Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Sports Journalism. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.
1. There and Back: Photographs from the Edge
The Academy Award – winning director of Free Solo and National Geographic photographer presents the first collection of his iconic adventure photography, featuring some of the greatest moments of the most accomplished climbers and outdoor athletes in the world, and including more than 200 extraordinary photographs. Filmmaker, photographer, and world-class mountaineer Jimmy Chin goes where few can follow to capture stunning images in death-defying situations. There and Back draws from his breathtaking portfolio of photographs, captured over twenty years during cutting-edge expeditions on all seven continents—from skiing Mount Everest, to an unsupported traverse of Tibet's Chang Tang Plateau on foot, to first ascents in Chad’s Ennedi Desert and Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land. Along the way, Chin shares behind-the-scenes details about how he captured such astounding images in impossible conditions, and tells the stories of the legendary adventurers and remarkable athletes he has photographed, including Alex Honnold, the star of his Academy Award–winning documentary film Free Solo ; ski mountaineer Kit DesLauriers; snowboarder Travis Rice; and mountaineers Conrad Anker and Yvon Chouinard. These larger-than-life images, coupled with stories of outsized drive and passion, of impossible goals with life or death stakes, of partnerships forged through incredible hardship, are sure to inspire wonder and awe.
- Author: Jimmy Chin
- Publisher: Ten Speed Press (November 16, 2021)
- Genre: Arts & Photography, Photography & Video
- ISBN: 978-1984859501
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 12 inches
2. Sidecountry: Tales of Death and Life from the Back Roads of Sports
Breathtaking tales of climbers and hunters, runners and racers, winners and losers by the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. New York Times reporter John Branch’s riveting, humane pieces about ordinary people doing extraordinary things at the edges of the sporting world have won nearly every major journalism prize. Sidecountry gathers the best of Branch’s work for the first time, featuring 20 of his favorites from the more than 2,000 pieces he has published in the paper. Branch is renowned for covering the offbeat in the sporting world, from alligator hunting to wingsuit flying. Sidecountry features such classic Branch pieces, including “Snow Fall,” about downhill skiers caught in an avalanche in Washington state, and “Dawn Wall,” about rock climbers trying to scale Yosemite’s famed El Capitan. In other articles, Branch introduces people whose dedication and decency transcend their sporting lives, including a revered football coach rebuilding his tornado-devastated town in Iowa and a girls’ basketball team in Tennessee that plays on despite never winning a game. The book culminates with his moving personal pieces, including “Children of the Cube,” about the surprising drama of Rubik’s Cube competitions as seen through the eyes of Branch’s own sports-hating son, and “The Girl in the No. 8 Jersey,” about a mother killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting whose daughter happens to play on Branch’s daughter’s soccer team. John Branch has been hailed for writing “American portraiture at its best” (Susan Orlean) and for covering sports “the way Lyle Lovett writes country music―a fresh turn on a time-honored pleasure” (Nicholas Dawidoff). Sidecountry is the work of a master reporter at the top of his game. 4 illustrations
- Author: John Branch
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 1, 2021)
- Genre: History, Americas
- ISBN: 978-1324006695
- Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
3. Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic at the Root of Most Chronic Disease#and How to Fight It
2020 Foreword Indie Award Honorable Mention in the “Health” Category A scientist reveals the groundbreaking evidence linking many major diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease, to a common root cause—insulin resistance—and shares an easy, effective plan to reverse and prevent it. We are sick. Around the world, we struggle with diseases that were once considered rare. Cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and diabetes affect millions each year; many people are also struggling with hypertension, weight gain, fatty liver, dementia, low testosterone, menstrual irregularities and infertility, and more. We treat the symptoms, not realizing that all of these diseases and disorders have something in common. Each of them is caused or made worse by a condition known as insulin resistance. And you might have it. Odds are you do—over half of all adults in the United States are insulin resistant, with most other countries either worse or not far behind. In Why We Get Sick , internationally renowned scientist and pathophysiology professor Benjamin Bikman explores why insulin resistance has become so prevalent and why it matters. Unless we recognize it and take steps to reverse the trend, major chronic diseases will be even more widespread. But reversing insulin resistance is possible, and Bikman offers an evidence-based plan to stop and prevent it, with helpful food lists, meal suggestions, easy exercise principles, and more. Full of surprising research and practical advice, Why We Get Sick will help you to take control of your health.
