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Variety of Sports Books for November

 

From all kinds of publishers and from a variety of writers, books on sports keep coming out. And there is plenty of variety in sports books for November.

One book is a loving tribute to a hockey great, another is a collection of top sports writing, and a third is a novel about college football. All added up they all make for varied and enjoyable reading.

The hockey book is "99 My Life in Pictures" by Wayne Gretzky with John Davidson (Total Sports, $29.95, 226pp.).The collection is "The Best American Sports Writing of the Century" (editor David Halberstam, Houghton Mifflin, $18.00, 77pp.). The novel is "Balls" by Nanci Kincaid (Algonquin Books, $21.95, 399 pp.).

"99 My Life in Pictures" is one of those books you feel like browsing through and then keep on your living room table even if you are not a hockey fan. A fusion of more than 350 photographs, rare letters and documents, and complete career statistics, the book is truly the essential Wayne Gretzky book. Chapters include "The Meaning of Wayne," "From Kid to Pro," "Rewriting the NHL Record Book," "The King of Kings," "Briefly Blue" and "In the Apple." Each of the chapters gives insight into different aspects of the wonderful life and times of the man they call "The Great One."

"The Best American Sports Writing of the Century" is a debatable batch of "the best." A different selection team would have added other writers (women are very absent) and pieces to the mix, and taken away some that appear in this volume. Nevertheless, the sports authors, journalists and their work represented in this book make for tremendous reading. Works by authors such as Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Cannon, George Plimpton, Tom Boswell, John Updike, appear.

My favorite piece in the book is an interview, "Mr. Rickey and the Game" done by Gerald Holland that appeared in Sports Illustrated. It is a fascinating feature on Branch Rickey at the age of 73 on the eve of a new baseball season. The article ends with these lines from Rickey: "The game of baseball has given me a life of joy," Rickey said. "I would not have exchanged it for any other."

"Balls" by Nanci Kincaid, recently remarried to the head coach of the University of Arizona football team has, it seems, many autobiographical elements. It is a sad and funny novel that takes the reader inside the world of college football. It is a book about sex, honor, competition and corruption. The writing style is breezy and unusual as we hear from the coach's wife, his mother, mother-in-law, daughter, his assistants' wives, his players' mothers, girlfriends, etc. And what they have to say is worth listening to.

BOOKENDS: Joe Torre's "Ground Rules for Winners" with Henry Dreher (Hyperion, $23.95, 282pp.) gives the reader insights into the man and the manager. He says a lot that makes sense.

"The Perfect Season" by Tim McCarver with Danny Peary (Villard, $19.95270pp.) celebrates the 1998 baseball season. If you haven't gotten the chance to read this book pick it up. It's a very interesting read.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

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Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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