43 books like Jim Brown

By Dave Zirin,

Here are 43 books that Jim Brown fans have personally recommended if you like Jim Brown. 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 Soccer in Sun and Shadow

Stephen Amidon Author Of Something like the Gods: A Cultural History of the Athlete from Achilles to LeBron

From my list on sports that are about more than wins & losses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a novelist (Human Capital, The New City, and Security) with a lifelong passion for sports, from my boyhood days as a Yankees fan during their woebegone late Sixties years, to my career as the father of an All-ACC wide receiver.  In my youth, I was a workmanlike catcher, mediocre quarterback, and hard-working 800-meter runner who came this close to breaking two minutes.  These days, I mainly enjoy watching great moments in sports history on YouTube.  Through it all, I have always believed that sports are about much more than wins, losses, records, and titles.

Stephen's book list on sports that are about more than wins & losses

Stephen Amidon Why did Stephen love this book?

Galeano was no ordinary sportswriter. He was also a radical journalist, revisionist historian, and clear-eyed social critic whose work redefined modern Latin America in the minds of readers worldwide. In Soccer in Sun and Shadow, the Uruguayan author explores the meaning of soccer far beyond yellow cards and defensive strategies. In a series of short chapters, some no more than a page, Galeano illuminates the Beautiful Game’s legends, known and forgotten, from Maradona and Pele to the match that ended with 44 penalty kicks but whose results no one can quite remember. He is at his best when writing about how players of color from the favelas of Latin American added flare and rhythm to a hitherto stodgy old European game. Lyrical and learned, loving and elegiac, Soccer in Sun and Shadow stands as perhaps the greatest book on sports ever written.  

By Eduardo Galeano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soccer in Sun and Shadow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this witty and rebellious history of world soccer, award-winning writer Eduardo Galeano searches for the styles of play, players, and goals that express the unique personality of certain times and places. In Soccer in Sun and Shadow , Galeano takes us to ancient China, where engravings from the Ming period show a ball that could have been designed by Adidas to Victorian England, where gentlemen codified the rules that we still play by today and to Latin America, where the crazy English" spread the game only to find it creolized by the locals.All the greats,Pele, Di Stefano, Cruyff, Eusebio,…

Book cover of Ball Four: The Final Pitch

Noah Gittell Author Of Baseball: The Movie

From my list on books that tell the true story of baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved baseball since I was six years old when I watched that ground ball go through Bill Buckner’s legs and propel my New York Mets to their second World Series. I’ve loved film for almost as long. The best way to love something is to think critically about it–put it to the test. That’s why I wrote Baseball: The Movie. It was an effort to avoid unexamined nostalgia, to think hard about these things I love, and to make sure I love them honestly. I’ve spent 10 years as a freelance writer on baseball and movies, but not until I wrote this book did I feel like they had truly passed my test.

Noah's book list on books that tell the true story of baseball

Noah Gittell Why did Noah love this book?

In 1970, Jim Bouton blew the lid off baseball with this book.

A chronicling of one season of the author’s career in the major and minor leagues, the book told the truth about professional ballplayers: that they were not the heroes the newspapers made them out to be. On the contrary, they were just as greedy, selfish, and pervy as the rest of us.

At a time when America was going through a great disillusionment, Bouton did the same for America’s game. Years later, it still holds that power. I savored every word of it, experiencing the ups and downs of a season while gaining an insider’s view of the sport I fell in love with as a child.

By Jim Bouton,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Ball Four as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Public Library Book of the Century Selection
Time Magazine “100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books” Selection
New Foreword from Jim Bouton’s Wife, Paula Bouton
When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it hit the sports world like a lightning bolt. Commissioners, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Following his death, Bouton’s landmark book has remained popular, and his legacy lives on…

Book cover of A Fan's Notes

Trish MacEnulty Author Of The Hummingbird Kiss: My Life as an Addict in the 1970s

From my list on memoirs about or by addicts, drunks, and f#@k ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a recovered (not “recovering”) addict and writer. These days I write historical fiction because I enjoy an escape from present-day reality, and research is fun. But I started writing as a way to make sense of my chaotic world and in hopes of healing myself. Something was broken inside me, and I didn’t know how to fix it. So I wrote about the shadowy realms of my life and kept on writing until somehow I was able to let go of the past and create a different life, one which would not land me upside down in a ditch with my neck broken and my tires spinning. 

Trish's book list on memoirs about or by addicts, drunks, and f#@k ups

Trish MacEnulty Why did Trish love this book?

I cannot overstate how amazing this book (an autobiographical novel) is.

I was just trying to figure out how to write my own story when a professor recommended this book. I was blown away. At the time I read it, I wasn’t a big sports fan, but this is so not a book about sports. It’s about the rage, the wild beast inside us, and how we learn to live with it, and that it’s okay to be a mess as you do it.