- Author: Benjamin Bikman
- Publisher: BenBella Books (July 21, 2020)
- Genre: Medical Books, Medicine
- ISBN: 978-1948836982
- Dimensions: 6.25 x 1.02 x 9.31 inches
4. Tall Men, Short Shorts: The 1969 NBA Finals: Wilt, Russ, Lakers, Celtics, and a Very Young Sports Reporter
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Big Bam A clash of NBA titans. Seven riveting games. One young reporter. Welcome to the 1969 NBA Finals. They don’t set up any better than this. The greatest basketball player of all time - Bill Russell - and his juggernaut Boston Celtics, winners of ten ( ten! ) of the previous twelve NBA championships, squeak through one more playoff run and land in the Finals again. Russell’s opponent? The fearsome 7’1” next-generation superstar, Wilt Chamberlain, recently traded to the LA Lakers to form the league’s first dream team. Bill Russell and John Havlicek versus Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. The 1969 Celtics are at the end of their dominance. The 1969 Lakers are unstoppable. Add to the mix one newly minted reporter. Covering the epic series is a wide-eyed young sports writer named Leigh Montville. Years before becoming an award-winning legend himself at The Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated , twenty-four-year-old Montville is ordered by his editor at the Globe to get on a plane to L.A. (first time!) to write about his luminous heroes, the biggest of big men. What follows is a raucous, colorful, joyous account of one of the greatest seven-game series in NBA history. Set against a backdrop of the late sixties, Montville’s reporting and recollections transport readers to a singular time – with rampant racial tension on the streets and on the court, with the emergence of a still relatively small league on its way to becoming a billion-dollar industry, and to an era when newspaper journalism and the written word served as the crucial lifeline between sports and sports fans. And there was basketball – seven breathtaking, see-saw games, highlight-reel moments from an unprecedented cast of future Hall of Famers (including player-coach Russell as the first-ever black head coach in the NBA), coast-to-coast travels and the clack-clack-clack of typewriter keys racing against tight deadlines. Tall Men, Short Shorts is a masterpiece of sports journalism with a charming touch of personal memoir. Leigh Montville has crafted his most entertaining book yet, richly enshrining luminous players and moments in a unique American time.
- Author: Leigh Montville
- Publisher: Doubleday (July 13, 2021)
- Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, Professionals & Academics
- ISBN: 978-0385545198
- Dimensions: 6.35 x 1.3 x 9.55 inches
5. What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen
The heartbreaking story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose life and death by suicide reveal the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today in this #1 New York Times Sports and Fitness bestseller. If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19-year-old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started. But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previously indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life. In spite of thousands of hours of practice and study, she contemplated transferring from the school that had once been her dream. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter. What Made Maddy Run began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy's life. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also struggling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran's life, and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressures young people -- and college athletes in particular -- face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.
- Author: Kate Fagan
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (July 17, 2018)
- Genre: Self-Help, Death & Grief
- ISBN: 978-0316356527
- Dimensions: 5.55 x 1.15 x 8.25 inches
6. Glory Days: The Summer of 1984 and the 90 Days That Changed Sports and Culture Forever
A rollicking guided tour of one extraordinary summer, when some of the most pivotal and freakishly coincidental stories all collided and changed the way we think about modern sports The summer of 1984 was a watershed moment in the birth of modern sports when the nation watched Michael Jordan grow from college basketball player to professional athlete and star. That summer also saw ESPN’s rise to media dominance as the country’s premier sports network and the first modern, commercialized, profitable Olympics. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s rivalry raged, Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe reigned in tennis, and Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon made pro wrestling a business, while Donald Trump pierced the national consciousness as a pro football team owner. It was an awakening in the sports world, a moment when sports began to morph into the market-savvy, sensationalized, moneyed, controversial, and wildly popular arena we know today. In the tradition of Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America, 1927, L. Jon Wertheim captures these 90 seminal days against the backdrop of the nostalgia-soaked 1980s, to show that this was the year we collectively traded in our ratty Converses for a pair of sleek, heavily branded, ingeniously marketed Nikes. This was the year that sports went big-time.
- Author: L. Jon Wertheim
- Publisher: Mariner Books (June 15, 2021)
- Genre: History, Americas
- ISBN: 978-1328637246
- Dimensions: 6 x 1.19 x 9 inches
7. Little Girls in Pretty Boxes: The Making and Breaking of Elite Gymnasts and Figure Skaters
Welcome to the world of women's gymnastics and figure skating--the real world that happens away from the cameras, at the training camps and in the private lives of these talented teenage competitors. From starvation diets and debilitating injuries to the brutal tactics of tyrannical gymnastics guru Béla Károlyi, Little Girls in Pretty Boxes portrays the horrors endured by girls at the hands of their coaches and sometimes their own families--and is now updated with a new introduction and foreword that address the sexual abuse scandal perpetrated by USA Gymnastics national team doctor, Larry Nassar. This groundbreaking book shows how a longstanding culture of abuse made young gymnasts perfect targets for a sexual predator, and continues to plead for sanity, safety, and an end to our national obsession: winning at any cost.
