March Madness is full upon us and while there will be very little down time between games, there should always be time for a good book. Unfortunately, the literary world, particularly the area in which I inhabit, is not bursting with basketball themed books. I’ve got two recommendations of older books. Maybe the readers can come up with more.
- One on One: A Novel by Tabitha King. This powerful story addresses how young people can use sports as an escape from the horrors of home life. Deannie Gauthier is a troubled young woman who finds refuge on the basketball court. She leads the girl’s team at her local high school in a quest for state title. Sam Styles, a straight living, well loved, young god of a man, is the captain of the boy’s team, also seeking a state title. These two are inexplicably drawn to each other: Deannie is dangerous and unknown. Sam is good and safe. Both, however, face peer pressure from others that will not only bring down their dreams of championships but possibly their grip on life. It’s a book that is chilling in its realism and full of heartrending emotion.
- More Than You Dreamed by Kathleen Gilles Seidel. The book opens with Jill Casler dealing with her famous Hollywood producer father, Cass Casler. Cass was well beloved by everyone and it concerns Jill when a Doug Ringling shows up at her door with claims that might tarnish her father’s legacy. The mystery revolves around a screenplay that Bix Ringling wrote for himself and his brother Charles. Bix would be Doug’s uncle. Doug is a bit at loose ends following his forced resignation as a coach at a Division 1 college basketball team. This “project” gives him something to focus on while pushing the mess of his career into the back burner. Together Jill and Doug look into the mystery behind the ties between Ringlings and Caslings and the secrets the dead have written.While the focus is not on basketball in this book, there is a wonderful scene in which Doug takes Jill out for a little hoops one on one. Jill is very rich and Doug uses his physical presence on the basketball court to exert his manhood. It’s a subtle but rich scene that is classic Seidel.