Reading The Art of Fielding isn't the literary equivalent of playing the World Series, but it's not slow-pitch softball either. It's like a preseason game against an archrival—a little challenging, but there's not a lot of pressure. Harbach makes many literary allusions (our "Allusions" section can help with those) and his characters talk like super-clever prep-school graduates pretending to be self-aware (think Gossip Girl goes to college in the Midwest). Still, you won't be confused regarding the book's general plot or its characters. You may cramp up, though. This book is long, with a seventh inning that stretches for hours, and then extra innings at the end. Don't worry, though. With a third base coach like us, you're sure to bring it home.