Summer sports reads

Check out these great sports books for a summer of action, intrigue, and entertainment

Sports books are a great way to fulfill the necessity of a solid summer book. They come in both nonfiction and fiction form, and encompass an area as wide as the sports they cover. During long summer days, when mid-season baseball is the most exciting event on TV, a good sports book acts as a portal to a more exciting world of action and competition. Whether you are a history buff or burn through fantasy novels, there’s a sports book for your. Here’s a list of the five best sports books to read in summer (we left out the obvious ones, like Unbroken and Moneyball).

Honorable Mentions

Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann

Open by Andre Agassi

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons

Sunday Money by Jeff  MacGregor

5. The Natural by Bernard Malamud

the natural

This novel is thought to be based on a true story, but even as a standalone tale, it seems larger than life. Roy Hobbs is a baseball player on the track to stardom. Alongside his iconic bat “Wonderboy,” he tears through the competition. However, the seemingly straightforward path of Hobbs is derailed by violence, romance, and mystery. It’s a tale about the pitfalls of stardom and the cost of redemption. Malamud’s writing is engrossing and captures the reader. All in all, it’s a story about both baseball and America, wrapped up in intrigue and mystery.

4. Showtime by Jeff Pearlmanshowtime-ftr

The Showtime Los Angeles Lakers were one of the most iconic basketball teams of all time. Featuring the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy, this nonfiction account of their dynasty by Jeff Pearlman takes the reader incredibly deep into the inner workings of the team and the individual personalities that made it so special. It’s exhaustively researched and instantly captivating, even for those who know nothing about basketball. From power struggles to world championships to sexual exploits, the book, like the team, never fails to entertain.

3. A Sense of Where You Are by John McPhee


Chronicling the life of basketball legend Bill Bradley during his time at Princeton, John McPhee wastes little time. This book is short but profound, and Bradley’s “bigger than basketball” persona shines through the pages. McPhee gives an unparalled look into Bradley’s impact on the Princeton basketball program whlie also painting the character of the man himself. Bradley’s success at Princeton is ultimately attributed not just to his superhuman dedication to work and practice, but also his qualities as a disciplined, worldly leader.

2. Summerland by Michael Chabon


Picture “Up” combined with “The Phantom Tollbooth” and then multiplied by “Baseball Prospectus.” This fantasy novel takes an unorthodox approach in framing the age old theme of good and evil. The main character, Ethan, fights the dastardly Coyote who is trying to destroy a portal that links Earth to other worlds. Ethan and his gang of talking animals and otherworldly people travel between these worlds, all the while playing baseball and trying to stop Coyote. It’s a wild, twisting, perplexing story that seamlessly weaves baseball into its other, more fantastical elements.

1. Muck City by Bryan Mealer

muckcity (1)

If you liked “Friday Night Lights,” this is the book for you. Similar to the tale of Odessa, Texas, this work of nonfiction delves deep into the high school football culture of Belle Glade, Florida. It focuses on the Belle Glades Central Raiders, a powerhouse team that has sent 27 players to the NFL in the past 30 years. However, deep poverty and hopelessness haunts the town, especially the star quarterback, the book’s main character. Overall, it paints the picture of a desperate town that clings to football as its sole source of hope and happiness.