2016 sports books for the holiday season: The short cut

cummins-falls-state-parkWe’ll send you over to Wendy Parker’s list of her Top 15 sports books of 2016 for her SportsBiblio.com site.
Here’s a quick reference to the six lists we’ve compiled that may break down the choices of books to check out for the gift-giving season:
== Best sellers that may catch your eye first
== The ones we earmarked during the course of 2016
== General interest that may go under the radar
== Larger than life (coffee-table sized)
== Football, soccer … whatever kicks it
== Top shelf contributions from hockey

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Sunday Media: He calls himself ‘Black Mamba,’ but for biographical purposes, Kobe Bryant is a ‘Showboat’

kobebookTo set the scene for this sports media holiday gift-giving season, we talked to author Roland Lazenby about his project released in October called “Showboat: The Life of Kobe Bryant” (Little, Brown and Company/Hatchett Books, 625 pages, $32).
While the bulk of the Q&A with Lazenby will soon post online, here is more to the interview, as well as links to book reviews:

Q: There’s always a decision about whether or not to interview the subject in a project like this. Kobe has many media platforms, including ThePlayersTribune.com, to reveal himself. What are the pros and cons of doing a book like this without Kobe’s participation?
The pros are that it’s an independent book and in Kobe’s case, where he has already done a documentary on himself and would likely do his own book, a lot of people these days like to control their own narrative. That’s understandable. But a biography tries to get an independent look and explain the figure. And not just sports figures, but cultural figures who have a big presence in the life of a city. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

2016 sports books for the holiday season: Best sellers may catch your eye first

Adding to what we’ve posted for the Sunday media: If you’re going strictly by what ranks highest for the moment on the New York Times or Amazon.com lists, these are worth considering but just be careful and don’t judge the book by … you know the rest:

51wedo-9xul== “Shaken: Discovering our True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms,” by Tim Tebow with A.J. Gregory, WaterBrook publishing, 224 pages, $25 (released: Oct. 25). The blurb: Your circumstances do not define you,
your identity does. If he could make red caps and hand them out with that phrase, he probably would as he pursues his latest athletic dream of playing pro baseball. It’s a top seller in the “Christian Personal Growth” category.

== “Courage to Soar: A Body In Motion, A Life in Balance,” by Simone Biles with Michelle Burford, Zondervan, 256 pages, $24.99 (released Nov. 15). The blurb: It’s No. 1 in Amazon’s “Teen and Young Adult Sports Biographies” for her inspirational message of succeeding after a life that started with her on the Foster care system to a spot on the 2016 Olympic gymnastics team, and more gold medals.

== “Gunslinger: The Remarkable, Improbable, Iconic Life of Brett Favre,” by Jeff Pearlman, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 448 pages, $28 (released Oct. 25). The blurb: “Grand, gritty, and revelatory, Gunslinger is a big sports biography of the highest order, a fascinating portrait of the man with the rocket arm whose life has been one of triumph, of fame, of tragedy, of embarrassment, and — ultimately — of redemption.” From the author of the 2014 hit “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” comes this predictably well research bio on the former Green Bay Packers QB one would have expected to come in a book jacket made of recycled Wranglers jeans.

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

2016 sports books for the holiday season: Ones we already earmarked during ’16

We would not have mentioned them (some more in depth than others) if we didn’t enjoy them to start with and expand it into something more:

51hdtuf1x7l== “Making Waves: My Journey to Winning Olympic Gold and Defeating the East German Doping Program,” by Shirley Babashoff with Chris Epting, Santa Monica Press, 272 pages, $24.95 (released July 12): Her story also was told in the documentary, “The Last Gold,” which we reviewed. We talked more to her about the book at an event at the LA84 Library when she revealed this story about the time she met Bruce Jenner as part Team USA competing at the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal: “He was sitting in this van with a couple of officials when I got in and I was kinda like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ and he didn’t really say anything to me. So I thought maybe he was just concentrating on something. I tried to talk to him again and he just wouldn’t give me the time of day. I was just like, ‘I don’t know why this guy’s mad at me.’ And now I realize … he just wanted to be me.”
(Also in this neighborhood: “Find A Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream,” by Diana Nyad, Vintage Books, 320 pages, $16.95, released in paperback June 28)

== “Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad and the Things I’m Not Allowed to Say on TV,” by Joe Buck, with Michael Rosenberg, Dutton Books, 304 pages, $28 (released Nov. 15): This has undeniably been the Media Year of Joe Buck, and his life as an open scorebook is way to connect with viewers who seem to have wanted him to fail for whatever reason. We didn’t get it either when we interviewed him in October. Note: Buck will appear at the Beverly Hills Public Library on Monday at 7 p.m. to talk about the book.

