This list of sports novels covers a wide range of sports and genres, so even if you aren’t a huge sports fan, you should definitely check out these books where sports fans and non-fans of all ages can find a story they’ll love.
The coronavirus sent many fans and players wondering whether live, professional sports were done for in 2020. However, the soccer/football season has begun again, with the caveat of no fans in the stands. And while fans are waiting to see and experience these games live again, here are some books about soccer that can tide us over.
1. Among the Thugs by Bill Buford
Bill Buford, editor of the literary magazine Granta, explores the society of “football hooliganism,” where super-fans follow their favorite teams, play into the rivalries between teams, and even engage in conflict and violence in the name of the sport. This books “records both its savageries and its sinister allure with the social imagination of a George Orwell and the raw personal engagement of a Hunter Thompson,” says the book summary. Buford attempts to understand the thug movement and the motivation behind their behavior in this thrilling novel. If you want to learn more about the culture behind fans and fandom, and how group mentality can drive people to surprising lengths, read this book!
2. Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski
Soccernomics (2018 World Cup Edition): Why England Loses; Why Germany, Spain, and France Win; and Why One Day Japan, Iraq, and the United States Will Become Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport suffers from a title both way too long and way too catchy, but it’s worth it. Soccernomics uses economics and analytical tools to understand everything from everyday soccer topics to “counterintuitive truths about the world’s most beloved game.” It covers the players, coaches, soccer, finances, agents, soccer, clubs, soccer, and more soccer. If you want to know more about the game and the secrets behind what makes it tick, this book is for you.
3. Zonal Marking: The Making of Modern European Football by Michael Cox
Zonal Marking looks at soccer from a more historical and universal perspective. Cox explores Real Madrid in the ’50s, Italy in the ’60s, Dutch football in the ’70s, and how each major footballing nation changed the game and developed new tactics and ideas. The book is also sprinkled with personal and exciting anecdotes from Cox’s own experiences. Zonal Marking’s main thread is how a nation’s unique identity can shape and affect a universal sport over the decades. If the history of soccer and the nations that have influenced it over the years interests you, check out Zonal Marking!
4. The National Team: The Inside Story of the Women Who Changed Soccer by Caitlin Murray
If women’s soccer is more your style—and let’s be honest, if it isn’t, it needs to be—check out this book about the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. This amazing team has won World Cups, has been awarded Olympic gold medals, has set record TV ratings, and has changed the face of women’s soccer forever. Even though they’ve brought in huge revenues for FIFA and U.S. soccer, their team has dealt with low pay, poor playing conditions, and limited opportunities in what most people think of as a “men’s sport.” In this book, Murray explores the history of the team and of the women’s soccer league. She’s compiled interviews with team members and told their story in this excellent book. Read it!
5. Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John
This is the inspiring story of how a refugee youth soccer team changed a small American town. In the 1990s, Clarkston, Georgia was designated a settlement center for refugees from war zones like Liberia, Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, forever changing the makeup of Clarkston. Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman, founded a youth soccer team for the town’s refugee children. Outcasts United follows the story of this team as they grow together and become closer, while also exploring the interesting Clarkston environment. The players and their families face lots of daunting challenges, but they stick together and work together. St. John’s Outcasts United chronicles the “tale of a small town becoming a global community—and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.” If you want to read and learn about such a great story, read this book!
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Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new biographies for you to dig into and be inspired! Dig in and enjoy!
5. ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ by Bob Iger
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The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger is a biography by the CEO of Disney, offering tips and life advice from Iger’s fifteen years of service to the company. When Bob Iger became CEO, the Disney company was a shallow parody of itself. But Bob Iger committed to the fixing the company with his new ideas. Ten years later, Disney is the most respected and powerful media entertainment corporation in the world. Sharing stories about Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney behind the scenes, this is a must read for Disney fans.
4. ‘Accidental president’ by A.J. Baime
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The Accidental President by A.J. Baime tells the biography of the man who didn’t sign up to be President but got the job anyway: Harry S. Truman. Selected as FDR’s fourth term Vice President, he was an ordinary man until FDR’s sudden and shocking death. This biography follows Harry S. Truman in the one-hundred-twenty days he was president, during which he was forced to preside over some of the toughest moments the nation ever faced: the founding of the United Nations, the fall of Berlin, victory at Okinawa, firebombings in Tokyo, the first atomic explosion, the Nazi surrender, the liberation of concentration camps, the mass starvation in Europe, the Potsdam Conference, the controversial decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the surrender of imperial Japan, and finally, the end of World War II and the rise of the Cold War. This is a fascinating look into the man who never was supposed to be President but became one of our strongest for the brief period he was in office.
3. ‘Madame Fourcade’s Secret War’ by Lynne Olson
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Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson is the true tale of a young woman who led a spy network against Hitler’s Nazi Germany. In 1941 a thirty-one-year-old Frenchwoman, a young mother born to privilege and known for her beauty and glamour, became the leader of a vast intelligence organization—the only woman to serve as a chef de résistance during the war. Strong-willed, independent, and a lifelong rebel against her country’s conservative, patriarchal society, Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was temperamentally made for the job. Her group’s name was Alliance, but the Gestapo dubbed it Noah’s Ark because its agents used the names of animals as their aliases. The name Marie-Madeleine chose for herself was Hedgehog: a tough little animal, unthreatening in appearance, that, as a colleague of hers put it, “even a lion would hesitate to bite.” Now, in this dramatic account of the war that split France in two and forced its people to live side by side with their hated German occupiers, Lynne Olson tells the fascinating story of a woman who stood up for her nation, her fellow citizens, and herself.
2. ‘Every Man a Hero’ by Ray lambert
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Every Man A Hero by Ray Lambert is the unforgettable story not only of what happened in the incredible and desperate hours on Omaha Beach, but of the bravery and courage that preceded them, throughout the Second World War—from the sands of Africa, through the treacherous mountain passes of Sicily, and beyond to the greatest military victory the world has ever known.
1. ‘Mind and Matter’ by John Urscel
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Mind and Matter by John Urschel is a memoir by the former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, giving him the opportunity to tell his story. John Urschel developed an appetite for mathematics when he was young, devouring math contests, exams, and textbooks by the truckload. But when he reached his older years, football challenged him in a new way and he became thrilled by the physical contact of the sport. With his two loves competing for his attention, his football and love of math, he shares pivotal moments from his life to inspire others.
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Another sports star makes a cameo in Game of Thrones! After Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard cameoed last season as a Lannister guard, the Green Bay Packers have got in on the action this season. According to CNN Aaron Rodgers, the star quarterback of the team made a brief appearance in the penultimate episode of the series. Aaron Rodgers was quoted as saying he was ‘very thankful’ for the opportunity to be on the show, even though his cameo only lasted a few seconds. The quarterback posted a photo of himself in costume on his Instagram, which you can see below.
Aaron Rodger’s appearance can be seen in the episode where Daenerys lays siege to King’s Landing, trying to help a woman who was injured before dumping her and fleeing as the dragon gets closer. A clip of his role in the show was posted by sports reporter Lily Zhao, highlight Rodger’s appearance.
Did you spot him? Let us know in the comments!
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