Friday, November 08, 2019

Guy Friday- Basketball!

Wetzel, Dan. Epic Athletes: LeBron James
November 12th 2019 by Henry Holt & Company
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

My collection development policy is usually to buy biographies only after the person is deceased. I am making an exception for this excellent series because the books remind me of both Matt Christopher and The Childhood of Famous Americans, both of which I love. (N.B. I loved TCOFA in 1974. I am a little alarmed at the amount of home schoolers who seem to like these. They have almost no educational value now, and since they are all at least 50 years old, the diversity and accuracy of the series is suspect.)

I had no idea what Mr. James' story was, but it is quite an inspiring one that makes Akron, Ohio look like an excellent place to grow up. Since my father's formative years were spent there, I had an automatic interest.

This started with the big championship game in 2016 that was such a big event in Cleveland, then traveled back to follow James' complicated and difficult childhood and his entry into professional ball. The story wasn't told in a maudlin or overly emotional way, but made it very clear that childhood events shaped James' personality.

The best past of this book, and the main reason I'm buying it, was the description of all of the philanthropic projects with which James' is involved. It is heartening to see someone who struggled and became successful go back and try to give others a boost as well. Because this concentrates on James' childhood and beginning career, I feel okay with the fact that he will go on and accomplish other things that won't be reflected in this particular book.

Maraniss, Andrew. Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany
November 5th 2019 by Philomel Books

E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

I loved, loved, loved this author's Strong Inside and was so looking forward to this book, but it kept crashing my Nook! It took me three weeks of reading a couple of pages, having to restart, and giving up to get through this. Technology is fantastic when it works, isn't it?

I am definitely buying this one and will have to read it again. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

"On a scorching hot day in July 1936, thousands of people cheered as the U.S. Olympic teams boarded the S.S. Manhattan, bound for Berlin. Among the athletes were the 14 players representing the first-ever U.S. Olympic basketball team. As thousands of supporters waved American flags on the docks, it was easy to miss the one courageous man holding a BOYCOTT NAZI GERMANY sign. But it was too late for a boycott now; the ship had already left the harbor.

1936 was a turbulent time in world history. Adolf Hitler had gained power in Germany three years earlier. Jewish people and political opponents of the Nazis were the targets of vicious mistreatment, yet were unaware of the horrors that awaited them in the coming years. But the Olympians on board the S.S. Manhattan and other international visitors wouldn't see any signs of trouble in Berlin. Streets were swept, storefronts were painted, and every German citizen greeted them with a smile. Like a movie set, it was all just a facade, meant to distract from the terrible things happening behind the scenes.

This is the incredible true story of basketball, from its invention by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891, to the sport's Olympic debut in Berlin and the eclectic mix of people, events and propaganda on both sides of the Atlantic that made it all possible. Includes photos throughout, a Who's-Who of the 1936 Olympics, bibliography, and index."

How Old People Take Selfies: With extreme difficulty.

This is my nice, cozy Flannel Friday outfit, with a denim jumper I might have bought new in about 2002, a Lands End flannel shirt from the thrift store, a Talbots wool sweater a dear friend got me (also from the thrift store!), and the exact pair of Eastland penny loafers I had been looking at online for about $70. This justified the whopping $8 I spent at... well, you know the answer.

1 comment:

  1. Both of these sound really good. I've followed Lebron's career for many years but knew nothing about his childhood, so I really hope our library system orders this. And there are a lot of pro athletes who lead and establish organizations to help out kids in similar circumstances.
    Even though my wife and daughter have smart phones, I don't (can't afford one) and therefore this old guy doesn't even try to take selfies!