Feature Shelf #31: The Sports Issues Edition

This is Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions.  This is the podcast for episode 31: the sport and issues edition, requested by Carlos after having read Crackback and Tears of a Tiger. My name is eli.  I’m also called the book supplier.  Thanks for listening.

So when I talked to Carlos about what he wanted out of this shelf, he said that he liked that the books were about sports, but not just about sports. He like that the stories were about some of the other issues that athletes deal with as well. Tears of a TIger made an appearance in Feature Shelf #7, the Basketball edition, along with a few other books that deal with issues, so I won’t include them here but I will leave a link to that Feature Shelf in the show notes.
So the first book on our sports issues shelf this week is Crackback by John Coy. Miles is on the football team, where there’s a lot of pressure to be bigger, faster and stronger. When he finds out a number of players are doing steroids, he has a tough decision to make.
The main character from Curveball: the year I lost my grip also has a tough decision to make. He’s been a baseball player his entire life. But when his long-ignored shoulder injury gets so bad he can’t throw anymore, he has to find something different to fill the time he spent on baseball.
In Chris Crutcher’s Whale Talk, characters are being convinced to try new things. Namely, joining the newly formed swim team. This story is really about elitism in athletes, as the motley crew of swimmers fight to earn the letter jackets the other players and coaches don’t think they deserve.
In The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen, Jessica is fighting a completely different battle. As a result of a terrible accident, she loses a leg. So Jessica goes from being an amazing runner to someone who has to learn how to walk again. And with the help of her math tutor, a girl named Rosa, and the support of her famly and community, Jessica might even be able to run.
The last book on our sports shelf this week returns us to the gridiron (how cheesy did I just sound saying that?) with Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp. Hampton is the star linebacker for the Kennisaw Knights. And on the field he exhibits an amazing command and control of the game. So Hampton’s troubles aren’t with football so much as with family, friendship, loyalty, and deciding what kind of man he wants to be.
So that was five books you might like if you enjoy reading sports stories that are about more than just sports: Crackback,  Curveball, Whale Talk, The Running Dream, and Knights of the Hill Country.
And that’s it for this episode. For the Feature Shelf archives and show notes, both video and podcast, or to request your own Feature Shelf check out thebooksupplier.com/featureshelf. You can also send me requests on Facebook or Twitter at thebooksupplier (all one word) or an email at thebooksupplier at gmail dot com.
I’m going to leave you there now, dear readers. Thanks for listening to Feature Shelf #31: The Sports and Issues Edition. As always, I am the supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.

For previous Feature Shelves, or to see what’s coming up, visit https://thebooksupplier.com/featureshelf

If you’d like to recommend other books fans of Crackback or Tears of a Tiger might like or you’d like to request your own Feature Shelf, leave it in the comments and I’ll see you there soon. Until then, I am the supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.

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