63 books like A Sense of Where You Are

By John McPhee,

Here are 63 books that A Sense of Where You Are fans have personally recommended if you like A Sense of Where You Are. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Last Shot: City Streets, Basketball Dreams

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

This book is similar to mine, following a team of high school basketball players through a season, but it’s set in an urban environment: Brooklyn’s Coney Island. The boys it focuses on are African-American, the off-court struggles they and their community face (crime, violence, drug use, the lure of the streets, and the corruption of college basketball recruiters) differ from those that challenge the kids in remote Alaska, but the joy and solace they find in the game itself are the same. The writing is terrific—lucidly and intimately bringing to life the four boys whose lives it focuses on.

By Darcy Frey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Darcy Frey chronicles the aspirations of four young men as they navigate the NCAA recruitment process, their only hope of escape from a life of crime, poverty, and despair.

It ought to be just a game, but basketball on the playgrounds of Coney Island is much more than that. In The Last Shot, the aspirations of a few of the neighborhood's most promising players reveal that what they have going for them (athletic talent, grace, and years of dedication) may not be enough to defeat what's working against them: woefully inadequate schooling, family circumstances that are often desperate, and the…


Book cover of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

While this book mirrors the template of Darcy Frey’s book and my own, following a high school basketball team through an entire season, the setting—an upper-class, genteel community of white suburbanites in Amherst, Massachusetts—is a world away from that of those stories, and, most importantly, the athletes are female. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author, through her elegant writing, brings a piercing understanding of the obstacles these girls face in the wake of Title IX as they prove their toughness, perseverance, and abilities in a sport traditionally dominated by men. 

By Madeleine Blais,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1995 to huge critical acclaim and a finalist for the NBCC Award for Nonfiction, Madeleine Blais's In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle is a modern sports writing classic. Now expanded and updated with a new epilogue, Blais's book tells the story of a season in the life of the Amherst Lady Hurricanes, a powerhouse girls' high school basketball team from a small western Massachusetts college town. The Hurricanes were a talented team with a near-perfect record, but for five straight years, when it came to the crunch of the playoffs, they somehow lacked the scrappy, hard-driving…


Book cover of Heaven Is a Playground

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

While the titles mentioned so far focus on high school teams spending their winters inside gymnasiums with referees on the court and fans in the bleachers, this one, written vibrantly by a staffer for Sports Illustrated magazine, shifts outside, to a blistering hot summer on the asphalt courts of Flatbush in Brooklyn, where teenage boys (including future legends Fly Williams and Albert King) and full-grown men play a tougher game, replete with trash-talking, flashy in-your-face moves, and tests of manhood that often turn to violence, with no officials to enforce order or rules, and few bystanders besides aging ex-athletes betting a few dollars on the outcomes, and other pickup teams waiting to take on the winners. As on inner-city playgrounds across the country, the game of basketball offers a rare respite from otherwise grim lives framed by poverty and the almost complete absence of hope.

By Rick Telander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heaven Is a Playground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1974, Rick Telander intended to spend a few days doing a magazine piece on the court wizards of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. He ended up staying the entire summer, becoming part of the players’ lives and eventually the coach of a loose aggregation known as the Subway Stars. Telander tells of everything he saw: the on-court flash, the off-court jargon, the late-night graffiti raids, the tireless efforts of one promoter-hustler-benefactor to get these kids a chance at a college education. He lets the kids speak for themselves, revealing their grand dreams and ambitions. But he never flinches from showing us how…


Book cover of Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man

Michael D'Orso Author Of Eagle Blue: A Team, a Tribe, and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska

From my list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball.

Who am I?

I’m a narrative nonfiction writer whose subjects range from politics to professional football, from racial conflict to environmental destruction, from inner-city public education to social justice to spinal cord injury. The settings for my books range from the Galapagos Islands to the swamps of rural Florida, to Arctic Alaska. I typically live with and among my subjects for months at a time, portraying their lives in an intimately personal way.