By the time I finished the book, I felt like I had my own Virgil to lead me through the circles of hell. The writing in this book is like a drug in itself. It truly got me high.  

By Frederick Exley,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Fan's Notes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The narrator of this tale is the ultimate unreconstructed male. his primary concerns are booze, sex and the New York Giants. But things go very wrong for him - he drinks too much, he's impotent, and the Giants start to lose. So we follow his trail, through failed marriages, to mental hospital.

Book cover of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

John Foot Author Of Calcio: A History of Italian Football

From my list on how sport and history cannot be separated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and journalist. I lived in Italy for over twenty years, immersing myself in the culture of that country—in every form. I decided to write Calcio after becoming aware of the centrality of football to Italian culture and politics, and around the time of the rise of a football entrepreneur to political power—Silvio Berlusconi. The book took me three years, led me to visit numerous cities, stadiums, and regions, and interview dozens of journalists, experts, and players. It was a love letter and a warning—dedicated to ‘my father who loves football, and my son, who hates it.'

John's book list on how sport and history cannot be separated

John Foot Why did John love this book?

A superb and gripping account of the hold that American Football has over a small town in the USA. In telling the story of a season, Bissinger captures the glory, tragedy, and futility of sport, and its connection to racial politics, ambition, local rivalries, and a passionate fan base. Led to a brilliant TV series. Elegiac and path-breaking.

By H.G. Bissinger,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Friday Night Lights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 25th anniversary edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller and Sports Illustrated 's best football book of all time, with a new afterword by the authorReturn once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa,the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn't known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true.With frankness and compassion, H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the…

Book cover of Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas

Dan Shaughnessy Author Of Wish It Lasted Forever: Life with the Larry Bird Celtics

From my list on sports from a sports broadcaster.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been privileged to cover sports for the Boston Globe for the last 40-plus years. It is the best place in the country to do what I do. New England has tradition, smart readers, historic teams, and a great deal of success, especially in this century. As an author of 14 books, it's nice to bring some sports to the conversation on this site.

Dan's book list on sports from a sports broadcaster

Dan Shaughnessy Why did Dan love this book?

The veteran scribe grew up in Baltimore and knew Unitas well. This book is worth it just to read what Unitas said to former teammate Johnny Sample when Samply tried to taunt him at the end of Super Bowl III. It's "Diner" meets "North Dallas Forty.'' 

By Tom Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a time “when men played football for something less than a living and something more than money,” John Unitas was the ultimate quarterback. Rejected by Notre Dame, discarded by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he started on a Pennsylvania sandlot making six dollars a game and ended as the most commanding presence in the National Football League, calling the critical plays and completing the crucial passes at the moment his sport came of age.

Johnny U is the first authoritative biography of Unitas, based on hundreds of hours of interviews with teammates and opponents, coaches, family and friends. The depth of…

Book cover of Natural Born Charmer

JN Welsh Author Of In Tune

From my list on epic romances in the music world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the ripe old age of four, I’ve loved the DJ. The first? My father, whose in-demand mix of music became the staple party starter in our Jamaican-American community on 176th Street in the Bronx. I’d be at his knee watching him spin vinyl records on his turntables at home or carrying album crates for a club party. I have three loves: music, books, and romance. It seemed preordained that I'd become a writer and incorporate music. I wrote my first book in 2005. Twelve titles later, music, books, and anything romantic still top my list. I hope you enjoy the one I’ve cultivated just for you.

JN's book list on epic romances in the music world

JN Welsh Why did JN love this book?

Romance with a side of attempted murder, anyone?

When I read a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book, I am immediately dropped in the middle of an intangible situation and this book delivers, over and over. Dean Robilard and Blue Bailey are two scared children living in adult bodies, and hiding within the confines of their complicated lives, and pasts marred by trauma.

I love messy characters trying and failing at life because their transformation is so satisfying. I always wonder, “How the hell are they going to get out of this?” The music element, this time in rock and roll, again shows the intricacies of the business and the effect it has on the characters' personal lives when trying to build a career and find love.

By Susan Elizabeth Phillips,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Natural Born Charmer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When millionaire Dean Robillard meets Blue Bailey, she couldn't be more down on her luck; her ex has stolen all her money and she's got no place to go. A football hero, Dean is taking a holiday while recovering from a career-threatening injury. He'd planned a solo road trip to get his head together. The last thing he needs is a damsel in distress tagging along for the ride.

However, despite Dean's misgivings the two find themselves thrown together and soon Blue has moved into his home and is merrily turning his world upside down. Their attraction is mutual but…

Book cover of Broken Knight

Diana Nixon Author Of All My Nevers

From my list on teen depression and adulting.

Why am I passionate about this?

