After many dark and terrible months, football season is finally shining bright once again. Oh, and how beautiful it is! Labor Day weekend of 2016 brought us what might be the best opening weekend in college football history. Multiple top ranked teams were upset by their underdog opponents. Our very own Texas Longhorns rallied to victory in front of a home crowd of over 100,000 fans against number 10 ranked Notre Dame, a victory that helped ease the lingering sting of last year. It was a mighty good day to introduce BEVO XV to the world — long may he reign.
The football madness continues as this upcoming weekend brings us the first games of the NFL season. Here’s hoping your fantasy football draft went better than mine! But before you watch the Dallas Cowboys run all over the New York Giants on Sunday, come by your favorite local, independent bookstore and catch up on some fantastic new (and new classic) books to enrich your understanding and appreciation of America’s most popular game.
Ryan Kalil, Jordan Gross, & Geoff Hangartner – The Rookie Handbook
Brand new on the shelves this month is a one-of-kind insider’s perspective into the life and culture of the NFL. Written by three current and former star NFL players with over thirty years of combined experience, The Rookie Handbook offers unique insights that only seasoned veterans can provide. Informative, smart, funny, and beautifully illustrated, this new book offers everything NFL rookies need to know about their first year of pro football. And much like rookies, NFL fans only know what they see on TV or read obsessively following Rich Eisen and scouring obscure blogs for fantasy football info. But when it comes to what goes on in the inner sanctum, behind the locker room doors, it’s a mystery. The Rookie Handbook is the insider’s guide to that exclusive club, pulling back the curtain to reveal how players act and think and what they do when no one is watching
And as a bonus, author and former Carolina Panther offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner will be at BookPeople on Monday September 12th at 7pm for a talk and signing!
Chad S. Conine – The Republic of Football
Also new out this month is sports journalist Chad Conine’s The Republic of Football: Legends of the Texas High School Game. Anywhere football is played, Texas is the force to reckon with. Its powerhouse programs produce the best football players in America. In The Republic of Football, Chad S. Conine vividly captures Texas’s impact on the game with action-filled stories about legendary high school players, coaches, and teams from around the state and across seven decades. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Conine offers rare glimpses of the early days of some of football’s biggest stars. Packed with never-before-told anecdotes, as well as fresh takes on the games everyone remembers, The Republic of Football is a must-read for all fans of Friday night lights.
And Chad Conine will be in the store Saturday, September 17th at 3pm to discuss all things Texas football and sign copies of his new book!
Excited about Longhorn football this season? Want to learn more about the storied history of one the premiere programs in college sports? Want to read what it was like making sports history written by the legends themselves? Then this is the book for you! With vignettes from Longhorn players like Earl “the Tyler Rose” Campbell, Coach Darrell Royal, Roosevelt Leaks, and Vince Young, this book is a decade-by-decade history of the men in burnt orange.
Jessica Luther – Unsportsmanlike Conduct
Jessica Luther is a journalist whose work on sports and culture has appeared in the Texas Observer and the Austin Chronicle, and at Sports Illustrated, Texas Monthly, Vice Sports, Guardian Sport, and Bleacher Report. Luther’s work gained national attention in August 2015 when writing for Texas Monthly; she and Dan Solomon broke open the story about a Baylor football player on trial for sexual assault, a case known by only a few in the community and not reported in the media for nearly two years. In her new book, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, Luther explores the playbook that different institutions — universities, the media, the NCAA — seem to follow when it comes to handling sexual assault among student athletes. If everyone runs their plays well, scrutiny dies down quickly, no institution ever has to change how it operates, and the evaporation of these cases into nothingness looks natural. In short, this playbook is why nothing ever changes. Unsportsmanlike Conduct unpacks this societal playbook piece by piece, and not only advocates that we destroy the old plays, but also suggests we replace them with ones that will force us to finally do something about this issue.
Never really got all the appeal for football? Why do so many people spend hours and hours of their lives obsessing over a game that stops every few seconds? Well, believe me, I know where you are coming from! As a kid, I sat bored out of my mind on Sundays trying to watch football with my father. I was mostly in it for the nachos! But eventually, something just clicked. I understood that football is half strategy and half soap opera drama and I’ve loved it ever since. Take Your Eye Off the Ball will help you understand the strategy part. It breaks down all the nuances of the game, all the different positions and rules (Is a safety a player on defense or a two-point score?) to make watching football more interesting and fun.
Michael Lewis – The Blind Side
So much has been said about this book that it’s become a modern sports classic. And also just happens to be an award winning film! It tells the true, amazing story of Michael Oher, his family, and his struggles growing up in poverty and becoming a starting left tackle in the NFL. But what the film version doesn’t have the opportunity to explore is the value of the tackle position itself and why Michael Oher became such a highly valued, sought after recruit. If you’re a sports fan and haven’t read The Blind Side, you got to do yourself a favor this season. It’s that rare blend of inspirational and uniquely informative that will enrich your understanding of the game.
S.C. Gwynne – The Perfect Pass
Available September 20th! Bestselling author and journalist S.C. Gwynne turns his attention this time to football, and specifically the evolution of the passing game. How did football turn from a primarily run-heavy, ground-and-pound war of attrition to an all-out, aerial, pass-first assault? Gwynne explores the lives and strategies of two underdog coaches, Hal Mumme and Mike Leach, as they develop an offensive scheme that will forever change the way football is played and, at the same time, catapult it in popularity to the top of the American sports echelon.
And don’t forget to join us on Tuesday, September 27th at 7pm as S.C. Gwynne will be stopping by to discuss and sign copies of his new book!