Sports represent such an important part of our lives – we grow up watching games of our favorite teams, we cheer for our school in competitions, we spend quality time with our family in the stands hoping our team will score… And of course, such memorable moments often get immortalized in fiction! It is no wonder there are so many amazing novels about sports, and I wanted to list out several I totally fell in love with.
The book I have read so many times I’ve stopped counting is David Remnick’s King of the World. It’s a novel about Muhammad Ali and his unstoppable career in the boxing ring. It follows Ali as he appeared in the big scene at the end of the 1950s. The author, who also worked as the editor of the New Yorker, fully employed his writing skills so as to portray who Ali was in and out of fights in a broad sense. He mapped out all the essential events in his life, such as the Liston Fight, his fight to unite people and his final fight against the Parkinson’s Disease. Such an emotional overview of one of the greatest sportsman ever couldn’t be complete without Remnick’s rich language and very good research he put into composing this book.
Another hugely successful novel about sports is Moneyball, written by Michael Lewis. It was turned into a movie starring Brad Pitt, and even as a movie it raked good reviews and many awards.The story is about the well known general manager Billy Beane, who faced the same problem that many managers face today: how to win in a league where all teams have much bigger budgets and better players. He had to rely on what he knew – statistics and data were carefully examined to draw vital conclusions about the way his team should play. This approach to playing baseball was not very popular before Billy Beane, but he showed that even the underdogs, on paper, can win against favorites if you focus on your strengths and opponent’s mistakes. This novel is a great story of success and intelligence.
The last book I often pick up from my bookshelf is an amazing autobiography of Andre Agassi, titled Open. It was ghost-written by the renowned journalist Moehringer who really tried to capture Agassi’s life, ups and downs together with his glorious comeback to the world of tennis. The book recounts all parts of his life, from the childhood which was certainly tough, to his tennis career which went up to soaring heights. The strong feature of this book is that it includes an honest retelling of Agassi’s fall, no matter how temporary it was. But that’s exactly what gives this novel an exhilarating finish as we move into his return to the top ranks of tennis players.
All of these books, along with some others I covered on my site, show both the positive and negative sides of sports, not hiding the sometimes ugly moments behind the shiny enjoyable ones. Be sure to check them out if you are a sports fan!