First of all, I’m an incurable addict to dark romance novels. Why stories for teens specifically? Well, I’m a mom of two girls and I never stop thinking about their future, including their high school years that are always filled with worries, problems, and self-judging issues. Teens are always vulnerable and it’s important to teach them how to overcome their problems and show them why it’s important to rely on their families and be there for their friends when they need them. As well as to help them realize that material things are not the only values in life to hold on to. 

Diana's book list on teen depression and adulting

Diana Nixon Why did Diana love this book?

A fantastic story about love at a young age that reveals so many aspects of life teens are fighting for when away from home, the scars they hide from their parents, and the pain they try to heal with forbidden addictions. I highly recommend this book not just for teens but also for their parents who sometimes seem to fail to right key to their children's hearts and minds. Because despite everything the youth go against when growing up, they still need to know that the main strength of their life is their family. 

By L.J. Shen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Broken Knight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

"Everyone needs to read this book. I’m certain you won’t feel a single regret. " - Harloe Rae, USA Today Bestselling author.From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a new, standalone romance about first loves, betrayal and loss.Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.Sweet.Caring.Charitable.Quiet.Fake.Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.Who taught her…

Book cover of Intercepted

Brooke Bentley Author Of Sideline Confidential

From my list on sports for women.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a little girl I dreamed of becoming a sports reporter. I loved to write and spent most of my free time playing or watching sports. I earned an academic-athletic scholarship to Davidson College to play volleyball and went on to receive my master’s in journalism from the University of Southern California. After landing a job as media personality with the Houston Texans, I thought my career would skyrocket to national television. But I quickly learned that the world of sports journalism is anything but predictable. As I balanced motherhood and a career in sports reporting, I realized the most fascinating stories were the ones being created inside my own head.

Brooke's book list on sports for women

Brooke Bentley Why did Brooke love this book?

I was querying my manuscript to an agent, and she suggested Intercepted as a comp title.

I devoured it in two days. Marlee Harper is fresh off a breakup with a jerk NFL receiver. She’s sworn off players and the ruthless wives and girlfriends (WAGs) who surround them. Enter the team’s new star quarterback Gavin Pope, a fling from Marlee’s past who is ready to woo her.

Intercepted plays the genre of sports romance perfectly. The writing is witty. Marlee is relatable, possessing the flaws and sass that make you root for her. And the steaminess factor is high, proving that sports books can be sexy in all the right ways. 

By Alexa Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There's just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback, has Marlee in his sights.�Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex. But not everyone is ready to let her escape her past, and when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.�It will take a Hail Mary…

Book cover of The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

Anna Paulsen Author Of The Truth About Adira

From my list on romance that stay with you long after you finish.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seeing couples that are still in love after being with one another for 50+ years has always warmed my heart. Seeing my grandparents hold one another’s hands and look at each other with love always made me hopeful to find such a love. I have not been blessed to have that kind of love in my life (yet) but that does not stop me from looking for it and finding it in books. The characters in my favorite books are ones I identify with on some level. They are loyal, do not give up and they love wholeheartedly, even if they make some missteps along the way, the end destination always ends up being deeply in love. And I love cheering on characters when they deal with everyday issues and roadblocks on this journey of love. 

Anna's book list on romance that stay with you long after you finish

Anna Paulsen Why did Anna love this book?

Aiden and Vanessa’s story is another slow burn, but it does not feel slow at all. Zapata has a way of building a sensual story that makes you want more without feeling as if you are missing something. I did not think I would like slow-burn romances until I came across Zapata. I fell in love with these characters as they were becoming friends and ultimately as they fell in love with one another. I found myself smiling a lot watching the interactions between these two. It’s magic. I still think of Aiden often and wish he were my boyfriend! (That is how much I liked him).

By Mariana Zapata,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wall of Winnipeg and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vanessa Mazur knows she's doing the right thing. She shouldn't feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary. But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she's beyond shocked. For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn't even find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He's asking for the unthinkable. What…

Book cover of Fraternize

Kandi Steiner Author Of The Wrong Game

From my list on sports romances for that fuzzy fall feeling.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a self-published romance author with a hankering for angst and sports romance. As an international bestselling author myself, I’m addicted to finding the next book that will make my pulse race, my eyes red from reading all night, and my stomach ache with the desperation of wanting to dive into the fictional world an author has created. You can follow all my book reviews on Goodreads, and check out my bestselling sports romances on my website. 

Kandi's book list on sports romances for that fuzzy fall feeling

Kandi Steiner Why did Kandi love this book?

This was my first RVD book and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read her. Her style is so fun and addicting, I had the hardest time ever putting the book down. Full of angst (hello, love triangle!), humor, and heat – this is one that will get you all up in your feels.

By Rachel Van Dyken,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken kicks off a brand-new series in which romance is a game and love is a touchdown.

Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she'll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done...

No fraternizing with the players.


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