Saturday, June 13, 2009

Let's Book Club: Strokes of Genius by L. Jon Wertheim

I'm not entirely sure what to say about Strokes of Genius by Jon Wertheim. He's easily my favourite tennis writer, I don't think there is anything better than his weekly(ish) Tennis Mailbag, but there's definitely something missing from making this a top-shelf sports book.

Certainly, part of what's missing has to do with the degree of difficulty of trying to describe the greatest tennis match ever played... there was a reason that the commentators (rightfully) said very little in the latter half of the match. For me, the best parts of the book were the backstories of R-Fed, Nadal, and the creation of the rivalry, which made me think why isn't the book about the rivalry? There are some obvious reasons why that didn't happen, lack of access - for one, and the fact that Federer and Nadal have many more (I'd say 3 years worth, barring injuries) matches in them.

For tennis fans, its a book definitely worth picking up, particularly if you are a parent of a tennis player looking at how to raise a tennis player. R-Fed and Rafa are two prime examples of not just how to play tennis, but how to live.

Grade: B

Up next:
I'm about 30 pages into the 600 page Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, which I'm thinking may be a warm-up for The Infinite Jest...

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++
12. Strokes of Genius| L. Jon Wertheim|(208 pages)|B

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