If you’ve written about 20 sports books, you’re going to have some really interesting stories about writing those books. This is what John Feinstein has done here - a really interesting read about all of the various characters that he’s come across in the various sports he’s written about.
The first John Feinstein book I read was called “Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black” and I loved it. He had complete behind the scenes access to the event, the people running it, working at it, and taking part in it. The first U.S. Open held at a public course, it was always going to be an interesting story but John Feinstein’s writing really brought you “inside the ropes”.
So when I saw this book while browsing in a local bookstore, even though I knew nothing about it. In fact, I misinterpreted what it was about from the title (That actually seems to be one of the most commonly mentioned aspects of the book on Goodreads) but after a few pages it became much clearer. And much better in my opinion.
To call it a book about how John Feinstein wrote other books would do it a disservice. It’s more than that - It’s an update to many of the stories that he based his books around, along with a chance to get some of the interesting stories that wouldn’t have fit in with the books he was writing at the time. It’s how he was able to get the access to write the books, and how he bonded with many of the people along the way too.
Having always been interested in how authors pick their subjects, this was a really interesting read. I really enjoyed the book, even though I have no real interest in many of sports that he was writing about - American College Basketball or tennis. I have always been interested in baseball, golf and American football but I wouldn’t have had to be to find this an interesting read. It’s more about the relationships and the stories behind the scenes.
Although I don’t read many bad books, this one is definitely a new favourite.