84 books like In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle

By Madeleine Blais,

Here are 84 books that In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle fans have personally recommended if you like In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ 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 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 A Sense of Where You Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton

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?

Bill Bradley was as far from a typical college and NBA superstar as can possibly be imagined. He was 6’5” but could barely dunk. In a race between the tortoise and the hare, he would be the tortoise. Yet, with an uncanny set of shooting, passing, and rebounding skills, he became the nation’s top high school prospect, with more than 70 colleges, including every powerhouse in the sport, offering him a scholarship. Instead, he chose to play at lowly Princeton, in one of the game’s weakest conferences—the Ivy League—where he averaged more than 30 points a game over the course of his career, becoming a two-time first-team All-American and, in his senior season, national player of the year, leading the Tigers to the 1965 NCAA tournament’s Final Four, in which he scored an unheard of 58 points against Wichita State and was named the tournament’s MVP—the only player to this…

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Sense of Where You Are as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book from the legendary New Yorker writer John McPhee, tells about Bill Bradley when he was the best basketball player Princeton had ever seen.

When John McPhee met Bill Bradley, both were at the beginning of their careers. In A Sense of Where You Are,
McPhee delineates for the reader the training and techniques that made Bradley the extraordinary athlete he was, and this part of the book is a blueprint of superlative basketball. But athletic prowess alone would not explain Bradley's magnetism, which is in the quality of the man himself—his self-discipline, his rationality, and his sense…


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 Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX: The Law That Changed the Future of Girls in America

Barbara Carroll Roberts Author Of Nikki on the Line

From my list on girls who love sports.

Who am I?

I was a very active kid – the kind of kid who was constantly told to sit still and be quiet. Growing up in the 1960s, I had few opportunities to engage in athletics, other than neighborhood games of tag and kick-the-can. But when I got to high school, our school district had just begun offering competitive sports for girls. Finally, my energy and athletic ability were appreciated (at least by my coaches and teammates). So I guess it was inevitable that when I began writing books for young readers, I would start with a book about a girl who loves sports.

Barbara's book list on girls who love sports

Barbara Carroll Roberts Why did Barbara love this book?

Today’s young readers can’t believe that when I was in high school, our basketball team was only allowed in the gym when the boys weren’t using it. They can’t believe there was a time when people thought girls shouldn’t play competitive sports. But really, who could believe it? Who could believe it would take an act of Congress – the 1972 law known as Title IX – to guarantee girls and women the right to equal opportunities in every academic field and in athletics? I love this book because it tells the story of Title IX, a law that mandated academic equity for girls and women, and changed the world for girls who love sports. 

By Karen Blumenthal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Let Me Play as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Can girls play softball? Can girls be school crossing guards? Can girls become lawyers or doctors or engineers? Of course they can... today. But just a few decades ago, opportunities for girls were far more limited, not because they weren't capable or didn't want to, but because they weren't allowed to. Ages 8-12.


Book cover of Raped Black Male: A Memoir

Robert Uttaro Author Of To The Survivors: One Man's Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence

From my list on sexual violence, hope and healing.

Who am I?

God gave me a life-long calling to help anyone affected by sexual violence. Words often fail when I try to describe the pain that results from sexual abuse and what it truly means to me to make a positive difference in the lives of survivors. My heart and soul break for those who are suffering from evil crimes, and yet I continuously see people disclosing, expressing, growing, and healing. From my many years working as a counselor and advocate, I've learned that very often people just need someone to be with them and listen. I'm committed to supporting others in this area for as long as I can be helpful.

Robert's book list on sexual violence, hope and healing

Robert Uttaro Why did Robert love this book?

I had the good fortune to meet Kenny Rogers at the Gaithersburg Book Festival and I was immediately struck by his kindness and gentle spirit.

Raped Black Male: A Memoir is a moving book that offers vivid details of his childhood rape, but the book is about more. Rogers also provides compelling fictional anecdotes and reflections on his internal struggles—from homelessness to what it means to be a black man in America.

Rogers is a powerful human being and his story is another reminder that a person can overcome the painful effects of sexual violence to live a healthy and productive life. 

By Kenneth Rogers Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Raped Black Male tells my story of being homeless and struggling to overcome depression while coming to terms with being sexually assaulted by my sister at age eight. Beginning in my middle school years, the novel weaves its way through the '90s to present day, as the stress of exceeding expectations of what it means to be a black male and the crippling unspoken belief that says (without saying) - it's impossible for a man to be raped - has forced one mental breakdown after another, resulting in thoughts of suicide. This memoir is filled with depth, humor, and honesty…


Book cover of Moonfixer: The Basketball Journey of Earl Lloyd

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?

I was on lunch break one day in 2010 walking through Union Station in DC when I saw a very tall, elderly Black man seated at a table in the B. Dalton bookstore with a stack of books in front of him.

