Saturday, August 07, 2010

Rick Gekoski's five favorite books on sports

Rick Gekoski is a rare book dealer, writer, and occasional broadcaster. An American who relocated to England in 1966, he taught English Literature at the University of Warwick from 1971-1987, and has published books on Joseph Conrad, William Golding, Premiership football (Staying Up), a collection of essays entitled Tolkien's Gown and Other Stories of Great Authors and Rare Books (based on his BBC Radio 4 Series Rare Books, Rare People), and Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir. In 2005 he was one of the judges for the Man Booker prize, and he is currently chair of the judges for the Man Booker International prize 2011.

He named his five favorite books on sports for the Guardian. One title on the list:
Joe McGinniss, The Miracle of Castel di Sangro, 1999

In 1998 I published Staying Up, a behind-the-scenes account of a year with a Premiership football team (Coventry City). When Joe McGinniss came out with a similar book I was intrigued, and envious at how much he had enjoyed his experience. Admittedly his was with a minor Italian team, newly promoted to Serie B (and controlled by the local mob), but he was welcomed warmly by the management, coaching staff and players, and incorporated into the day-to-day life of the team. Lucky him. For most of my behind-the-scenes experience, I was treated like a foreign intruder in a hostile culture, and the result was a sort of travel book, with balls. I'd rather have been in Italy, eating pasta with Joe and his team, discussing tactics for our next match.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue