Question of the Week: Our Favorite Reads
Last week we discussed what each of us were doing during the off season to get us through the non-hockey season. This week we have a few suggestions to help keep you busy with some summer reads until training camp starts.
If we are going to talk hockey books, Ken Dryden's "The Game" is always on the top most hockey must-read lists. If you haven't read it, do yourself the favor as it may be one of the best out there. But I wanted to see if there were other good finds to help me pass the time. So this weeks question is:
Because it's summer, do you have a hockey book recommendation to read? If you don't read hockey books, a summer read to pass the time?
After the jump we have some suggestions from our crew here at Raw Charge. Please do share your favorites in the comments, hockey or non-hockey ones, because my 'list of books to read' loves new additions.
The current hockey related book I'm reading is the Theo Fleury autobiography "Playing With Fire" and I do recommend it. I always hated this guy when he played, but that was more of a sign of respect than actual hatred. This book goes into Theo's past and gives a good look at what he went through and how it helped make him the player he was. A very good read!
Nolan Whyte (Frozen Sheets Hockey)
I read a lot of hockey books, but I do have some favorites. These are all available from Amazon, either in printed form or electronically. Here are a few you might like:
Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, by Randall Maggs is a very unusual, very special book. It is a blend of biography, sports history, story telling and meditation on the sport of hockey, told through poetry. The subject is the troubled Hall of Fame goaltender Terry Sawchuk, who carved out a significant place for himself in the NHL's record books but also struggled with alcoholism and depression, and ultimately struggled with the game itself. Although jocks who fear poetry might be scared off by the format, Night Work is a worthwhile journey into some of the darker corner of the NHL's "Golden Age."
Midnight Hockey, by Bill Gaston, is a trip through the world of old-timers hockey, and a memoir of the sport. Gaston, who usually writes mystery novels, takes us through his youth playing hockey, his year as a player-coach in a semi-pro league in France, and all through the ins and outs of playing "beer league" hockey at weird hours with a bunch of other aging men. A lot of fun.
Future Greats and Heartbreaks, from hockey journalist Gare Joyce, provides an interesting insight. Joyce spends a year attached to the Columbus Blue Jackets' scouting department attending junior games and handing in his reports to lovable curmudgeon Doug Maclean. Along the way he learns about the rough life of the scouts, and about the process NHL teams go through to identify and select their prospects. He zeroes in on several different draft eligible players of that year, such as Phil Kessel, Jordan Staal, Peter Mueller, and others. For Bolts fans, Joyce also takes a close look at the troubled junior career of Steve Downie. A valuable read.
Finally for Bolts fans, the is Been There, Done That by former Lightning bench boss Steve Ludzik (1999-2001). The book is self-indulgent and self-congratulatory, but is packed with ridiculous and hilarious anecdotes from a time when hockey was a lot more rock and roll. Highlights include a pre-game AHL brawl with former Lightning brute Rudy Poeschek, and Ludzik having a screaming "eff you" fight with Iron Mike Keenan. Good times.
While I love hockey and college football (I'm a Washington Huskies fan), I try to avoid sports books, sports movies, and sports TV shows. I'd rather watch the real thing than read or watch the dramatization, so I'm not really a good person to ask about that. My recommendation for a general read, however, is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy by Douglas Adams - all five books. (Yes, I know it's called a trilogy and it has five books - that's the author's fault, not mine.)
If you like Monty Python type of humo(u)r, then you'll definitely appreciate these books. The movie that came out in 2005 was only the first book - and it incorporated bits and pieces from the radio shows, the books, and the tv shows - and not all of them are exactly the same. So there's much more to the story than just what was shown in the movie. The overall story is meant to be a humorous take on human nature as illustrated by this poor, average guy who gets stuck on this unintended adventure.
They're quite entertaining, actually. So read them.
Clark Brooks (Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness)
The last hockey book I read was Phil Esposito's autobiography "Thunder and Lightning" and that was about three years ago. Unfortunately, the selection of books about hockey at a place like Barnes & Noble is pretty meager. At least around here. And then, the books themselves aren't all that great, in my opinion. It's certainly not like baseball, where it seems like a modern classic comes out once or twice a year.
Editor's note: I've actually heard the Espo's autobiography is more entertaining than The Game. Can anyone confirm?