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.
When you need a little inspiration, there’s nothing quite like picking up a sports book and reading those epic speeches, living vicariously through those epic moments, and reveling in the epic victories. And when you can relate to these fantastic athletes, the awesomeness is all the sweeter. Here are some books about women in sports for all the inspiration you could ever need.
1. The Match: Althea Gibson & Angela Buxton: How Two Outsiders—One Black, the Other Jewish—Forged a Friendship and Made Sports History by Bruce Schoenfeld
This is a story about encountering prejudice and exclusion, and about an ultimate triumph. Althea Gibson, the daughter of sharecroppers who was born in the American South and grew up in Harlem, met Angela Buxton, the granddaughter of Russian Jews, at a tennis exhibition match in India. Despite their athletic prowess, they were excluded from the other tennis players at Wimbledon in 1956. In a truly remarkable and amazing story, they decided to team up and earn an epic victory. Seriously, go read this book!
2. In the Water They Can’t See You Cry: A Memoir by Amanda Beard with Rebecca Paley
For an intense and heart-wrenching story, you need to read In the Water They Can’t See You Cry. This is the story of Amanda Beard, who won two silvers and a gold medal at the Olympics at just fourteen-year-olds. The pressure of the public eye, driven from a place of admiration and later sex, Beard struggled with mental health, depression, bulimia, and drugs and alcohol. In this book, Beard tells her story of finding strength within herself and learning to live. This raw and relentless story will utterly enthrall you. Go read it.
3. Under the Lights and In The Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer by Gwendolyn Oxenham
Under the Lights and In The Dark is a compelling collection of stories about female soccer players from across the world. From the intriguing story of Portland Thorns player Allie Long’s training in an underground men’s team in New York City to the enthralling tale of English national Fara Williams hiding her homelessness from her teammates. And that’s just the beginning. For some truly inspiring stories about some definitely admirable women, Under the Lights and In The Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer will absolutely deliver.
4. A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey by Chrissie Wellington
Chrissie Wellington is definitely a world champion, both in spirit and because of her epic win in the Ironman World Championship. A complete underdog and unknown in the press, Wellington took the sport by surprise with her skill and athleticism. A Life Without Limits is a really inspirational story about the incredible challenges Wellington faced on her journey and her resiliency in defeating them. Go check it out!
5. On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life by Amy Purdy and Michelle Burford
This epically triumphant story is about Amy Purdy, who went from losing both her legs to bacterial meningitis at nineteen to winning a bronze medal for snowboarding and making it to the finale of Dancing With the Stars. Amy’s story is about resilience, big dreams, and finding faith in yourself when the world seems to be against you. Amy’s spectacular spirit and fearsome fortitude is truly inspirational, and you should definitely go read On My Own Two Feet: From Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life!
When the world gets you down, go read one of these inspirational life stories of female athletes and their epic journeys. For stories of resiliency, spirit, passion, ambition, persistence, and strength, these stories are unmatched. Seriously, check them out!
Featured Image Via The Telegraph
Ladies and gentlemen, I am excited to announce that baseball season has finally returned!
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!
Feature Image Via He’s All Boy
Bill Simmons’ sports and pop-culture media company The Ringer is opening up book publishing as a new avenue for its writers and podcast personalities. Founded in 2016 after Simmons’ moved on from Grantland, The Ringer now boasts a thriving lineup of writers, editors, and podcasters that cover all things sports and pop culture. Now, some of those creatives are making new waves in the publishing industry via the Grand Central Publishing imprint.
Bill Simmons, Image via Hollywood Reporter
Shea Serrano’s Movies (and Other Things), scheduled to release October 8th, will be the first book coming out of this new deal between The Ringer and Grand Central Publishing. Movies (and Other Things) follows Serrano’s Basketball (and Other Things) which notably made Barack Obama’s 2017 year-end list.
In a statement on Tuesday, Serrano said:
Working at The Ringer has been the most creatively fulfilling and auspicious job I have ever had, and I am profoundly proud that Movies (And Other Things) will be the first official book put out under the Ringer Books imprint. Please buy a copy of it or go to hell.
Sal Iacono’s gambling guide and Claire McNear’s deep dive into Jeopardy! are slated for publication later this year. Though, perhaps readers shouldn’t take Iacono’s “guide” too seriously. McNear recently wrote a feature on James Holzhaur’s outstanding 32-game winning streak earlier this year.
In Simmons’ own words:
We gravitate toward quality ideas, unique storytelling and talented voices, and we know from experience that we can use The Ringer’s various resources to raise awareness for any project that matters to us. Once we clicked with the wonderful folks at Grand Central, this became a no-brainer.
Sports and book lovers should keep an eye out for all the great things coming out of this deal!
Featured image via Adweek