Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sports literature

Sports books is a genre of literature that isn't very popular among people. Or at least among the people I know. Even die-hard sport fanatics would not have read sports literature beyond some magazine or the daily columns on some website. The main reason for this, I suppose is that people expect sports books to be some sort of a boring almanac, with details about games a particular player or team has played.

Even though my foray into sports literature has been limited to cricket, I have found cricket books a real fun to read. I have read autobiographies of players like Ian Chappel, Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Dennis Lillie and biographies of other greats like Viv Richards and Don Bradman. These books are refreshingly less about the matches played and the centuries scored and more about the person behind the name and what it took for them to reach the dizzy heights of stardom. These books are inspirational, entertaining and at the same time talk about something you really love.

Even more interesting reads are books which have cricket or sports as their main theme, but in reality tell us about the socio-political impact of the game during the era. Especially worth mentioning is 'The Corner of a Foriegn Field' by Ramachandra Guha, which takes us through the origins of cricket in India, to its impact on the entire social and political fabric of the nation in the suceeding years. Amazing read for anyone interested in knowing India as it was a century ago, even if you aren't a cricket fan. Another book along similar lines is 'Beyond the Boundary' by C.L.R. James which talks about cricket and its impact on the people of the Caribbean.

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