author died shortly after completing it, in 2005, at only 45...

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at New England's Tap House Grille in Hooksett, New Hampshire USA on Friday, February 09, 2018

Released 2 yrs ago (2/9/2018 UTC) at New England's Tap House Grille in Hooksett, New Hampshire USA


I left this book on a rack in the entrance of the taphouse on this grey afternoon; hope the finder enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2018 Great Backyard Bird Count release challenge. See this year's GBBC here. ***

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