Friday, November 1, 2019

A good sports book is hard to find

For 12 years of my life, I was employed as a sports writer for Newsday and the Long Beach Press-Telegram. It was quite a learning experience, and it was cool to realize that sports stars and celebrities are just real people.

Yeah, many of them have egos, are self-important and self-absorbed, but they're just people. I never was really into the celebrity culture, but a whole bunch of folks in L.A. and our country are into that stuff — that fake stuff.

So I have my own view on sports writing and believe that a lot of the most popular books on sports are actually over-hyped and not too readerly. Like any book that I might enjoy, a sports book needs to find subtle truths or look at things in a different way or be so well-written that I can't put it down. Honestly, I haven't run across many sports books like that.

But I do have my favorites, and here are 10 sports books for 100 Nonfiction Books I Recommend:

1. A Pitcher's Story (2001) by Roger Angell
2. Why Baseball Matters (2018) by Susan Jacoby
3. String Theory (2016) by David Foster Wallace
4. Little Red Book (1992, with 2012 anniversary edition) by Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake
5. Zen Golf (2002) by Joseph Parent
6. The Big Miss (2012) by Hank Haney
7. The Whore of Akron (2011) by Scott Raab
8. Back from the Dead (2016) by Bill Walton
9. Word Freak (2001) by Stefan Fatsis
10. Relentless (2013) by Tim Grover

We are now 80 books into this project with the categories of leadership and readers' choice left. We'll kick off with our first leadership book tomorrow. Enjoy!

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