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Summer Reading

Books | Five books about sports and other kinds of play

Issue: "Will Kurds stand alone?," June 1, 2002
1
Tilting the Playing Field
Jessica Gavora
CONTENT
An acute analysis of the unintended consequences of Title IX, the key part of a 1972 federal law that was designed to end discrimination on the basis of gender in the world of college athletics.
GIST
Gavora convincingly argues that rather than ending discrimination and increasing opportunities for women, Title IX's main effect has been the implementation of a quota system and a decrease in athletic opportunities for men. She warns that its effects won't be limited to sports.
2
The Quotable ESPN
edited by Shelley Youngblut
CONTENT
Memorable quotations culled from the cable sports network ESPN.
GIST
The quotes from personalities as disparate as Mike Tyson and Richard Nixon range from the witty ("I've only been doing it for 52 years. I think, with some experience, I might get a little bit better."-Harry Caray in 1996) to the laughable ("You know, everybody makes mistakes. I can't be perfect all the time."-Tanya Harding), but they do show that some sports interviews go beyond clichés.
3
The Minority Quarterback
Ira Berkow
CONTENT
A compilation of sports columns by the Pulitzer Prize? winning New York Times writer.
GIST
Berkow specializes in finding the human angle in sports stories that may have slipped past the national press, like the story of Marcus Jacoby, the first white quarterback to play at historically black Southern University, or of Eric Show, the former pitcher for the San Diego Padres who seemed to have everything but ended up dying in a drug rehabilitation center.
4
The Life of Reilly
Rick Reilly
CONTENT
The best articles of the past 15 years written by the award-winning Sports Illustrated back page columnist.
GIST
Reilly's sometimes controversial takes on sports are almost always entertaining. He auditioned for a spot in a women's basketball league, tried to watch every sport at the Barcelona Olympics for under $2,000, and interviewed the family of Ken Fox, the racing fan killed by a flying tire. Reilly's accessible writing translates these experiences into superb columns.
5
The Last Amateurs
John Feinstein
CONTENT
A behind-the-scenes look at a season of college basketball in one of its purest forms, as played in the Patriot League.
GIST
Teams in the Patriot League reside on the perimeter of college basketball, big enough to play the top teams, small enough to have no chance at winning. With no realistic shot at post-season success, Patriot League teams take regular season rivalries seriously; unlike players at most big universities, these student-athletes also take their studies seriously.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Those looking for light summer reading by Christian authors might be attracted to two news books, Michael Morris's A Place Called Wiregrass and Cape Light by Thomas Kinkade. Mr. Morris writes a fine first novel similar in some ways to the Mitford books by Jan Karon. Like Karon, the novel has a sense of place, a small town in Florida called Wiregrass. But Mr. Morris's Wiregrass is grittier than Mitford, where sin's hard edges have been worn off. Erma Lee Jacobs is a blue-collar woman who runs away from her abusive husband and seeks refuge in Wiregrass. There she meets and begins working for Miss Claudia, an elderly woman with secrets in her past and a faith in Christ that she imparts to her younger, wounded friend. Cape Light, on the other hand, is formula fiction that may amuse but won't satisfy. It's a typical romance novel set in a small New England town featured in one of Thomas Kinkade's paintings. It tries to be like Mitford, but it comes across as a Mitford clone that's off at the core. The book's vague spirituality doesn't help.

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