Sports Biblio

A Blog About Sports Books, History And Culture

Sports Biblio’s list of 2016 notable sports books

In the ever-subjective world of books and the reviews that may or may not define them, trying to come up with a year-end listing of books that stand out is a seemingly impossible task. Even using the loosely defined category of 2016 notable sports books, which can mean many things.

the selling of the babe, babe ruth, glenn stout, baseball books, 2016 notable sports booksThe second annual Sports Biblio list of notable sports books does have this parameter: Books published in the calendar year 2016. That’s why you will not see below some of the books that have been garnering acclaim by the brand-name sports book award houses, some of which cover the previous year (William Hill in the U.K., ESPN/PEN in the U.S.)

What does follow is an incredibly subjective and seemingly random list of 15 sports books published around the world during the year 2016 on a variety of subjects, and that generally received some noteworthy critical attention. Continue reading

Fidel Castro and Cuban Sports: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.27.16

Fidel Castro’s impact on Cuban sports was among the topics of discussion in the wake of his death Friday at the age of 90, as retrospectives poured in about “The Last Cold Warrior,” and his legacy on his country and global affairs.

domino diaries, brin-jonathan butler, cuban boxing, cuban sportsInjecting sports into his country’s Communist identity was one of Castro’s initial and enduring actions, affecting far more than his beloved béisbol.

In his 2015 book “The Domino Diaries” (Sports Biblio review here), author Brin-Jonathan Butler wrote:

“Sport wasn’t an opium for those people; their culture was an opium for sport.” Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Holiday Of Sports Books: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.20.16

One of the great joys of doing this blog and newsletter is hearing from authors as well as readers. As another Thanksgiving holiday approaches in the United States, I want to thank all of you for reading, subscribing and getting in touch.

Mark Kram Jr., Great Men Die Twice, Thanksgiving holidayThis is a passion project, and I’m grateful I get to do this every week. Lately I’ve been limited with my Sports Biblio project, as I’ve taken on several freelance assignments. I have a number of blog posts lined up that I will be publishing soon, an assortment of book reviews and book-related topics that are long overdue.

I’ve been very thankful to hear from authors offering to send me copies of their book, and recently I got a couple of very nice surprises. Continue reading

A Few Good Autumn Reads: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.13.16

There’s no over-arching theme to this week’s newsletter, but so many great longform and magazine pieces to share—a few good autumn reads, to repeat the headline. Some are seasonal and topical, fitting the rhythms of the fall that’s finally arrived here in North America; others are not.

I think of this as a dip into serendipity, and if you see anything that you’d like to share here, please let me know. Reader contributions are always welcome! Several books I’ve been reading will be reviewed here soon, and some meatier topics I’ve wanted to explore are also on the horizon.

My friend Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News wrote of his nephew, who’s winding down his final season of Division III—non-scholarship—football at Ferrum College in Michigan:
Continue reading

The Chicago Cubs and World Series Memories: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.6.16

Even if there hadn’t been such a momentous victory by the Chicago Cubs, the World Series that ended this week may have been the best I’ve ever seen.

a season for the ages, chicago cubsI don’t like saying things like that, in the heat of the moment. Before the Cubs staged their stirring recovery from a 3-1 deficit, thus ending a 108-year curse, comparisons were being made to what I thought had been the best World Series of my lifetime.

The 1991 World Series between the Braves and the Twins didn’t go the way I wanted, and maybe declaring the Cubs-Cleveland Indians saga the best is my way of vanquishing the ghost of Charlie Liebrandt.

Continue reading

Arnold Palmer’s Exemplary Life: Sports Biblio Digest, 10.30.16

When Arnold Palmer died last month, the finishing touches were being made for what had long been planned to be his final book.

arnold palmer, a life well playedIn “A Life Well Played,” published Tuesday by St. Martin’s Press, Palmer admits he never cared for the nickname “The King,” long bestowed on him by fans, writers and his legions of gallery admirers, “Arnie’s Army.”

In a statement issued by St. Martin’s upon the release of the audiobook version, Palmer said his final book was difficult for several reasons: Continue reading

A History of Baseball Best-Sellers: Sports Biblio Digest, 10.16.16

Baseball best-sellers aren’t as plentiful as it may be presumed, given the prevalence of baseball books on the market.

george will, men at work, baseball best-sellersThis edition of the Sports Biblio Digest leads with a writer’s search into the historical archive to find out how few baseball best-sellers there have been over the years, which ones were listed the longest, and some lauded books that never made the list.

Other baseball reads delve in the greatness of Sandy Koufax, a remembrance of a long-forgotten reliever who served as a set-up man of sorts for the bullpen strategies of today, and a memorable celebration of a memorable pennant victory 30 years ago.  Continue reading

On Sportswriters, Real and Imagined: Sports Biblio Digest, 10.9.16

Sportswriters take center stage in this proudly Trump-free issue of the digest, along with other great reads about sports books, history and culture:the sportswriter, richard ford

  • a novelist, Richard Ford, who wrote a book about a sportswriter that is about so much more;
  • a nonagenarian baseball writer, Roger Angell, with a wondrous gift for the language that puts far younger sportswriters to shame;
  • a tribute to George Plimpton, and occasional sportswriter;
  • a sportswriter who invented a newspaper to write for;
  • sportswriters who labored during the golden age of their craft, when baseball was triumphant;
  • sportswriters who are gathering for a festival of their own in Australia;
  • and an acclaimed sportswriter in his prime, with a fond remembrance of a friend he believes ought to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Continue reading

Farewell to Kevin Garnett: Sports Biblio Digest, 9.25.16

When Kevin Garnett jumped from high school straight to the National Basketball Association in 1995, he was the first prep star to be drafted directly into the league in 20 years.

kevin garnettAt the time, basketball officials, educators and journalists were having a serious debate about what such a trend might portend, given the salary riches of a league made bountiful by Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson and others who didn’t finish their college careers.

But at least they had college careers, a little seasoning before entering the unforgiving world of the pros. Continue reading

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