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  • They Bled Blue by Jason Turbow

    They Bled Blue by Jason TurbowWith his last book (the wonderful Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic) Jason Turbow made me a fan of the Oakland A's, a team for which I had no opinion whatsoever. Now with They Bled Blue, the author has made me appreciate the history of a team I actively dislike, maybe even hate. The Dodgers of the late 70's and early 80's were an interesting bunch and Turbow's new book is expertly told and really gives you an entire picture of LA in 1981: the drugs, the celebrities, Fernandomania, the MLB strike of 1981 and the hugely impactful MLBPA victory, the contracts and the inner workings and of course the baseball. Jason Turbow once again strikes gold--or perhaps Dodger blue--with the must-read sports book of the summer.

    They Bled Blue by Jason Turbow ($26.00*, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Gather at the River edited by David Joy with Eric Rickstad

    Gather at the River edited by David Joy with Eric RickstadWhat a catch this book is! Every story tugs at your emotions as you enjoy a ride upstream. In a world that is surviving on espresso we all need to remember to stop, breathe, pick up a fishing pole, and tune into nature and the quiet you need to fish. This original book is a must have for every home.

    Gather at the River edited by David Joy with Eric Rickstad ($16.95*, Hub City Press), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.

    A 2019 TRIO Title

  • Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty by Bill Pennington

    Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty by Bill PenningtonA great book to get you through the 162-game season, Bill Pennington's book did what I had previously believed to be impossible: made me care about the Yankees. Chumps To Champs is full of big characters with even larger personalities, from legendary Yankee owner George Steinbrenner to quietly effective--and hugely under-appreciated--Buck Showalter. I will never be a Yankees fan but I am a big fan of this book.

    Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the '90s Dynasty by Bill Pennington ($28.00*, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

    Heroine by Mindy McGinnisMickey is a teen athlete and a star on her softball team when she and her best friend get in a car accident that changes their lives. Mickey is able to justify her use of painkillers to mask the pain of her recovering injuries but that use quickly turns to abuse as she uses the drugs for the painful shyness she also deal with. As the prescribed pills get harder to get, she turns to the fast, easy, and dangerous high of the needle. Her old friends drift away and she's surrounded with a new circle who enable her descent into addiction. This story is a powerful illustration of how easy it is to go from proper prescribed use of meds to the dangerous abuse of street drugs. This heartbreaking tale will stick with you long after the book is done.

    Heroine by Mindy McGinnis ($17.99*, Katherine Tegen Books), recommended by Fountain Books, Richmond, VA.

  • Game Changers by Lesa Cline-Ransome, James Ransome

    Game Changers by Lesa Cline-Ransome, James RansomeThe Williams sisters get their due in this spot-on biography by the husband and wife author/illustrator team. Venus and Serena’s power, grace and competitive spirit come shining through in the words, and the vibrant illustrations—check out the two-page spread of the Williams family cleaning the tennis courts as the sun rises with the pinks and oranges simply popping off the page!—are the perfect accompaniment to this story of two of the most dominant athletes of our time. 

    Game Changers by Lesa Cline-Ransome, James Ransome ($17.99*, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Girl Running by Annette Bay Pimentel, Micha Archer

    Girl Running by Annette Bay Pimentel, Micha ArcherI learned so much from this beautiful picture book. Bobbi Gibb was the first woman who ran the Boston Marathon--but she had to do it in secret. This story of her life is fascinating and incredibly inspiring, heightened by the gorgeous collage art of Micha Archer. 

    Girl Running by Annette Bay Pimentel, Micha Archer ($17.99*, Nancy Paulsen Books), recommended by McIntyre's Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC.

  • Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell

    Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom BissellThe best book I've ever read about video games. Bissell takes games seriously as an art form worthy of thoughtful criticism while never idealizing away their flaws. Extra Lives is broken up into memoir-ish chapters focusing on the author's relationship to a single game at a time. "Grand Thefts" is a devastating high point, but they all have unique insights.

    Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter by Tom Bissell ($15.95*, Vintage Books), recommended by Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC.

  • Stick a Fork in Me by Dan Jenkins

    Fans of Dan Jenkins will be very happy with his latest novel. Jenkins is well-known among sports fans for his satirical, funny tomes set in the world of sports. What he did for football with Semi-Tough and golf with Dead Solid Perfect, he now does for big-time college sports. Good ol' boy Pete Wallace has finally reached the top of the college sports world by becoming the athletic director at Western Ohio University. The story of how Pete handles politically correct campus culture, fragile egos, and colorful characters is laugh out loud funny.

    Stick a Fork in Me by Dan Jenkins (Tyrus $16.99), recommended by Bill, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

    Part rap style poetry, part love story to a father and to basketball; good young adult fiction about 12-year-old twin boys.

    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (HMH Books for Young Readers $16.99), reader recommendation by Martha at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC.

  • The Last Season by Stuart Stevens

    Stuart Stevens has written five books on politics and travel, but this one’s personal.

    The Last Season is an account of the year the author and his 95-year-old father set out to see every Ole Miss game in 2012, a year that came on the heels of Mitt Romney’s losing presidential campaign, in which Stuart Stevens served as its director. Stevens investigates the destinations life has taken him, especially regarding his relationship with his dad.

    As Pat Conroy, who knows something about the father-son thing, says, "It’s nuts, it’s Ole Miss, it’s outrageous, it’s got depth and emotion, it's one of the best father-son books I’ve read in years. Hotty Toddy is the only phrase you need to know to love this book."

    The Last Season: A Father, a Son, and a Lifetime of College Football by Stuart Stevens (Knopf) Recommended by RH at Square Books Oxford MS

  • Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports by Jay M. Smith, Mary Willingham

    It's been in the news for years, but Jay Smith & Mary Willingham's Cheated lays out the UNC academic/sports deception and prime players in all its breathtaking scope.

    Follow the timeline and see how the dots are connected. While I'd read about the scandal, Cheated was full of revelations. Even more than for UNC, the authors make clear how this fits into a history of multi-institutional disgrace.

    What happens next is urgent for the landscape of collegiate money-making sports and its players.

    Cheated: The UNC Scandal, the Education of Athletes, and the Future of Big-Time College Sports by By Jay M. Smith, Mary Willingham (Potomac Books) Recommended by Rosemary at Quail Ridge Books Raleigh NC