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on 5 May 2013
The film Field of Dreams is based on Shoeless Joe by W P Kinsella, first published in 1982, which has just been published in a new edition in the UK by The Friday Project. I had never seen the film and had no preconceptions about the book, which turned out to be a delightfully surreal fantasy about a man called Ray Kinsella, whose dream is to use a field on his Iowa farm as a place where dead baseball stars can play. As a young man, Ray's father was a pretty good baseball player, though not in the same league as the famous stars who begin to show up at Ray's farm to play baseball. It's Ray's dream for his father to join them. He also conceives a plan to cheer up the reclusive writer J D Salinger by taking him to a baseball game, as he mistakenly believes that Salinger loves baseball as much as he does. He ends up `kidnapping' Salinger, with Salinger's consent, and taking him back to Iowa.

It's a charming story. You don't need to know anything about baseball and you don't need to care about sport - I don't know about baseball and I don't care about sport, and I enjoyed the book. It's about a man's dreams and his attempt to fulfill them, and to make others happy as he does it.
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on 25 April 2015
Seen the film and read "Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams' Doc" by Brett Friedlander, and thought I'd drag out my ancient and well worn copy of "Shoeless Joe", which I then found on Kindle in a more recent edition.
The true story of Doc Graham differs little from that as told in Shoeless Joe though obviously both books differ slightly from the movie which I must add is only one of two or three movies that can have me "filling up".
As a Baseball fan, I'm British and have always lived in the UK I do have a pretty good knowledge of Shoeless Joe, The Black Sox Scandal, the rigging of the 1919 World Series and the history of baseball so knew most of the characters involved. However, I do not believe a comprehensive knowledge of Baseball is necessary to enjoy this book, my former wife who called Baseball "Big Boy's Rounders" and whose only interest in life was spending my money as fast as I earned it even managed to finish the book, though in her opinion it was simply "alright"! And this is a person whose only interest in Current Affairs was reading her, and ultimately my Horrorscopes! I spelt that wrong deliberately by the way, and why didn't it tell me to clear off years earlier?
I've ignored all the literary critics who say it is a deeply flawed novel and badly written, it is neither of those things, enjoy it as I and many others have done for simply being what it is a bit of fantasy based on real historical events, and you may even shed a little tear at the end! Enjoy!
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on 18 March 2013
Most people will probably arrive at this book as I did - after watching the Kevin Costner classic film Field of Dreams, which was based on W. P. Kinsella's novel. The plots are largely similar, although certain changes were made for the film, some for the better, others not so much. While I still think the film is a tighter, more cohesive version, the book is every bit as touching and inspirational, and even though I have no clue about baseball terminology I still found myself wrapped up in the game's wonderful mythology. So good I bought a number of other baseball books and films, and it left me wishing for more of Kinsella's writing.
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Shoeless Joe by W P Kinsella is the classic novel that inspired the film Field of Dreams. Originally written and published back in 1982, Shoeless Joe is part of the backlist of Kinsella's books acquired by HarperCollins imprint The Friday Project and was published by them on 14 March 2013.

The Friday Project is to publish a new novel by W P Kinsella called the Butterfly Winter, and his eight other backlist titles will follow in 2014.

So, back to Shoeless Joe. I have to hold up my hands to two things. First, I've never seen the film Field of Dreams and second, I know nothing about baseball. This is a novel about baseball, but it is also most certainly a novel of love and dreams and how a person's power of belief can make things happen.

Ray Kinsella lives on a remote farm with his wife Annie and their small daughter. Ray is obsessed with baseball. Most of his life events are connected in some way to the game, he remembers his father according to the baseball stories that he told him. Most of all, Ray is obsessed with Shoeless Joe - his hero who was banned from the game after the match-fixing Black Box Scandal in 1919. One day, when looking out across his land, Ray hears a voice

"If you build it, he will come"

So, Ray builds it, and he comes, and so do other baseball legends. Ray then takes a trip across the country and helps the author JD Salinger overcome his pain.

This novel has a somewhat dream like feel to it, with Ray taking the leading role. There are very few characters within the story and personally I would have loved to have known more about Ray's wife Annie. The small glimpses of her were not enough, I wanted to know why she adored Ray so much - maybe it's because Annie wasn't that fond of baseball either that I was more interested in her. Ray's total obsession becomes a little tedious at times. I often struggle with magical realism in novels, it has to be done so well for me to engage with it, or has to be a subject matter that I really love.

There is no doubt however that WP Kinsella writes in an almost poetic way, with beautiful and descriptive language and despite the subject matter I found the novel quite a satisfying read. I will most certainly look out for more by the author.
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on 21 July 2013
having owned "field of dreams" on dvd for several years, the chance to buy "shoeless Joe" was to good to miss. if your a fan of the film then this book is a must buy. it thurther enhances the story that a 1 hour 40 min film cant possibly cover. enjoy.
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on 22 April 2014
I loved this book it is even better than the film Field of Dreams which was inspired by it. I intend to pass it on to some of my friends.
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on 10 September 2015
I have always loved the Kevin Costner film and watch it whenever it is on TV, despite owning the DVD. I loved the book and I can only describe it as unputdownable. The film was so very much like the book I almost knew what was going to happen next. Apart from a name change of the abducted author it was the film. Usually I take the book and film as two separate entities as film moves away from the book (Under the Dome a classic example). First time I have bought a book on the strength of a film and I certainly love both. Another title to add to my top 20 titles.
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on 14 November 2014
Shoeless Joe is not as great as many people claim: it is by far surpassed in literary merit by many association football novels. It perhaps captures the beauty of the sport of baseball to a degree: its romance and its tradition, and it is very evocative in parts – it creates some strong images in your head and the sense of place of the farm in Iowa is undeniable. However, it is also deeply flawed as a novel. Full review at:
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on 30 January 2014
Difficult to rate it arrived on time perfect book I have loved Field of dreams for years when I recently became aware.of book I had to read it
So far.i. finding it difficult as it has many base ball reference which I don't understand ..but perseverance is the name.of the game !

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on 28 May 2015
I saw and enjoyed the film before I read the book. Though not exactly the same store they are similar to each other and both have the same enjoyable tone. If you enjoyed the film I think you will like the book
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