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seabiscuitI just returned from book club, and the consensus on Seabiscuit was that it was a great book. There were no dissenters on this. However, being from Kansas and unaware of the racing world and how it works, there was some argument about handicap weights and how could you possibly know who the fastest horse was if they are all carrying different weights. Perhaps knowing what horse is the fastest is not the primary objective…

While we still don’t completely understand it, we imagine it must have something to do with betting. We also had a lady there who learned to ride on a horse named Nellie Blue who was the great-granddaughter of Seabiscuit. Nellie was owned by her great-aunt and she had some lovely stories about summers spent horseback riding. Nellie apparently didn’t look anything like Biscuit, but she did kick out a leg when she ran, like he did. Another lady has a son who was a jockey for many years, and she shared some stories and insights from his experience.

This is what I love about book clubs. First of all, we talk about books and reading (my favorite things), but we also get to learn about each other. I would never have imagined we had someone in our community with a connection to Seabiscuit, or a person who went off to ride horses professionally. Now, you can throw a rock out here and hit a cowboy or girl with rodeo experience, and quarter horses out number thoroughbreds by quite a margin. I think many are like me in that we know next to nothing about professional horse racing, so this book and the history shared was fascinating. It was also interesting to read this book after all the stories and publicity about California Chrome.

If you are familiar with Seabiscuit, but haven’t read Unbroken yet, you need to. It was sad to hear of the passing of Louis Zamperini this past week (Unbroken is about his life). This December we can look forward a movie version of this book, and I hope that it is just as successful as the film version of Seabicuit which was nominated for 7 Oscars. I for one will probably have my husband take me to it for a Christmas Day date…if we can find a sitter.