For me, nothing says “I love you” or “I know you” then giving me the perfect must-read book. Maybe that’s because I’m a book junkie. But I’m going to use the super cheesy like “books are a gift that keeps on giving” because I truly believe that. There are some books that have stayed with me for over 25 years!
Sports books are even more likely to strike a powerful chord with the receipient because most of them are very inspirational and full of “overcoming the odds” stories that make you feel like You Can Do Anything!
Here is my list of Must-Read Sports Books for 2009 that I have either read (and cried to) or I have on my holiday wish list! (keep in mind this is just the ’09 list! Also check out the Stiletto Sports Bookshelf for other great sports reads)
- Open: An Autobiography Andre Agassi (Read the Reviews) This is definitely the must-read book of the season. Agassi’s book hit the stands only a few weeks ago and was at the top of the list before it even debuted. I hate to quote someone else here but I couldn’t say it better myself: After 20 pages, I knew that this was unlike any other biography I had ever read. Couldn’t put it down. Couldn’t stop thinking about it. Agassi dug deeper inside than most of us ever will have to, to get to core of what made him so powerful as a player and so conflicted as a person. It is all conspicuously real: The small moments, the outlandish triumphs and the friendships that sustained him and/or corrupted him. The gauntlet he had to run through to arrive at the balance and joy he has today. It’s transformative. –H.S. Brice via Amazon Reviews
- When The Game Was Ours Larry Bird & Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Read the Reviews)This is the must-read book of the season in my house! The book, written by digs deep into the past of on-court rivals Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The two were the fiercest of competitors for nearly . This book takes you on their journey through those pivotal games, key moments and highlights and better yet, gives us a glimpse of what was really going on, what they really thought. This should go down as one of the most intriguing and best reads about pro basketball and even sports”
- The Yankee Years Joe Torre (Read the Reviews) Ask any Yankees fan what he or she did on Feb. 3, 2009 and a majority of them could probably answer “Bought Joe Torre’s book,” (except of course those who had preordered it!) This was one of the most highly anticipated sports books of all time. It almost reached Harry Potter or Twilight release levels of excitement. Yankees fans, haters and even those bored by baseball were dying to know what was in this book. And it lived up to the hype. Not only does it recount amazing memories about America’s beloved team but also “The Yankee Years chronicles the end of an era in baseball, a more innocent time before steroid scandals, big money and executive decisions based on advanced statistical analysis.”
- The Blind Side The Michael Oher Story (Read the Reviews) Written by Michael Williams The Sandra Bullock The Blind Side has been getting rave reviews in the theaters and the book the movie is based on is just as good. However…..it is very different from the Disney-esque movie version (note: the movie was not done by Disney, just has that feel-good vibe, ya know?) which focuses more on the the inspirational family aspect of the story. The book still delves into Michael’s story and shows how truly remarkable his upbringing and raise to fame really is, but the book is so much more. It shows great insight into sports and American society and the evolution of both. Highly recommend.
- Hard Work: My Life on and Off the Court Roy Williams(Read the Review)I’ve been a huge Roy Williams fan since his coaching days at Kansas. He’s always radiated class and sound philosophies. This book details just how much hard work and struggle he had to go through to get to where he is today: the coach of the National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels. But shows you that with hard work and perserverance, you can accomplish anything.
- Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance Tony Dungy(Read the Review) The motivational words behind former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s book, and his life, are simple: “Success is uncommon, therefore not to be enjoyed by the common man. I’m looking for uncommon people.” In this follow-up book to Quiet Strength, Dungy explains the foundations of how he lives his life and how to become uncommon. The book is a wonderful mix of autobiographical tales, self-help, inspiration and football.
- First Things First: The Rules of Being a Warner Kurt Warner (Read the Review) In a sense, this is the sequel to All Things Possible: My Faith, Football and The Miracle Season, which I also highly recommend. The story of Kurt’s struggling rise to fame will make you truly believe that all things are possible. They are the perfect books for the holiday season–and during these difficult times.
- The Catch: One Play, Two Dynasties, and the Game That Changed the NFL Gary Myers (Read the Review) Gary takes one of the most famous moments in NFL history
“The Catch” in the endzone and brings the story to light from both sides in this tale of Two Dynasites. A must read for any football fan–or any sports fan for that matter—since it is based on an iconic moment in sports history.
- Safe at Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic Alyssa Milano (Read the Review) I have been dying to read this book for months now (hint hint for all those shopping for me!) First, I’m a huge Alyssa fan—follow her on Twitter and watch old episodes of Charmed pretty much every night! So if she loves baseball, that’s a pretty good way to get me—and any anti-baseball girl— to love it too. Once again, the book is just about her life or her love of the Dodgers. Her book illustrates how sports are the last real social interation and connection we have today.
- On the Line Serena Williams (Read the Review) Originally I had this book higher up on my list—and in my wish list cart in amazon—because it hit the best seller list and I thought, hmmm, she’s a sports figure I’d love to know more about. However, the reviews for the book have been so ….well, so-so….that I’ve shoved the book to the bottom of my list. Apparently the book doesn’t really even scratch the surface of Serena, on or off the court. But hey, if you are a tennis or Serena fan, then check it out and let me know what you think!
Have you read any of these or have them on your wish list? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to know what you think. Also, don’t forget to check out the Stiletto Sports Bookshelf Archive which features other amazing sports books that make great reads and even better gifts!
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