May 07, 2005

Round up the usual suspects!: The best fifty sports books according to Observer readers.

posted by Fat Buddha to culture at 11:11 PM - 16 comments

There are some winners in here -- also some clunkers. And, unfortunately, only one about women, or rather girls. Little Girls in Pretty Boxes is an important book, and arguably a force behind some of the changes that have at least diminished the abuse in "women's" gymnastics and figure skating, but it is a shame that the only book about women that made this list is a story of anorexia and abuse. There are others out there, although, granted, not that many that aren't either exposes or godawful ghostwritten "autobiographies". Still, a couple do stand out: The Girls of Summer , In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle...and that's about it. Sadly, while there are more and more great stories about women in sports, they just haven't been told in anything but the most superficial fashion.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:43 AM on May 08, 2005

shoulda had a semicolon in there. The Girls of Summer; In These Girls, Hope is a Muscle. Two titles.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:44 AM on May 08, 2005

Uncommon Waters, stories and essays by women about women fishing. Great book on how women look at fish and fishing.

posted by roberts at 11:20 AM on May 08, 2005

Fever Pitch!?!?!? There is no way Nick Hornby wrote the greatest sports book of all time. He's not a bad writer, but there is no way. I would've like to seen some more Feinstein on there and David Maraniss' Vince Lombardi book.

posted by uncleboatshoes at 03:00 PM on May 08, 2005

I didn't see Eight Men Out on the list.

posted by Samsonov14 at 04:33 PM on May 08, 2005

Samsonov, Eight Men Out is No. 30. We discussed this in January when the Observer was asking for suggestions for this list.

posted by brewdudepa at 05:03 PM on May 08, 2005

posted by brewdudepa at 05:03 PM on May 08, 2005

Here's the link:

posted by brewdudepa at 05:04 PM on May 08, 2005

No Mordecai Richler. No chance too flimsy to mention this, from On Snooker: Bill Werbeniuk "suffered from a hereditary disorder that made his cue arm tremble - a disability that could only be suppressed by a measured intake of lager, sometimes running to forty pints a day." Two novels. Richler's Barney's Version ("That bastard Savard should never have traded Chelios") and Mark Anthony Jarman's Salvage King, Ya! (about a worn-out AHL/IHL grinder who had a few cups of coffee in the NHL).

posted by Philfromhavelock at 11:04 PM on May 08, 2005

Look, I'm Australian and know nothing about baseball but can't believe Bernard Malamud's 'The Natural' isn't on the list. However I'm pleased that De Lillo's 'Underworld' is. Though it's pretty marginal call to say it's a sports book. Also SI journo Steve Rushin's 'Road Swing' is one of the funniest things I've ever read. It's not there either, although I got my copy in The Observer's heartland of a bookshop in Charing Cross Road, but that's another story.

posted by owlhouse at 12:18 AM on May 09, 2005

I didn't see any sailing books on the list (unless I missed them in my quick scan), so I'll highly recommend A Voyage for Madmen and The Long Way. Madmen is about the first solo non-stop circumnavigation race in 1968; the other is Bernard Moitessier's story of the race (one of the competitors).

posted by kokaku at 08:10 AM on May 09, 2005

I like English lists about sport...

posted by StarFucker at 08:38 AM on May 09, 2005

I was very pleased to see This Sporting Life by David Storey make the top ten. A great book and imho one of the best sports movies ever made.

posted by the red terror at 12:57 PM on May 09, 2005

I'm embarrased to say I've only read three books on the list (1,9,45). Great link, thanks FB.

posted by BigCalm at 05:04 PM on May 09, 2005

There are some good ones on there...many that I have read. The Ali book by Hauser is IMHO far superior to Remnick's. Mailers is probably the best though. I was very disappointed that "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton wasn't on there, to me it is the definitive baseball book. I'm glad Seabiscuit made it. Another two that should have been there are Halberstam's "The Breaks of the Game", a year spent following the Portland Trail Blazers, and "Teammates".

posted by vito90 at 07:34 PM on May 09, 2005

what about the new best seller "My Poop on the Side of the Road" by Thaddeus Kelly. Its a reflection into the dirty world of endurance athletes.

posted by HOE.O.K. at 07:39 PM on May 09, 2005

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.