2008: Booking Thru Thursday – Gold Medal Reading

This week’s topic:


  • Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general?
  • Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

  • Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
  • Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story.
  • (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)

I can’t think of any books I’ve read about the Olympics, but I have read some about sports.  The one that most recently comes to mind is Sometimes You See It Coming by Kevin Baker, which is about baseball.  I’d link to my review, but apparently I read this before I started reviewing books.  The back of the book reads:

Based in part on the life of baseball legend Ty Cobb, this book belongs in the pantheon of great baseball novels.

John Barr is the kind of player who isn’t supposed to exist anymore. An all-around superstar, he plays the game with a single-minded ferocity that makes his New York Mets team all but invincible. Yet Barr himself is a mystery with no past, no friends, no women, and no interests outside hitting a baseball as hard and as far as he can. Not even Ellie Jay, the jaded sportswriter who can out-think, out-drink, and out-write any man in the press box. She wants to think she admires Barr’s skill on a ballfield, but suspects she might be in love with a man who isn’t really there.

Barr leads the Mets to one championship after another. Then chaos arrives in the person of new manager Charli Stanzi, well-known psychopath. Under Stanzi’s tutelage, the team simply falls apart. Then Barr himself inexplicably starts to unravel. For the first time in his life, his formidable skills fail him, and only Ellie Jay and another can help – if he will let them. Hanging in the balance are his sanity, the World Series, and true love.

I’m not a big baseball fan, but I rather enjoyed the book.  I also tried to read The Innocent Man by John Grisham, which I guess isn’t so much about baseball as it is about a guy who played baseball, but I got really bored and stopped reading it.  I guess Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer would count if you consider mountain-climbing a sport. I don’t have much interest in reading non-fiction sports books. 

I also have Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger in my TBR pile.  Football is by far my favorite sport to watch.

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I like certain things.  Football.  High school basketball.  Baseball on occasion. And I watch what I can of the Olympics, where sometimes you happen upon a sport you’ve never before seen in your life (handball, anyone?)

But sports movies? Love them. I love those stupid, over-emotional, inspirational endings.  They get me every single time.  The one I watched most recently was We Are Marshall, and I had to pause it for a while because it made me cry so hard.

And yes…. I cry watching the Olympics too.  Can’t you see the giant SAP sign on my forehead?

4 thoughts on “2008: Booking Thru Thursday – Gold Medal Reading

  • August 14, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I got tearry eyed when Strug sprained her ankle. It’s ok!! I prefer to play sports than watch them.

  • August 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Oh I cry at the Olympics as well. I love those great “Olympic Moments.”

  • August 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I read The Innocent Man by John Grisham, and I got bored too. Because I’m a Grisham fan, I stuck with it, and it is boring right to the end!

    I’m watching the Olympics, especially Michael Phelps. Come see my response.

  • September 7, 2008 at 3:19 am

    I just read a great baseball novel called “Pinch Hitter,” written by Dean Whitney. It is a great baseball story! I hope to see it on TV or the big screen someday.


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