The Only Rule Is It Has to Work by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller – It’s the dream of any baseball fan to take command of a team, with the wisdom and passion you possess about the game, and lead it to unparalleled glory. These two long-time contributors at Baseball Prospectus and beyond actually did it. In a four-team independent league here in California. But still! It combines the personal and the analytical in a unique marriage.
Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America by Diane Roberts – The latest gem in the world of college football books, written by an English professor at one of America’s most prominent gridiron institutions. Besides just #TalkinBoutTheNoles, it has a lot to say about the sometimes backwards relationship that fans share with the game and why we love it anyway.
The Best Team Money Can Buy by Molly Knight – I hate the Los Angeles Dodgers, but let’s be real: It’s a rarity in the sports world that money really is no object when it comes to pursuing a championship, and that always makes for an interesting story. There are few teams out there with more at stake, considering the substantial (billions of dollars) investment, and Knight gives a glimpse of what it’s like to operate in such a pressure-filled environment.
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain – I really enjoyed Fountain’s debut, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, and I recently read that filmmaker Ang Lee is turning this well-regarded follow-up into a movie due out later this year. I’ve got to knock this one out before that happens.
The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin – If you’re into stories about post-apocalyptic resistance to government-sanctioned vampire bloodlust gone wrong, have I got a trilogy for you. This one, recently released, wraps up The Passage epic and was hailed by none other than Stephen King as “fantastic.” Bonus: There’s a Fresno reference in the first book!