resilience. In Tigerland (Knopf, $27.95), Wil Haygood, author of Showdown, The Butler, and biographies of Sugar Ray Robinson and Sammy Davis Jr., tells the story of a poor, segregated high school in Columbus, Ohio, that in the 1968-’69 academic year fielded championship teams in both basketball and baseball. Defeating richer, bigger, and whiter teams across the state, the Tigers became not only hometown heroes, but inspiration for the rising generation of young African Americans. In this deeply compelling work, Haygood profiles a number of the athletes and shows how they overcame myriad social and personal challenges. He also introduces coaches, principals, and local fans, and puts the Tigers’ achievements in the wider national context.
Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, is also a fiery sports analyst: Big Game (Penguin Press, $28) does for “peak football” what This Town did for Washington politics. A lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Leibovich profiled Tom Brady and shadowed the team for a season. In this enthralling look inside the NFL, he recounts big-name owners, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and scandles such as the infamous Deflategate. Leibovich also weighs the role of professional football in American culture at a moment when—despite growing revenue, loyal fans, and lavish stadiums—the dark side of the sport is beginning to show due to the impact of concussions and concerns about players’ health. Even the most avid fans will savor this deeply reported and cuttingly captivating book.
I often get asked why I run. Why do I get up before the sun to log tens of miles, endure blisters, and over pay to sweat alongside strangers for several hours? Sure, the medal is nice and I love a good t-shirt but I had difficulty pinpointing why I love running until I read this relatable and entertaining memoir. To any woman who has ever run a race, wanted to run a race, or failed at running a race: you have to read this book! Heminsly is inspiring, motivating, and the ultimate reminder that none of us really know what we’re doing out there.