- Author: Joan Ryan
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Illustrated edition (July 17, 2018)
- Genre: Sports & Outdoors, Individual Sports
- ISBN: 978-1538747780
- Dimensions: 5.25 x 0.88 x 8 inches
8. The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything
"I hope everyone reads this book. It has become such a crucial thing for all of us to understand." — Erin Burnett, CNN "An ideal tour guide for your journey into the depths of the rabbit hole that is QAnon. It even shows you a glimmer of light at the exit." —Cullen Hoback, director of HBO's Q: Into the Storm Its messaging can seem cryptic, even nonsensical, yet for tens of thousands of people, it explains everything: What is QAnon, where did it come from, and is the Capitol insurgency a sign of where it’s going next? On October 5th, 2017, President Trump made a cryptic remark in the State Dining Room at a gathering of military officials. He said it felt like “the calm before the storm”—then refused to elaborate as puzzled journalists asked him to explain. But on the infamous message boards of 4chan, a mysterious poster going by “Q Clearance Patriot,” who claimed to be in “military intelligence,” began the elaboration on their own. In the days that followed, Q’s wild yarn explaining Trump's remarks began to rival the sinister intricacies of a Tom Clancy novel, while satisfying the deepest desires of MAGA-America. But did any of what Q predicted come to pass? No. Did that stop people from clinging to every word they were reading, expanding its mythology, and promoting it wider and wider? No. Why not? Who were these rapt listeners? How do they reconcile their worldview with the America they see around them? Why do their numbers keep growing? Mike Rothschild, a journalist specializing in conspiracy theories, has been collecting their stories for years, and through interviews with QAnon converts, apostates, and victims, as well as psychologists, sociologists, and academics, he is uniquely equipped to explain the movement and its followers. In The Storm Is Upon Us , he takes readers from the background conspiracies and cults that fed the Q phenomenon, to its embrace by right-wing media and Donald Trump, through the rending of families as loved ones became addicted to Q’s increasingly violent rhetoric, to the storming of the Capitol, and on. And as the phenomenon shows no sign of calming despite Trump’s loss of the presidency—with everyone from Baby Boomers to Millennial moms proving susceptible to its messaging—and politicians starting to openly espouse its ideology, Rothschild makes a compelling case that mocking the seeming madness of QAnon will get us nowhere. Rather, his impassioned reportage makes clear it's time to figure out what QAnon really is — because QAnon and its relentlessly dark theory of everything isn’t done yet.
- Author: Mike Rothschild
- Publisher: Melville House (June 22, 2021)
- Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Politics & Government
- ISBN: 978-1612199290
- Dimensions: 6.16 x 1.01 x 9.26 inches
9. All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers' Row (James Patterson True Crime, 1)
Discover the shocking #1 New York Times bestseller: the true story of a young NFL player's first-degree murder conviction and untimely death -- and his journey from the Patriots to prison. Aaron Hernandez was a college All-American who became the youngest player in the NFL and later reached the Super Bowl. His every move as a tight end with the New England Patriots played out the headlines, yet he led a secret life -- one that ended in a maximum-security prison. What drove him to go so wrong, so fast? Between the summers of 2012 and 2013, not long after Hernandez made his first Pro Bowl, he was linked to a series of violent incidents culminating in the death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who dated the sister of Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins. All-American Murder is the first book to investigate Aaron Hernandez's first-degree murder conviction and the mystery of his own shocking and untimely death.
- Author: James Patterson
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Large Print edition (January 22, 2018)
- Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, True Crime
- ISBN: 978-0316412650
- Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.38 x 9.5 inches
10. My Policeman: A Novel
Soon to be a motion picture starring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin, an exquisitely told, tragic tale of thwarted love. It is in 1950's Brighton that Marion first catches sight of Tom. He teaches her to swim, gently guiding her through the water in the shadow of the city's famous pier and Marion is smitten—determined her love alone will be enough for them both. A few years later near the Brighton Museum, Patrick meets Tom. Patrick is besotted, and opens Tom's eyes to a glamorous, sophisticated new world of art, travel, and beauty. Tom is their policeman, and in this age it is safer for him to marry Marion and meet Patrick in secret. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed. In this evocative portrait of midcentury England, Bethan Roberts reimagines the real life relationship the novelist E. M. Forster had with a policeman, Bob Buckingham, and his wife. My Policeman is a deeply heartfelt story of love's passionate endurance, and the devastation wrought by a repressive society.
- Author: Bethan Roberts
- Publisher: Penguin Books (August 3, 2021)
- Genre: LGBTQ+ Books, Literature & Fiction
- ISBN: 978-0143136989
- Dimensions: 5.47 x 0.81 x 8.18 inches