Michael's book list on capturing the cultural aspects of basketball

Michael D'Orso Why did Michael love this book?

In this thoughtful, philosophical autobiography, the winningest player in NBA history uses his storied career with the Boston Celtics as a cogent window into the broken promises—mostly racial—of the American Dream. Co-written with historian Taylor Branch, whose trilogy on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., won the Pulitzer Prize, Russell, who has devoted as much of his life to activism in the cause of social justice as to the game of basketball, shares the life lessons he has learned on the court, from his schoolboy days in Louisiana to his All-American stint at the University of Seattle, to his record-setting career with the Celtics, where he won an astounding eleven championship rings in thirteen years. This book was published in 1979, but its insights are as relevant and penetrating today as they were then.

By William F. Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Second Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The perceptive, controversial, and idiosyncratic basketball star recounts the decisive events of his life and career, offers an inside look at professional basketball, and sounds off about freedom, race, marriage, religion, and American culture


Book cover of The NBA In Black And White: The Memoir of a Trailblazing NBA Player and Coach

Syl Sobel Author Of Boxed Out of the NBA: Remembering the Eastern Professional Basketball League

From my list on the history of African Americans and pro basketball.

Who am I?

When Jay Rosenstein and I started writing Boxed Out of the NBA, we thought we were writing a light collection of mostly humorous anecdotes from old ballplayers about playing in the minor league. But as we interviewed the old Eastern Leaguers and understood how the league gave a home to players who couldn’t make the NBA in large part because of race, we realized we had a much more important and socially significant story. It’s been our privilege to get to know these gentlemen, and feel like they have entrusted us to tell their story. We want to help them get the respect and recognition they deserve while they are still here to appreciate it. 

Syl's book list on the history of African Americans and pro basketball

Syl Sobel Why did Syl love this book?

Ray Scott is a living bridge from the first generation of Black players in the NBA to the modern NBA that emerged in the 1970s.

Through high school in Philadelphia where he played against Wilt Chamberlain, to college in Portland where he first competed against Elgin Baylor, to his formative professional years in the Eastern League where his contemporaries were the league’s all-time stars like Sherman White, Wally Choice, and Hal “King” Lear, to his early years in the NBA where his mentor was Earl Lloyd, to succeeding Lloyd as an NBA coach and becoming the first African American named NBA Coach of the Year, Scott has soldiered through numerous affronts yet always emerged with grace, dignity, and hope.

“Coach,” as he is called, in this memoir written with prolific basketball writer and former Eastern League player Charley Rosen, demonstrates why he is respected and beloved as both a leader…

By Ray Scott, Charley Rosen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The NBA In Black And White as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A memoir of hard lessons learned in the racially segregated and sometimes outright racist NBA of the early ‘60s by celebrated NBA player and the first Black Coach of the Year, Ray Scott. Introduced by Earl "the Pearl" Monroe.

“There’s a basic insecurity with Black guys my size,” Scott writes. “We can’t hide and everybody turns to stare when we walk down the street. … Whites believe that their culture is superior to African-American culture. ... We don’t accept many of [their] answers, but we have to live with them.”

Ray Scott was part of the early wave of Black…


Book cover of Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich

Mike Sielski Author Of The Rise: Kobe Bryant and the Pursuit of Immortality

From my list on going beyond the final score.

Who am I?

I immersed myself in sports when I was young. Watched every game. Knew every statistic and piece of trivia. Lived and died with my favorite teams’ fortunes. But as I aged and became a writer, the outcomes of the games mattered less and less to me. The sports themselves mattered less and less. What mattered were the stories that I could uncover and tell—stories that, by the nature of sports and competition, branched into all the themes and fields of the human condition.

Mike's book list on going beyond the final score

Mike Sielski Why did Mike love this book?

I rushed out to buy Kriegel’s bio of Pistol Pete when it hit stores in 2007.

I’d always found Maravich fascinating as a basketball player—the guy is still the all-time leading scorer in Division I men’s basketball history, and he played just three years of college ball—but didn’t know much about his life.

