Rookie of the Year

The New York Times Bestseller List, July 25, 2021

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #126. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.


A tongue-in-cheek but also painfully earnest look at pop culture and anything else that deserves to be ridiculed while at the same time regarded with the utmost respect. It is written by Matt Marrone and emailed to Stu Horvath, who adds any typos or factual errors that might appear within.


Right now, while many of us are stuck at home during an absolutely insane time – “since the germ was here” is how my 4-year-old defined this science-nonfiction epoch we are living in – there are people fighting for their survival and for the survival of others. But let’s be honest, there are likely just as many people out there, in relative comfort, deciding this is their chance to finally write The Great American Novel. They’ve been dreaming about it since freshman year, and now there’s a worldwide pandemic hitting our shores and nothing but time.

I hope we all survive COVID-19 – and 2020 in general – and that we can look back at this period someday with something other than just pain. In the meantime, I think that if we do make it, it’s likely we will see the following hardcovers – both fiction and nonfiction – on bookstore shelves by next summer:

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: This one is going to be a memoir of a guy named Jeremy Cohen (aka @jerm_cohen on Twitter), a photographer who has posted several TikTok videos documenting him noticing a girl on a rooftop across his Brooklyn street, asking her to a social distancing dinner and later meeting her on the street while encased in a giant plastic bubble. This is a real thing and it’s kind of charming – the first time you see it, at least.

There’s No Place BUT Home: I can feel this being written right now. It could be a Marie Kondo-like guide to self-quarantine that will be rushed out to Kindles in the coming weeks, even. Otherwise, it’ll simply be stitched onto a line of pillow cases or, worst case, maybe it’s a screenplay that eventually becomes a Lifetime movie.

COVID-22: If it’s bad fiction, it’s a farcical series of misadventures and screw-ups that even now has Joseph Heller spinning in his grave. If it’s good nonfiction, it’s a farcical series of misadventures and screw-ups that even now is spinning many of us into our graves.

WFH FTW: An account of some entrepreneur who made a fortune from the seat of his comfy couch while the rest of us desperately tried not to kill our children and spouses and simply stay employed, or still had to go outside to work and risk being infected every single godforsaken day. Let’s just hope whatever this douchebag does to strike it rich enriches humanity in some way, too. LOL.

Puzzles of the Pandemic: A coffee table book of the most elaborate jigsaw puzzles completed during the spring and summer of 2020. This is the easiest book ever to write and you should steal my idea because all you have to do is a Twitter search and DM people for hi-res photos. Do it before someone else beats you to it.

The One Book You Haven’t Read: This book might be about something random, just with a title that’s a snarky reference to all the reading we are presumably getting done these days. But I think maybe I’ll go best-case here and say it’s a solid piece of YA fiction about a paperback found buried in a closet or the back of a bookshelf somewhere that, during a time of suffering, manages to conjure up a world of mystery and wonder.


Matt Marrone is a senior MLB editor at He has been Unwinnable’s reigning Rookie of the Year since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @thebigm.

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