This is our second Nightstand interview with Archer, starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. We first talked with the self-proclaimed avid reader in April 2012, when he was a minor league pitcher for the Durham Bulls. At the time, his nightstand included The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill. Archer, 24, summed up his reading this way: "The truth is that when I was younger, I wasn't interested in reading. ... That decision to start reading more goes back to 2006 when I was drafted. My mentor and I talked about how I needed to make sure I kept educating myself, since I wasn't going on in school but playing pro ball instead.''
We caught up with Archer again by phone on Aug. 6. He was in Arizona for the Rays' series against the Diamondbacks. One day earlier, he learned he had achieved a rare feat: He was voted both the American League Pitcher of the Month and the Rookie of the Month for July.
What's on your nightstand?
I Am: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are by Howard Falco. It's great.
How did you arrive at reading this book?
I went to the Barnes & Noble at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and nothing grabbed me, but then on my way out, I saw I Am. The sun on the cover caught my eye. Ironically, last week, before my start, I mentioned the book in an interview that was posted online. Falco posted that interview on his Twitter. We went on to exchange numbers, and it turned out that he was in Scottsdale, Ariz. We met for dinner last night.
What was your impression?
It was a great impression. It was like a meeting of the minds. I was able to ask him questions, and he was able to listen to me, and it meant a lot. After dinner, I thought to myself that I could now read his work and hear his voice.
Has being more in the limelight changed your reading habits?
I read just as much, if not more, than I did the last time we talked. What I read continues to inspire me, although I try not to read too many books at once. If you do that, you ingest too much and something is lost.
When you were at that Barnes & Noble, you didn't see any printed books that interested you. Would you ever consider going to ebooks and selecting online?
To be clear, there was plenty in the bookstore to choose from, but nothing grabbed me personally, and I only buy books that call out my name. That being said, no, I've only read one book on Kindle, and I didn't enjoy it. I appreciate the smell, the feel of books. I love the way as you read the book it becomes more weathered, showing your journey.
Piper Castillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4163.