Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's Book Club!: Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

There's FNL the movie (staring CBC favourite Billy Bob Thornton as Coach Gary Gaines), the excellent TV show, which is probably the best sports show this side of Hang Time, but FNL the book by H.G. Bissinger about the 1988 Permian Panthers is certainly the best of the bunch.

The Permian Panthers, who reside in the football-mad West Texas town of Odessa, are determined to "go to State in '88", and are a group who's lives (and the lives of everyone else in the town) revolve around high school football. While the book revolves around the '88 season, it is as much a book on the history of West Texas, a sociology book on race relations, a psychology book on high school athletes, as it is a book on a high school football team.

Like The Last Shot, FNL captures the dysfunction of high school athletics, but shows affection towards the personalities of the team. Bissinger doesn't hide his discomfort with the backwards gender relations or the educational priorities in Odessa, but finds something likable about the community and the togetherness that the Panthers bring to Odessa.

My synopsis: Its basically a longer, more detailed, better written version of The Last Shot, which, is a huge compliment since tLS was the most compelling/heart wrenching story I've read in... maybe ever...

Thanks to Kyle for letting me borrow his copy of the book...

Yeah, I haven't been reading so much lately. I tried to get through Grown Up Digital (on how the NetGen and technology have developed different expectations of work and different work habits -- the Introductory Chapter, at least, is a must read for anyone in business/management), but, alas, after a week the library wanted it back. And, really, I've been watching a lot of TV - Breaking Bad, Party Down, the Bachelorette! - and driving to work (boo! driving) which has precluded me from reading for safety reasons.

Grade: A++

Up next: I went to visit my Mom and she bought me a copy of Strokes of Genius by Jon Wertheim on the epic Nadal v. Federer 2008 Wimbledon final, so, I'm going to try and give that a spin (no pun intended).

1. The Inner Game of Tennis | Timothy Gallwey (134 pages) | A
2. The Last Shot | Darcy Frey (240 pages) | A+
3. The Road | Cormac McCarthy (287 pages) | A+
4. Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell (299 pages) | C+
5. The Last Season | Phil Jackson (304 pages) | B-
The Sunset Limited | Cormac McCarthy (160 pages)| B-
7. The Education of a Coach | David Halberstam (288 pages)| B+
8. Downtown Owl | Chuck Klosterman | (288 pages)| B

9. Can I Keep My Jersey?| Paul Shirley| (336 pages)|C-
10. Then We Came to The End| Joshua Ferris| (416 pages)|B+
11. Friday Night Lights| H.G. Bissinger|(400 pages)|A++


Jesse said...

Well then I give it an A++++++++++++++++++++++++. Or will once I read it.

Sheesh, grade inflate much?

Hal Incandenza said...

Wow...go Pauline.

Jesse said...

Does anyone read these but us?