I wondered: How was there enough material for Kriegel to write a full-length book about him? Turns out, more than enough for Mark to write a brilliant book that, like so many great sports stories, is really about fathers and sons.

By Mark Kriegel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pistol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling Pistol is more than the biography of a ballplayer. It's the stuff of classic novels: the story of a boy transformed by his father's dream—and the cost of that dream. Even as Pete Maravich became Pistol Pete—a basketball icon for baby boomers—all the Maraviches paid a price. Now acclaimed author Mark Kriegel has brilliantly captured the saga of an American family: its rise, its apparent ruin, and, finally, its redemption.

Almost four decades have passed since Maravich entered the national consciousness as basketball's boy wizard. No one had ever played the game like the kid…


Book cover of Go Up for Glory

Matthew A. Werner Author Of Season of Upsets: Farm boys, city kids, Hoosier basketball and the dawn of the 1950s

From my list on more than just sports books.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller and jack of all trades who grew up on a family farm in Indiana. I can operate a combine, analyze data, or edit a book. Writing about sports can create great stories, but the true beauty lies in the people and circumstances, not the stats and game highlights. Most of my works are nonfiction—personal interest, sports, history, and sports history. I enjoy unearthing untold stories, especially when they involve equal rights, underdogs, hidden history, and non-famous people. Everyone has a story to tell.

Matthew's book list on more than just sports books

Matthew A. Werner Why did Matthew love this book?

An 11-time NBA champion, Bill Russell revealed the insecurity of being a super tall, lanky, Black man that can’t avoid notice. He wrote honestly about racism and civil rights in America. He mentioned great Celtics players and described the NBA’s early days. His description of the physical demands of traveling and playing so many games made me realize his job was hard work. Read it just to find the passage where Russel describes—better than any writer ever has—that rare, amazing feeling you get when teammates are in sync, everything is clicking, and a team plays at its peak.

By Bill Russell, William Mcsweeny,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Go Up for Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Back in print for the first time in decades, Go Up for Glory is the classic 1968 basketball memoir by NBA legend Bill Russell, with a new foreword from the author.

From NBA legend Bill Russell, Go Up for Glory is a basketball memoir that transcends time. First published in 1965, this narrative traces Russell's childhood in segregated America and details the challenges he faced as a Black man, even when he was a celebrated NBA star. And while some progress has been made, this book serves as an urgent reminder of how far we still have to go in…


Book cover of Russell Rules: 11 Lessons on Leadership From the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner

Ryan Buckley Author Of The Parallel Entrepreneur: How to start and run B2B businesses while keeping your day job

From my list on how to start a side hustle.

Who am I?

I studied economics and environmental policy but landed in entrepreneurship. I wrote The Parallel Entrepreneur after I sold my first company and continued to work on Rbucks, my blog, after I joined the next company. Outside of work I volunteer frequently in my community. I’m an Associate Professor in the Business Department at Diablo Valley College, where I teach marketing and sit on the advisory boards for both the Business and Computer Science departments. I also lead the Diablo Valley Tech Initiative (DVTI), an economic development organization incubated at DVC. Related to DVTI, I run Lamorinda Entrepreneurs, a community group that promotes and supports local entrepreneurship. I have a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Ryan's book list on how to start a side hustle

Ryan Buckley Why did Ryan love this book?

A great book about leadership and business. I pick it because it’s on the reading list suggested in The Art of Profitability. I learned that focus is important. Bill Russell was one of the greatest basketball players of all time because he worked harder and played smarter than everyone else. However, he also recognized that he doesn’t play every position. He needs to have a great team, one that adapts to the competition. He needs them all to play at his level and he was able to do that, winning the NBA Finals a record-breaking 11 seasons. One way to build a successful side hustle (or portfolio of side hustles) is to recruit a great team to help you.

