Honor roll: Sports books

Each of these Sports books has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:H.O.R.S.E.

H.O.R.S.E.

Christopher Myers

One day at the basketball court, two kids, a familiar challenge—H.O.R.S.E.?

But this isn’t your grandmother’s game of hoops.

Not when a layup
        from the other side of the court
                     standing on one foot
                               with your eyes closed is just the warm-up.

Around the neighborhood, around the world, off Saturn’s rings, the pair goes back and forth.

The game is as much about skill as it is about imagination.

A slam dunk from multi-award-winning author/illustrator Christopher Myers, H.O.R.S.E. is a celebration of the sport of basketball, the art of trash-talking, and the idea that what’s possible is bounded only by what you can dream.

Book:Sacrifice Fly

Sacrifice Fly: A Mystery

Tim O'Mara

Raymond Donne wasn’t always a schoolteacher. Not only did he patrol the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as one of New York’s Finest, but being the nephew of the chief of detectives, he was expected to go on to bigger things. At least he was until the accident that destroyed his knees. Unable to do the job the way he wanted, he became a teacher in the same neighborhood, and did everything he could to put the force behind him and come to terms with the change.

Then Frankie Rivas, a student in Ray’s class and a baseball phenom, stops showing up to school. With Frankie in danger of failing and missing out on a scholarship, Ray goes looking for him, only to find Frankie’s father bludgeoned to death in their apartment. Frankie and his younger sister are gone, possibly on the run. But did Frankie really kill his father? Ray can’t believe it. But then who did, and where are Frankie and his sister? Ray doesn’t know, but if he’s going to have any chance of…[more]

Book:The Dog Sox

The Dog Sox

Russell Hill

Ray Adams buys his girlfriend, beautiful Ava Belle, a baseball team for her birthday. She loves dogs and baseball. Ray’s gift is a broken-down semi-pro team in California’s Central Valley, with a 70-year-old Jewish manager who’s been in baseball for fifty years and breaks into Yiddish homilies when the going gets tough. He assembles a rag-tag lineup of sheetrockers, farm laborers, wanna-be big leaguers, and a freak submarine pitcher—10-year-iold Billy Collins. The only problem is that Billy has a drunken, abusive father who, when he shows up at the ballpark, causes Billy to fall apart. How to get rid of Bucky Collins becomes a primary goal, not just for the team’s sake, but for Billy’s. Rough him up? Pay him off? See that he has an “accident”? With him around, the team and Billy are simply not functional.

Book:The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding: A Novel

Chad Harbach

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties,…[more]

Book:Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

John Feinstein

The Super Bowl. America’s biggest sports spectacle. More than 95 million fans will be watching, but Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson know that what they’ll be watching is a lie. They know that the entire offensive line of the California Dreams have failed their doping tests and that the Dreams’ owner is trying to cover up the test results. These two teens are sitting on the biggest sports scandal of the decade. What they don’t know—yet—is how to prove it.

Book:Fatty Batter

Fatty Batter: How cricket saved my life (then ruined it)

Michael Simkins

Michael Simkins is in desperate need of some quiet coaching. In middle-age he still believes, despite what everyone tells him, that the England middle order might usefully benefit from his hard-earned skills. He’s also a man who thinks it is OK to get your wife to spend the whole of your wedding anniversary operating a scoreboard in what she describes as ‘a meaningless encounter between pathetic no-hopers’. Even when scattering his own mother’s ashes his thoughts stray to another urn.

This is the hilarious story of one man’s lifelong obsession with cricket. From his earliest awkward days as a fat boy growing up in a Brighton sweetshop to his years running a team of dysfunctional inadequates still chasing the sweet spot, cricket has offered a shelter from life’s irksome realities and a place in which to quietly dream. That place is a peculiarly English arcadia of occasional wondrous beauty, forests of comforting statistics and the endless life-affirming rituals of defeat, humiliation and disappointment—the perfect net practice for life.

Book:Cut Time

Cut Time: An Education at the Fights

Carlo Rotella

Boxing is not just fighting; it is also training and living right and preparing to go the distance in the broadest sense of the phrase, a relentless managing of self that anyone who gets truly old must learn.”
— from Cut Time

As his affection for boxing grows, Carlo Rotella discovers that it sheds a startling light on the world outside the ring. The brief, disastrous boxing career of one of his students pinpoints the moment when adulthood arrives. The hard-won insight of a fellow fan shows Rotella how to process the trauma of a car crash. The persistence of a wizened ex–lightweight champion gives him the key to understanding and honoring his grandmother.

Rotella unearths the hidden wisdom in any kind of fight, from barroom dustup to HBO extravaganza. He vividly describes…[more]

Book:Secrets

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg began his career as the coldest of cold warriors-a U. S. Marine company commander, a Pentagon analyst, and a staunch supporter of America’s battle against Communist expansion. But in October 1969, Ellsberg-fully expecting to spend the rest of his life in prison-set out to turn around American foreign policy by smuggling out of his office the seven-thousand-page top-secret study, known as the Pentagon Papers, of U.S. decision making in Vietnam. Now, for the first time, Ellsberg tells the full story of how and why he became one of the nation’s most impassioned and influential anti-war activists-and how his actions helped alter the course of U.S. history.

Covering the decade between his entry into the Pentagon and Nixon’s resignation, Secrets is Ellsberg’s meticulously detailed insider’s account of the secrets and lies that shaped American foreign policy during the Vietnam era. Ellsberg…[more]

Book:Casey at the Bat

Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888

Ernest L. Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant
for the Mudville nine that day:
The score stood four to two
with but one inning more to play….

Since 1888 Casey at the Bat has been read and loved by baseball fans around the world. Now Mighty Casey has been brought to life by celebrated illustrator C. F. Payne, who captures the old-fashioned fun of an afternoon at the ballpark for a brand-new generation.

Book:Pitching Around Fidel

Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports

S.L. Price

In an artful pastiche of observation, personal narrative, interviews, and investigative reporting, S.L. Price, a Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, describes sports and athletes in today’s Cuba. On his many journeys to the island, Price finds a country that celebrates sports like no other and a leader who uses athletics as both symbol and weapon in his country’s dying revolution.

With Castro’s regime staggering beneath the weight of a great depression and international sanctions, Cuba’s famed sports machine is imploding. Athletes are defecting by plane and raft. Superstars bike to games and train with shoddy equipment in bare gyms; and champion boxers, baseball players, and gymnasts are forced to scrounge for spare change on the streets. In 1959, when Castro rose to power, he declared a new era in Cuban baseball. Within four years all professional Cuban sports had been outlawed,…[more]

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