The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach
(Adult Fiction) - At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.
Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.
As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to oneself and to others.
by Carly Phillips
(Adult Fiction) - Just one short season ago, major league center fielder John Roper had it all: the looks--and personal life--of a sports hero and the public's adoration. But this hot property's lucky streak has run out. After a World Series disaster, fans diss him, shock jocks mock him and his dysfunctional family hassles him for money he really can't spare. Now it's up to him, and Hot Zone publicist Amy Stone, to get his life back on track.
Playing for Pizza
by John Grisham
(Adult Fiction) - Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.
But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback. Great, says Rick--for which team?
The mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.
Yes, Italians do play American football, to one degree or another, and the Parma Panthers desperately want a former NFL player--any former NFL player--at their helm. So Rick reluctantly agrees to play for the Panthers--at least until a better offer comes along--and heads off to Italy. He knows nothing about Parma--not even where it is--has never been to Europe, and doesn't speak or understand a word of Italian.
To say that Italy--the land of opera, fine wines, extremely small cars, romance, and Football Americano -- holds a few surprises for Rick Dockery would be something of an understatement.
by Colin Cowherd
(Adult Nonfiction) - In his no-holds-barred, unapologetically controversial voice, New York Times bestselling author and ESPN radio show host Colin Cowherd gives an insider's look into all things sports, including behind-the-scenes scandals, inter-team rivalries, and players' lives on and off the field.
There's a lot you don't see or hear sitting high up in the stands. But Colin Cowherd knows what really goes on--and he's not afraid to share the vivid details of everything we don't see on ESPN. From hotel parties for athletes and other industry professionals, to gossip from the road between games, to what happens at ESPN behind closed doors, Cowherd draws on personal experiences to offer you an exclusive look into the rarefied, outrageous, ego-stuffed sphere of the professional sports world.
If you want honest, unvarnished opinions on current sports rivalries, scandals, and statistics, it's all in Raw --from one of America's most outspoken sports broadcasters on air today.
When the Game Was Ours
by Larry Bird
(Adult Nonfiction) - From the moment these two players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most compelling rivalry in the NBA. These were the basketball epics of the 1980s -- Celtics vs Lakers, East vs West, physical vs finesse, Old School vs Showtime, even white vs black. Each pushed the other to greatness -- together Bird and Johnson collected eight NBA Championships, six MVP awards and helped save the floundering NBA at its most critical time. When it started they were bitter rivals, but along the way they became lifelong friends.
With intimate, fly-on-the-wall detail, When the Game Was Ours transports readers to this electric era of basketball and reveals for the first time the inner workings of two players dead set on besting one another. From the heady days of trading championships to the darker days of injury and illness, we come to understand Larry's obsessive devotion to winning and how his demons drove him on the court. We hear him talk with candor about playing through chronic pain and its truly exacting toll. In Magic we see a young, invincible star struggle with the sting of defeat, not just as a player but as a team leader. We are there the moment he learns he's contracted HIV and hear in his own words how that devastating news impacted his relationships in basketball and beyond. But always, in both cases, we see them prevail.
A compelling, up-close-and-personal portrait of basketball's most inimitable duo, When the Game Was Ours is a reevaluation of three decades in counterpoint. It is also a rollicking ride through professional basketball's best times.
Wooden: A Coach's Life
by Seth Davis
(Adult Nonfiction) - A provocative and revelatory new biography of the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, by one of America's top college basketball writers
No college basketball coach has ever dominated the sport like John Wooden. His UCLA teams reached unprecedented heights in the 1960s and '70s capped by a run of ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons and an eighty-eight-game winning streak, records that stand to this day. Wooden also became a renowned motivational speaker and writer, revered for his "Pyramid of Success."
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports has written the definitive biography of Wooden, an unflinching portrait that draws on archival research and more than two hundred interviews with players, opponents, coaches, and even Wooden himself. Davis shows how hard Wooden strove for success, from his All-American playing days at Purdue through his early years as a high school and college coach to the glory days at UCLA, only to discover that reaching new heights brought new burdens and frustrations. Davis also reveals how at the pinnacle of his career Wooden found himself on questionable ground with alumni, referees, assistants, and even some of his players. His was a life not only of lessons taught, but also of lessons learned.
Woven into the story as well are the players who powered Wooden's championship teams - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard, and others - many of whom speak frankly about their coach. The portrait that emerges from Davis's remarkable biography is of a man in full, whose life story still resonates today.