By Bill Russell, David Falkner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Russell Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bill Russell epitomizes innovation, teamwork, and leadership. Now the winner of 11 championships as a player and coach of the Boston Celtics and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player reveals the 11 essential steps to attaining success in your professional and personal life.

In this invaluable book, Bill Russell shares the insights, memories, and most important, the essential “rules of success” that influenced him in every aspect of his life, from raising a daughter as a single father to becoming a successful coach and mentor to others. Filled with personal and professional stories of his days playing with Celtic greats Bob…


Book cover of Long Shot

Melissa McTernan Author Of Marked for Each Other: The Princess and The Barbarian

From my list on romance in which the heroine saves herself.

Who am I?

I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered romance. How many times had I turned up my nose at those ridiculous books with half-naked men on the cover? Countless. Little did I know the absolute joy those books held inside. I love to read and write romance, especially stories with strong heroines and deliciously squishy-inside heroes. Not to mention all the amazing queer stories out there proving that love is love. These aren’t your grandmother’s bodice-rippers (I mean, they are a little bit, but only in the best ways). The genre is constantly growing, and I’m always eager to find new converts like me!

Melissa's book list on romance in which the heroine saves herself

Melissa McTernan Why did Melissa love this book?

If you like your romance with a side of drama and angst, then Long Shot is for you, my friend. This one is a contemporary sports romance but there is nothing light and fluffy about it. For most of this book, Iris is in and out of an abusive relationship (big content warnings for domestic violence and sexual assault). Our sweet, lovable hero, August supports Iris the best he can from afar but he is not the one to swoop in and save her. And let me tell you, I really wanted him to swoop! Kennedy Ryan puts the reader through the wringer with this one and by the end I was craving a white knight on a white horse kind of moment. But in the end, it’s Iris who saves the day, and it’s so damn satisfying. 

By Kennedy Ryan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Long Shot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a Top 30 Amazon Bestseller!A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl?You don't.My fairy tale is upside down.A happily never after.I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud.I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold.Now there's a new player in the game, August West.One of the NBA's brightest stars.Fine. Forbidden.He wants me. I want him.But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go*Contains domestic/sexual abuse not involving the hero. Read reviews for guidance.


Book cover of This Train Is Being Held

Kristin Bartley Lenz Author Of The Art of Holding on and Letting Go

From my list on teen sports (and so much more).

Who am I?

I wasn’t a sporty teen, but I discovered rock climbing in my twenties and that later inspired my first novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go. I’m also a social worker, and even though my main character Cara is a competitive climber and the book features gripping (ha!) rock climbing scenes, the story is about much more – love and loss, finding home, the transformative power of nature. Sports and athleticism (or lack thereof) are something we can all relate to. What a great starting point for exploring our multi-faceted lives.

Kristin's book list on teen sports (and so much more)

Kristin Bartley Lenz Why did Kristin love this book?

Welcome to the sweet romance of Isa, a dancer, and Alex, a baseball player, teenagers in New York with very different upbringings. Isa is a blonde, half-Cuban/half white, private school girl from a well-off family that’s falling apart behind the scenes. Alex is Dominican, attends public school, and divides his time between his divorced parents. He’s also a secret poet and leaves his poems for Isa to find on the subway train where they first met. Both have professional sports potential, but the reality is more complicated. The couple navigates challenges with their families and neighborhoods, including mental health and gangs, and you’ll be rooting for them the entire time. The author has a beautiful poem in the Rhyme and Rhythm anthology that I mentioned above.

By Ismée Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Train Is Being Held as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Family and class differences threaten the love of two teens in this contemporary YA romance

When private school student Isabelle Warren first meets Dominican-American Alex Rosario on the 1 train, she remembers his green eyes and gentlemanly behavior. He remembers her long ballet dancer's legs and untroubled happiness, something he feels belongs to all rich kids. As the two grow closer in and out of the subway, Isabelle learns of Alex's father, who is hell-bent on Alex being a contender for the major leagues despite Alex's desire to go to college and become a poet. Alex learns about Isabelle's Havana-born…


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