Christopher Beha in conversation with Bill James: THE INDEX OF SELF-DESTRUCTIVE ACTS

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Christopher Beha celebrates the paperback release of his National Book Award-longlisted novel, The Index of Self Destructive Acts, with the influential baseball thinker who gave the book its title: Bill James, the father of Sabermetrics. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Beha tackles finance, faith, war, entitlement, and no end of self-destructive acts. I greatly admired both the writing and the ambition.” —Ann Patchett

  • New York Times Editors’ Choice
  • Longlisted for the National Book Award
  • Finalist for the Gotham Book Prize
  • A Best Book of the Year at KirkusThe Christian Science MonitorLibrary Journal, and BuzzFeed

What makes a life, Sam Waxworth sometimes wondered—self or circumstance?

On the day Sam Waxworth arrives in New York to write for the Interviewer, a street-corner preacher declares that the world is coming to an end. A data journalist and recent media celebrity—he correctly forecast every outcome of the 2008 election—Sam knows a few things about predicting the future. But when projection meets reality, life gets complicated.

His first assignment for the Interviewer is a profile of disgraced political columnist Frank Doyle, known to Sam for the sentimental works of baseball lore that first sparked his love of the game. When Sam meets Frank at Citi Field for the Mets’ home opener, he finds himself unexpectedly ushered into Doyle’s crumbling family empire. Kit, the matriarch, lost her investment bank to the financial crisis; Eddie, their son, hasn’t been the same since his second combat tour in Iraq; Eddie’s best friend from childhood, the fantastically successful hedge funder Justin Price, is starting to see cracks in his spotless public image. And then there’s Frank’s daughter, Margo, with whom Sam becomes involved—just as his wife, Lucy, arrives from Wisconsin. While their lives seem inextricable, none of them know how close they are to losing everything, including each other.

Sweeping in scope yet meticulous in its construction, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts is a remarkable family portrait and a masterful evocation of New York City and its institutions. Over the course of a single baseball season, Christopher Beha traces the passing of the torch from the old establishment to the new meritocracy, exploring how each generation’s failure helped land us where we are today. Whether or not the world is ending, Beha’s characters are all headed to apocalypses of their own making.

ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Christopher Beha is the editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of two previous novels, What Happened to Sophie Wilder and Arts & Entertainments, and a memoir, The Whole Five Feet. His writing has appeared in the New York Review of Books, the New York Times, and the London Review of Books. He lives in New York City with his wife and family.

Bill James is an American baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose. In 2006, Time named him in the Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. In 2003, James was hired as senior advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox.

 

Event date: 
Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
https://www.crowdcast.io/e/christopherbeha
The Index of Self-Destructive Acts Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781951142698
Availability: This book is in stock at our warehouse and will be at the Raven within 3-5 Business Days, once they've shipped it to us.
Published: Tin House Books - April 13th, 2021

“Beha tackles finance, faith, war, entitlement, and no end of self-destructive acts. I greatly admired both the writing and the ambition.” —Ann Patchett


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