I smiled at him and he back and me, and then the man with him said, “Do you know who this is?” I said no. The man said “It’s Earl Lloyd, the first African American to play in the NBA.” It occurred to me then, as it has many times since, that most Americans know about Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in professional baseball, but until that moment I didn’t know who did the same in basketball.

And it wasn’t until 10 years later, when I finally read the book that Mr. Lloyd graciously signed for me, that I wished I’d talked with him about his remarkable…

By Earl Lloyd, Sean Kirst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1950, future Hall of Famer Earl Lloyd became the first African American to play in a National Basketball Association game. Nicknamed ""Moonfixer"" in college, Lloyd led West Virginia State to two CIAA Conference and Tournament Championships and was named All-American twice. One of three African Americans to enter the NBA at that time, Lloyd played for the Washington Capitals, Syracuse Nationals, and Detroit Pistons before he retired in 1961.

Throughout his career, he quietly endured the overwhelming slights and exclusions that went with being black in America. Yet he has also lived to see basketball - a demonstration of…


Book cover of I Came as a Shadow: An Autobiography

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?

OK, I’m stretching a bit to include this on my list.

John Thompson made his mark on basketball as a college coach, not from his two years as Bill Russell’s back-up with the Celtics. But I’ve got a personal interest here: I was a student sportswriter at Georgetown from Coach Thompson’s second year as coach, and as a junior and senior got to attend his weekly press conferences with the student press. I’ve often said I learned more about life from those meetings in Coach’s office than I did from any other class at Georgetown.

I feel the same about this book, written with Andscape senior writer Jesse Washington. If you read this book you probably won’t agree with all of it, but I have no doubt that you’ll learn from it. 

By John Thompson, Jesse Washington,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Came as a Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

The long-awaited autobiography from Georgetown University’s legendary coach, whose life on and off the basketball court throws America’s unresolved struggle with racial justice into sharp relief

John Thompson was never just a basketball coach and I Came As a Shadow is categorically not just a basketball autobiography.

After three decades at the center of race and sports in America, the first Black head coach to win an NCAA championship is ready to make the private public. Chockful of stories and moving beyond mere stats (and what stats! three Final Fours, four times national coach…


Book cover of The Breaks of the Game

Jonathan Weiler Author Of Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America's Great Divide

From my list on basketball books with larger societal issues.

Who am I?

I am a professor of Global Studies at UNC Chapel Hill and I have written about the intersection of sports, media, and politics for many years. I am also the co-host of a podcast, Agony of Defeat, with Matt Andrews, that explores the connections between sports, politics, and history. Basketball is an especially rich topic for mining these intersections. And I’m also a lifelong sports fan.

Jonathan's book list on basketball books with larger societal issues

Jonathan Weiler Why did Jonathan love this book?

David Halberstam's classic, a chronicle of the Portland Trailblazers during the 1979-80 season. Three years removed from a stunning run to the NBA title, and with their mercurial superstar, Bill Walton, injured and then traded, the Blazers scuffled through the long slog of the season, trying in vain to recapture old glory. The book isn't just a chronicle of a team of interesting characters, though. It's an unflinching look at the cold financial calculus of professional sports and what it means when athletes know that they are, in the end, high-priced and expendable commodities. The book also captures the NBA at a critical inflection point in its history. It became a predominantly black league in the 1970s and its popularity declined to the point that the finals were televised on tape delay. Halberstam, the players and management are acutely aware of the tightrope the sport was compelled to walk as…

By David Halberstam,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Breaks of the Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller, David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game focuses on one grim season (1979-80) in the life of the Bill Walton-led Portland Trail Blazers, a team that only three years before had been NBA champions.
More than six years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his groundbreaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and…


Book cover of Full Court: A literary anthology of basketball

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?

In the 1990s, I didn’t know of any collection of basketball stories and few great basketball books had been written. Dennis Trudell saw the same thing and fixed it with this literary anthology. I appreciated the broad array of stories in the collection. It includes John Updike’s poem, “The Ex-basketball Player.” In “Posting Up,” Stephanie Grant captured the beauty of basketball in a story about a teenage girl learning to play the post. Most stories tackle hard topics beyond the basketball court. If you love basketball and literature, you must find this hard-to-find book. 

By Dennis Trudell (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Introduction

Dennis Trudell

I wanted this book to exist because I love to read and I love basketball.

And there was no gathering of strictly "creative" writing about what is surely one of our most spontaneous, creative sports. While many literary baseball anthologies were available, fans of basketball and writing had only collections of journalism, or journalism mixed with an occasional story and novel fragment. Yet basketball is now our nation's most popular sport (fifty-four percent to forty-six percent over baseball, I read in the newspaper-though we're talking about passion, and how does one measure?). Further, it is a sport…


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