Learning to Read English before I Could Speak It

I love to read. Ever since I was a kid learning how to speak English, I learned how to read English before I could speak it. Back then, unnaturally shy, I lost myself in the books, especially books about sports and in the worlds it created. While I was never athletic, I always envisioned myself playing the game, most especially baseball and to a lesser extent football. And I always envisioned I would knock the game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to propel the Brooklyn Dodgers to a victory against the New York Yankees in the World Series.

I’m usually reading several books at once, a mix of fiction, nonfiction (usually business or self-help related), (auto)biography, and sports – or any combination of them.

I was looking through my library and came upon some of my favourite books in sports. These are some of the best books I’ve read, of which I’ve read most, and excited to read the rest. Sports – especially baseball and football – gets me every time.

  • The Armchair Book of Baseball, by Various
  • Baseball, by George Vecsey (a short lyrical history of baseball)
  • Baseball & the Game of Life, by Various
  • Baseball as the Road to God, by John Sexton (baseball and religion)
  • The Best of Rivals, by Adam Lazarus (the epic quarterback controversy, duel and eventual passing of the baton from Joe Montana to Steve Young, of the San Francisco 49ers)
  • The Book of Basketball, by Bill Simmons (self proclaimed bible of the NBA)
  • The Boys of Summer, by Roger Kahn (about the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers)
  • Carlisle vs. Army, by Lars Anderson (the epic football game pitting Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians against Dwight D. Eisenhower and his Army Cadets)
  • Clemente, by David Maraniss (biography of the Pittsburgh Pirates greatest player Roberto Clemente)
  • Cobb: a Biography – The Life and Times of the Meanest Man Who Ever Played Baseball, by Al Stump (biography of the Detroit Tigers great Ty Cobb)
  • Crazy ’08, by Cait Murphy (the story of the 1908 baseball season when the season came down to the wire in both leagues and when the Chicago Cubs were one of the dominant teams in baseball)
  • The Dodgers, by Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson (a history of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers)
  • Eight Men Out, by Eliot Asinof (about the 1919 White Sox, better known at the Black Sox, for throwing the World Series)
  • The Era: 1947 – 1957, by Roger Kahn (baseball in New York in the late 1940s and 50s)
  • Faithful, by Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King (about the Boston Red Sox and the epic 2004 season when the Curse of the Bambino was broken)
  • A Game Plan for Life, by John Wooden (inspirational words from Purdue grad and the iconic UCLA head basketball coach)
  • The Games That Changed the Game, by Ron Jaworski
  • The Gashouse Gang, by John Heidenry (the life and times of one of the most colourful teams in history, the 1930s St. Louis Cardinals)
  • Get in the Game, by Cal Ripken Jr (a guide to living by the Baltimore Orioles great shortstop, baseball’s Iron Man)
  • The Greatest Ballpark Ever, by McGee (about the Brooklyn Dodgers and their beloved ballpark Ebbets Field)
  • The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, by W.P. Kinsella (about time-travel, Native American folklore, the Chicago Cubs, baseball at the turn of the century, and Iowa)
  • Jackie Robinson, by Arnold Rampersad (biography of the single most influential athlete in the history of American sports)
  • Jackie Robinson: I Never Had It Made, by Jackie Robinson told to Alfred Duckett (autobiography of the the Brooklyn Dodgers great)
  • Lardner on Baseball, by Ring Lardner (a collection of articles from the famous baseball writer and historian Ring Lardner)
  • The Love of Baseball, by Various
  • Memories of Summer, by Roger Kahn
  • Minnie and The Mick, by Bob Vanderberg (the story of the Go Go Chicago White Sox in the 50s, perennially in second place in the American League to the New York Yankees until 1958)
  • Musial: from Stash to Stan The Man, by James Giglio (biography of one of the greatest players of all-time, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Stan Musial)
  • Notre Dame’s Greatest Coaches: Rockne, Leahy, Parseghian, Holtz, by Moose Krause and Stephen Singular
  • Now I Can Die in Peace, by Bill Simmons (collection of articles written by Bill Simmons in his ESPN Page 3 column)
  • The Old Ball Game, by Frank DeFord
  • Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season, by Jonathan Eig (the tumultuous and iconic season that eventually changed all of professional sports, led by the most influential man to ever play a professional game)
  • Perfect, by Lew Paper (the story of the only perfect game recorded in World Series history, pitched by Don Larson, and the other characters who contributed to the game)
  • Sandy Koufax, by Jane Leavy (biography of IMO the greatest pitcher to ever set foot on the mound)
  • Shoeless Joe, by W.P. Kinsella (the book the movie Field of Dreams is based upon)
  • Summer of ’49, by David Halberstram (about the epic 1949 season and the pennant race between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in the American League; and the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants in the National League)
  • Ted Williams, by Leigh Montville (biography of great American hero and the greatest baseball player who ever lived, Boston Red Sox’ Ted Williams)
  • Willie Mays: My Life In and Out of Baseball, by Willie Mays (autobiography of the Say Hey Kid, one of the greatest players of all-time)
  • Winning Every Day, by Lou Holtz (inspiration from the inspirational Notre Dame football coach)
  • Wins, Losses, and Lessons, by Lou Holtz (inspiration from the inspirational Notre Dame football coach)

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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