Author of ‘Remember Fenway Park' reads excerpts at Collis

by Erin O'Neil | 10/3/12 10:00pm

Local author and professor in the College's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Harvey Frommer read excerpts from his latest release, "Remembering Fenway Park," at the second annual Dartmouth Book Day Dinner last night in Collis Common Ground. Behind him was a slideshow of photographs taken from the book that corresponded with the many anecdotes and character interviews that he shared with the audience.

Before he began reading, Frommer talked briefly about the work that went into writing and compiling his book, which hit The Boston Globe's bestseller list last June.

"I call it a coffee table book with muscles," he said. "It weighs four pounds, has 100,000 words, more than 200 photos and 140 historical voices."

As a noted oral historian and sports journalist, Frommer has written for publications such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post among many others. The book includes the many voices of players, managers, media, other authors, fans and ballpark workers that Frommer has encountered over years of work in the sports industry.

"I was able to interview Red Sox-connected people, past and present," Frommer said. "All the people that I call stones of the stone wall that I've built called Remembering Fenway.'"

Frommer began by recounting a brief history of the Red Sox for audience members unfamiliar with the baseball team. He then read several notable experiences from his book, including a man who remembers going to Fenway for the first time as a young boy for the Nun's Day Games and thinking it was a regular occurrence, to a fan who remembers parking where the Boston College fraternities currently stand.

"Red Sox fans have been the truest and most loyal fans in the major leagues," Frommer said. "They have been with their team through the bad times, and there were many, many bad times. But there were also many good times."

"Fenway" marks Frommer's 41st sports publication and was released simultaneously with the Red Sox's centennial anniversary. Each chapter is dedicated to a decade of the team's history, and the book contains many never before published photos as well as statistics from over the past century, such as the original Red Sox batting lineup from 1912.

The event was organized by BookeD, which is a student group to promote pleasure reading and community involvement through books and local authors. Julia McElhinney '14 and Vanessa Trinh '14 founded BookeD in an effort to continue Dartmouth Book Day, which was originally organized last year by the President's Office and Kramer Prize. BookeD aims to help connect the Dartmouth community to local authors, according to McElhinney.

"We really wanted a mechanism to truly make it an annual event," McElhinney said. "This year's approach was about community building as opposed to last year's Book Day, which had a more literary analysis approach that required more background preparation."

The event was co-sponsored by Ecovores a group affiliated with the Sustainable Living Center interested in raising awareness on modes of food production who helped cater the event with a compostable and sustainable meal.

"Part of the BookeD mission is to build a truly productive, healthy community," McElhinney said. "We wanted a sit down meal and a more relaxed environment so that people could stay longer and listen and engage."

Following the reading, audience members helped themselves to the baseball-themed dinner, which included the official hotdogs of the Boston Red Sox.

"The Ecovores do a good job of making their presence felt without affecting the experience of the book event," Taylor Watson '16, an ECO Rep a network of environmentally concerned students, faculty and staff said. "The collaboration made the event much more exciting and Dartmouth-spirited."

During dinner, audience members discussed Frommer's book by following discussion questions provided on each table.

"They did a good job picking the topic of baseball, given the number of international students here who may not know as much about baseball as people who grew up here," Watson said. "The questions were well-chosen because they built a community between people that have heard of baseball and people that haven't."

McElhinney said she was extremely pleased with the turnout of the event and hopes continue Dartmouth Book Day and continue to foster Dartmouth's ties to local culture through books in future years.

"Sometimes people forget here that reading can be fun, and we wanted to reintroduce the idea of pleasure reading to the Dartmouth community," she said. "Sharing a great book is one of the best things in the world."

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