Kim Orendor: Book your sports weekends now

It’s not an exaggeration to say that 90 percent of what I read is fiction.

365体育投注Hand me a tome set in Europe during World War II, and I’ll devour it in days.

But what about that 10-percent reserve of nonfiction?

Well, it’s home to biographies and memoirs of men and women I admire, and the bulk of the selections are dedicated to sports.

The majority of writings show my L.A. Dodgers bias, but there are a few hidden gems that caught even me by surprise.

If you’re staring at your bookshelf and looking for a possible new read, consider the following …

* “Seabiscuit, an American Legend” by Laura Hillenbrand (also the author of “Unbroken”) is a brilliant read for horse racing and non-thoroughbred fans alike.

365体育投注Hillenbrand is able to paint brilliant pictures in our minds because of the extensive research that goes into her writing.

The story is 399 pages, followed by 57 pages of chapter notes, index and the career charts of Seabiscuit.

Unlike some nonfiction that feels like you’re plodding through someone’s life, this book carries you at breakneck speed — just like riding a horse.

As an added bonus, if you’ve ever lived in Southern California, she brings the past alive in neighborhoods you drive through or around each day.

365体育投注* “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown is one of those books I passed by numerous times in the bookstore. But one day I said, “The heck with it,” bought it, brought it home and, again, couldn’t put it down.

365体育投注This work follows the United States men’s crew journey for a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

365体育投注Being slightly familiar with crew having covered the UC Davis team back in the day, the sport and language were not totally foreign to me.

The 370 pages cover not only the individual triumphs and struggles in the boat, but also the cutthroat world of boat design. And that’s just in America.

365体育投注It culminates in the classic David vs. Goliath with the University of Washington rowers battling Adolph Hiltler’s German crew.

* “The Catcher was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg” by Nicholas Dawidoff was a surprise find.

Mainly because I found it at a museum, (technically, the Skirball Cultural Center just off The 405 north of the Getty Center in Los Angeles).

In 2006, I visited the Skirball to see its exhibit of “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American.” It examined how early immigrants to the U.S. encouraged their children to learn to play baseball to fit it with their adopted country.

On display were the familiar names and stories of Hank Greenberg, Fernando Valenzuela and Roberto Clemente. Then there was the exhibit on Moe Berg — described as an OK baseball player and maybe better spy.

365体育投注How could I not get the book when I saw it in the gift shop?

365体育投注It also has the bonus for me of touching on WWII: win-win.

This 352-page ride had plenty of twists and turns, supported by 10 pages of notes on the sources, then more notes and an index.

It was a strong read that held me from start to finish.

— Kim Orendor is the associate sports editor/writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KOrendor.

Additional recommendations by Enterprise staffers

Bruce Gallaudet

365体育投注* “Holy Toledo” by Ken Korach — about Bill King.

365体育投注* “The Steamer” by Davis resident Andy Furillo. All about the life and times of L.A. Herald-Examiner sports editor Bud Furillo. Andy is Bud’s son and former Bee staff member.

365体育投注* “The Best American Sports Writing of the Century,” a compilation by David Halberstam and Glenn Stout.

365体育投注* “Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman” by Lee Lowenfish. Rickey’s granddaughter Nancy Keltner lives in Davis.

Evan Ream

* “This Love is Not for Cowards” by Robert Andrew Powell. It’s about a down-on-luck freelance writer who moves to the most dangerous city in the world to follow soccer.

* “Soccer Against the Enemy” by Simon Kuper. A young journalist travels to roughly 20 countries to cover soccer from a cultural aspect.

* “Behind the Curtain” by Jonathan Wilson. In it a well-traveled Guardian writer’s memories on covering soccer in Eastern Europe.

365体育投注* “The Book of Basketball” by Bill Simmons — A bloated history of the NBA that covers way too many topics, but in a good way.

Lev Farris Goldenberg

* “Ball Four” a memoir by former New York Yankee Jim Bouton. A ground-breaking tell-all book that showed the inner workings of the Bronx Bombers: good, bad and ugly.

365体育投注* “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis looks at Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and the use of analytics.

365体育投注* “Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy” by former Washington Post sports writer Jane Leavy.

Owen Yancher

365体育投注* “Into Thin Air” by John Krakaur recounts the tragic death of eight climbers on Mt. Everest in 1996.

* “Born to Run” by author and journalist Chris McDougall looks into the world of endurance running.

Will Wyman

365体育投注* “Shoe Dog” by NIKE co-founder Phil Knight gives insight into the early days of the iconic footwear.


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