Why You Should Read Sports Books and Benefits of Buying Second Hand Novels Online
Every year when we were in primary school, we held a book fair. We grew up in a family with two authors and keen readers, so we were never short in books, yet there was something alluring about picking up a new book (a feeling we still have today). We recall buying three books with our hard-earned snow shoveling money: Bo Jackson's, Steve Young's, and Troy Aikman's biographies. We already enjoyed reading and playing sports, so our purchases made sense, and we were hooked on sports literature from then on.
We never outgrow this affection, unlike The Hardy Boys or the Goosebumps books. In fact, as we’ve gotten older and wiser, we’ve discovered new reasons to enjoy sports novels. They're more than just a stupid hobby or a diversion. They have a lot to offer.
Sports are a reflection of life in many ways. And the best sports books provide a window through which to perceive life in a new light and uncover bigger truths. In well-told stories, the mundane takes on new life. Sports are molded by cultural realities, but they are also insulated from them, and they influence and shape that culture.
In the parallel realm known as athletics, lives that would never have crossed paths otherwise collide and impact one another. At least for a few hours each week, uniform color triumphs over skin color, class, and religion. Conversations on buses, in stinky locker rooms, and on road trips leave indelible imprints. Sports, on the other hand, aren't real life and don't transform the world. Such is the mystique and power of their existence. In a nutshell, sports provide fertile ground for the development of dramatic and powerful stories.
With heroes and villains, joy and agony, leaders and laggards, perseverance and tribulations, conflict and camaraderie, pain and hope, loss and victory, these are the best kinds of stories. With descriptions that pull you into a story and dialogue that puts the character in your living room, the writing swings from magnificent to snappy to profound. These show-and-tell truths, like all the best stories, are wrapped in pads or bouncing a ball.
We must not overlook the simple pleasure of reading such literature. They're entertaining. They make people happy. Emotions rise, tears fall, pride rises, and disappointment aches—all of which is exactly what we want for from the literature we like.
These sports books are gifts made by talented people who tell stories that rival the best literature. They reverberate with God's creative touch and depict both redemptive and redemptive stories. Sports can move us to contemplate, notice, or feel something of God in the same way that books, nature, or music might.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite sports novels in no particular order.
Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger
We identified with the characters in this novel as former high school football players. But it was the portrayal of football as a way of life in west Texas that made the book so good. For so many characters, it was the driving force, the big dream, and the abiding memory. It both fed and ate the town. This book's characters, all of whom are genuine individuals, are noteworthy and influential. They have entire life stories of suffering, power, and desire. Overall, Bissinger's tapestry in this book is unparalleled in its realism, both magnificent and awful.
Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
Kahn grew up in New York as a Brooklyn Dodgers fan before becoming a great sports writer. This book chronicles the Brooklyn Dodgers from the late 1940s through the early 1950s, during the Jackie Robinson era. He recounts the team's seasons, their ups and downs, their close calls with championships, and the one world series victory they finally achieved. So far, it's a beautifully written baseball novel on a legendary squad. However, Kahn goes on to profile the players. He humanizes them and lifts the veil on men who are solely known for their exploits in diamond spikes. He pays them visits, observes their post-career troubles, and inquires about racial tensions in baseball. The theatrical grandeur of baseball and the flesh-and-blood lives of its players are wonderfully depicted by Kahn.
Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby
From the mid-80s to the late-90s, no player defined a sport or a generation like Michael Jordan. Jordan was more than just the greatest basketball player of all time—yes, we see you, LeBron...you're closing in—he was more than that. He was a brand, an international icon, and a competitive force of nature. He was absolutely legendary, having ascended to mythic and fabled heights. But what was it that made Mike Jordan AIR JORDAN? That is the story Lazenby recounts, and it is a good one. Lazenby paints a portrait of His Airness from his early days in North Carolina to his post-playing days. This, however, is not a deification. It's an image that's both bright and dark, gorgeous and unattractive. After all, the jump-man was simply a regular guy.
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
Rowing isn't a sport that many people are familiar with or can identify one competitor from. However, rowing is the sport that this novel revolves around. Brown narrates the story of the University of Washington men's crew squad building up to the 1936 Berlin Olympics with great detail and a compelling storyline. It's the narrative of a team coming together, being led by a traditional tough guy, and reaching the summit of their sport.
The squad earned the privilege to represent the United States in the Olympics, which also functioned as a global showcase for Nazi power. That is what elevates this story from a well-written story about a group to something more. It's a sports-based story about America during a key period in history. It's a coming-of-age story for young American guys told through the prism of sports. It accomplishes what the best books accomplish.
