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The 5 best hockey books for a Chicago sports fan


I’m trying to remember a darker time in my 50-plus years of Chicago sports fandom.

The Cubs fell victim to a late-summer swoon almost like the one in 1969. The Bulls got the upper hand against a team that barely made the playoffs as their north-of-the-border rival was added one of the five best players in the league

Bears… Sorry, I can’t finish the sentence. It’s very depressing. The only possible positive for Chicago is that Arlington Heights may be about to take on that toxic waste of a franchise.

On the bright side, to me, the White Sox are terrible. No hate, I’m a Cubs fan.

Actually, Sox fans, go ahead and hate. I’m a Cubs fan.

Due to this dire situation, I have silenced all mentions of Chicago sports on social media except for two words: Connor Bedard. It seems wrong to pin all my hopes on an 18-year-old, but you’ve gotta take what you can get.

Maybe there are people out there who, unlike me, are not die-hard Hawks fans—a possibility, given that the Hawks spent last season deliberately rotten—but are looking for a haven in the storm, wanting some books that can help them reach them. hockey mentality.

I protected you.

To familiarize yourself with hockey’s old-school heritage, I recommend two books: “Open Net: A Professional Amateur in the Big Hockey World” by George Plimpton and “Winter’s Children: The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team” By Wayne Coffey.

Presented in Plimpton’s unique style of participatory journalism, “Open Web” chronicles his time as a goaltender at the 1977 Boston Bruins training camp; A follow-up to his previous adventure as quarterback with the Detroit Lions (“Paper Lion”). Yes, the Bruins are a hateful team, and Plimpton revives a long-running NHL era when players could smoke a few cigarettes between periods, but it’s an excellent window into the hockey culture of that time.

“The Boys of Winter” is the best account of the greatest upset in hockey history, describing the months of labor that led to that miracle. I could drown just thinking about it.

I recommended John Branch’s heartbreaking play to understand why we should rejoice that the old days of hockey are behind us and instead celebrate the skills of players like Connor Bedard with his stick. “The Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard” The tragic story of someone who just wanted to play hockey but was valued primarily for his punches.

If you’re a new hockey fan who missed the previous Blackhawks dynasty, which was cited as a point of contrast and comparison to the current team, check out: “If These Walls Could Talk: Chicago Blackhawks” By Mark Lazerus of The Athletic, one of the current NHL beat writers. If you are an old fan, you will enjoy remembering the past and dreaming of the good days ahead.

Finally, thanks to high-definition TV, hockey is now perfectly viewed on the screen. To better understand the nuances of the game, read Greg Wyshynski’s “Keep Your Eyes Off the Puck: How to Watch Hockey Knowing Where to Look.” Over time, as you see the flow of the game unfold, you will begin to realize that you know when a goal is coming 10 seconds before it hits the goal. You become a hockey clairvoyant.

Let’s hit the ice!

John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Requirements.”

Twitter @biblioracle

Book recommendations from Biblioracle

John Warner tells you what you should read, based on the last five books you’ve read.

1. “Incident Incident” By Kent Haruf

2. “People of the Book” By Geraldine Brooks

3. “Echo Maker” by Richard Powers

4. “Someone Is Stupid” By Richard Russo

5. “Small Mercies” By Dennis Lehane

—Joe G., Northbrook

This is one of those relatively rare occasions when I’ve read every book on this list, so I should be in a good position to make a recommendation that hits Joe. I think he’ll be immersed in Richard Yates’ classic domestic drama “Revolutionary Road.”

1. “Mrs. “Caliban” By Rachel Ingalls

2. “This Is Immortal” By Roger Zelazny

3. “Men’s Weekend” By Mattie Lubchansky

4. “An Unforgettable Specter: On the Communist Manifesto” by China Mieville

5. “The Devil and the Dark Water” By Stuart Turton

—Nick M., Silver Spring, Maryland

A list that clearly demonstrates an interest in the uncanny. This reminds me of Victor LaValle and his novel “The Silver Devil”.

1. “Chemistry Lessons” By Bonnie Garmus

2. “Evil Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver

3. “What a Fun Age” By Kiley Reid

4. “The Other Black Girl” By Zakiya Dalila Harris

5. “The Eleventh Station” Emily St. by John Mandel

—Blaise P., Brooklyn, New York

There’s nothing wrong with reading books that most people have read, but whenever I see a list like this of very popular books, I want to move on to a book recommendation that the requester will enjoy but also has never heard of before. related to. This book is Fran Ross’ distinctive voice on her classic “Oreo.”

Get a reading from Bibliocle

Send a list of the last five books you read and your hometown to: biblioracle@gmail.com.


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