61jocc92eol== “The Steamer: Bud Furrillo and the Golden Age of L.A. Sports,” by Andy Furillo, Santa Monica Press, 480 pages, $27.95 (released June 7): “When he became a big-shot sports writer in Los Angeles, Furillo wrote for the people who had come from (his native) Youngstown (Ohio) and every other industrial neighborhood in America to resettle on the West Coast after World War II,” his son, Andy Furillo, writes in the first chapter as we noted. “They celebrated the wars they won, the kids they raised, the steel they molded and the businesses they created. They loved sports and sports teams. They read the newspaper sports pages and depended on columnists to give it to them straight, from the inside out. “In his years in Los Angeles, the Steamer’s readers and listeners expanded to include the lawyers and doctors and politicians and entrepreneurs who shared the hardcore of love sports. Maybe his appeal was that he was a reflection of their own backgrounds and family histories that sprang from the factories and mines of the Rust Belt in places like Youngstown, where the Steamer had gained his own sense of place.” Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

2016 sports books for the holiday season: In general, they’re under the radar, but don’t sleep on it

General interest, major value:

91ok8v791ml== “On The Origins of Sports: The Early History and Original Rules of Everybody’s Favorite Games,” by Gary Belsky and Neil Fine, Artisan Press, 256 pages, $19.95 (released April 19).
41dpu6nfcilThe blurb: For $20, there may be no better investment in a book that encompasses not only all the nuances and ready-known parts of what goes into a sport, but a visual display that is really unmatched by Sarah Rutherford. We know there are rules for everything. But did you know: The first rule of the Naismith “Basketball Ball” game in 1891 called for “The ball to be an ordinary Association foot ball.” Meaning, a soccer ball. Kick that around. The first UFC rules in 1993 included Rule 2: “Fight to be held in a circular pit, 20 feet in diameter (to be designed by John Milius).” Milius was a Hollywood screenwriter, and the “pit” was replaced by the octagon with a fence around it. Here, there’s also a timeline of how fantasy sports goes back to 1951 with the creation of the American Professional Baseball Association game that used dice to determine outcomes (10 years before Strat-O-Matic), and the 1963 introduction of “GOPPPL” (The Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prediction League), which started with eight people in the Oakland Raiders’ front office, including team broadcaster Bob Blum. It’s worth going back to find their 2007 project, “23 Ways To Get To First Base: The ESPN Uncyclopedia,” which is in need up dating (especially the list of every athlete who has guest-starred on “The Simpsons.”)

51vwxtgoyql== “Hound of the Sea: Wild Man, Wild Waves and Wild Wisdon,” by Garrett McNamara with Karen Karbo, Harper Wave books, 304 pages, $26.99 (released Nov. 15) The blurb: The vibe is very much like the recent Pulitzer Prize winning “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” by William Finnegan, which came out in paperback last April. It’s about insecurities, fears and challenges for McNamara, once credited with surfing a record-height 100-foot wave in Portugal in 2013, which broke his own record of 78 feet two years earlier. McNamara is a touchy, feely guy and explains how he got to this crest in his life. His description as well about what a wave can feel like is enough to knock you off your moorings: “As I fall, my board shoots out from under me. The lip of the wave explodes square on my shoulders and head. The muffled sound of the surf roars. Underwater, I feel something hit me on the back of the head. At first I think I’ve hit a rock but below me is nothing but sandy bottom. The realization that I’ve kicked myself in the head with my own heels brings with it a surge of nausea.” Barrel up to that.

819utresgjl== “Freedom Found: My Life Story,” by Warren Miller, Warren Miller Company publishing, 512 pages, $29.95 (released Sept. 1). The blurb: Those who grew up watching his ski films know his legacy in that business, and when he left it behind, the monotone home-movie reel feel really wasn’t the same. Now they get to relish in his telling his own life story.

== “Baseball America’s Ultimate Draft Book: The Most Comprehensive Book Ever Published on the Baseball Draft: 1965-2016,” by Allan Simpson, Baseball America books, 768 pages, $44.95 (released Oct. 11). The blurb: Yes, it’s an expensive proposition, but also the size of a phone book (as your grandparents about that) as Simpson, the founding editor of Baseball America, goes back to a time when no one except his company covered the MLB draft (the first overall No. 1 choice is … of course, Rick Monday, out of Arizona State). It’s 50 years later and who better than to chronicle its history — hits, misses and other surprises. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email