The Miracle of Saint Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski
Everybody likes a good underdog story, and Saint Anthony Catholic School in Jersey City is one of them. Except it was a basketball powerhouse in the shadow of New York City for decades. Coach Bob Hurley led team after squad to titles while the school fought to stay open (and has since closed its doors). How does a harsh, foul-mouthed old Irish Catholic drill sergeant connect with and coach team after team of the poorest inner-city black kids? That is the tale told by Wojnarowski. Hurley's manner and charisma will make readers love and detest him. They'll be enamored with his players and want to yell at them (similar to Coach Hurley, actually). In sports and society, the Miracle of Saint Anthony demonstrates the complexities of race, class, competition, communication, and dedication. It is both triumphant and heartbreaking — the polar opposites of athletics.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis corrects us if we think sports is dominated by knuckleheads. Moneyball tells the story of how the Oakland Athletics came up with innovative and clever strategies to compete in baseball without the financial resources that richer clubs had to attract and keep outstanding players. They not only found a means to compete, but they also altered the game of baseball by employing analytics and locating undervalued assets where other clubs would scorn to look. The fact that this book (like so many others) is a decent narrative done wonderfully is what makes it so special. Lewis is a master at simplifying complex or dull subjects inside the story so that readers may understand and enjoy them.
Bill Simmons' The Basketball Book
Do you know what fan fiction is? This is, after all, fan non-fiction. Simmons, who goes by the moniker "The Sports Guy," writes like someone who is passionate about NBA basketball. He ranks players, sorts through great basketball disputes, rearranges the basketball hall of fame, investigates theories, and generally roams the NBA's past. He accomplishes so with the help of a mountain of research and information, as well as unrestricted access to NBA stars who share amusing anecdotes. The Book of Basketball is one of the best for pure enjoyment of a sport. It will also teach you something.
The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
Baseball fans have largely forgotten about Buck O'Neil. If you can forget about someone you've never heard of, that is. Buck was a star before black players were allowed in Major League Baseball, therefore most people have never heard of him. He excelled in the Negro Leagues, where he played with finesse and panache. And he did so in a vivacious and successful manner. O'Neil shone even in the face of terrible racism, bigotry, inequity, and segregation. Through stories, quotes, and descriptions, Posnanski deftly reveals Buck to the reader. This book is fantastic for any baseball fan or anyone who enjoys being uplifted. This is a true hero's story.
I Never Had it Made by Jackie Robinson
This volume is significant for another reason, as it is less of a pure sports book than the others. It demonstrates the compassion and cultural value of sports figures. Robinson "broke the color barrier" in baseball in 1947, as everyone knows. Most people, on the other hand, hardly consider all of the other obstacles Robinson – and every other person of color – experienced before and after. He delivers the story in his own words, complete with editorial asides and comments. The reader gets a glimpse inside the brilliant mind, broken heart, and vast abilities and drive of an American hero – and not just a baseball hero.
Playing Through the Whistle by S.L. Price
If Friday Night Lights depicts football as a way of life in West Texas, then this book depicts football as a lifeline in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. This depressed old steel town has produced many more NFL players than is appropriate for a city like this. Is there something in the water that's causing this? What about the culture? Price masterfully lays forth the town's history as it relates to the rise and fall of the steel industry, as well as the emergence and fall of the dynastic football team that accompanied it. This is as much a narrative about a suffering community as it is about a football team, but success on the field has been a constant in a town on the verge of collapse. This is a narrative about working-class America as much as it is about sports, and we see how important sports are in keeping working-class America afloat.
Buying Second Hand Novels Online
We at Usedboosfactory adore nothing better than cracking open an old crisp second hand novel and getting whisked away to another world. Unfortunately, the internet has overtaken bookstores and second hand shops, removing the pleasure of reading. Rather than searching through dusty shelves in search of an old classic, many consumers are opting for e-readers or ordering books online.
The Usedbooksfactory team enjoys collecting books, but is it necessary to buy brand new copies? Second hand novels will always hold a special place in our hearts. So, here are a few reasons why we always choose used novels:
The Advantages of Purchasing Second hand Novels Online
Second Hand Novels are Affordable
Second hand bookshops are the place to go if you're weary of spending all of your money on brand-new books. They not only have an old-world elegance, but they will also prevent you from having an empty wallet. You can get twice as many old second hand novels for the same price as a new one - a great deal!
The fragrance of a second hand novel
Nothing compares to the fragrance of a used second hand novel. Even if you're blindfolded, you'll know precisely where you are in a second-hand bookshop if you smell it.
Finding out about out-of-print editions with second hand novels
The appeal of second hand stores is the chance of obtaining out-of-print or first-edition editions of your favorite books. These copies are far more precious and unique than current editions, and are a must-have for any book enthusiast! You never know what you'll uncover in a dusty stack of second hand novels at a thrift store.
Relationship to previous owners of second hand novels
It's true what they say: every person who buys a book leaves a piece of themselves in it. There will always be little details about a gently used second hand novel that will connect you back to the prior owner, from a crinkle in the page to an underlined quote.
You can give a second hand novel to someone else as a gift.
When you fall in love with a second hand novel and give it to someone else to love, the object takes on a life of its own. That is the most fantastic reason we can think of!