Some more good reads, this time beyond sports, to fill your spare time

My column of April 1 listed 25 books that were important to me through the years. Here are 23 more.

SHARE Some more good reads, this time beyond sports, to fill your spare time
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Call this Round 2 of my list of books that shaped me as a sportswriter.

My column of April 1 listed 25 books that were important to me through the years. Here are 23 more.

One early oversight: something by Dan Jenkins. I left out the legendary sportswriter’s novels simply because his books are in my fiction section, and I forgot about them as I sifted through the 600-plus nonfiction books on my shelves. (Note here: All of these books I own. My library is my brain.)

So, for the record, I’ll pick “Semi-Tough” from Jenkins’ arsenal. The 1972 novel is funny, profane, crazed, yet informed in a way that makes the lunacy seem authentic.

What else?

I also forgot “Open,” Andre Agassi’s 2009 autobiography that detailed his miserable, pressure-cooker upbringing, which might have made him a champion but stunted him as a human being.

Remember as you read more: These are books — many not about sports — that moved me as I learned my trade, a profession that subconsciously took hold when I was a child. Remember, too, how important any book can be, depending on the age at which you read it.

In chronological order of my reading . . .

3. “The Call of the Wild” and “White Fang,” Jack London (1903, 1906); Bantam Edition, 1963.

Abused, rebellious dogs in the Yukon, symbolizing everybody’s need to be free.

4. “The Catcher in the Rye,” J.D. Salinger, 1945.

Teenage boy alienation? In teen talk? Holden Caulfield, on his “terrible” all-boys prep school: “I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls once in a while, even if they’re only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.”

5. “Les Miserables,” Victor Hugo, 1862.

Read this great adventure on my own early in high school. Tough, softhearted, ex-criminal Jean Valjean became my hero.

6. ‘‘The Sun Also Rises,’’ Ernest Hemingway, 1926.

A former newspaperman could write like this?

7. “Manchild in the Promised Land,” Claude Brown, 1965.

An impoverished black youth makes it out of the Harlem ghetto. An alien story and new world to me.

8. “Tropic of Cancer,” Henry Miller, 1961.

First banned book I read. Sex scenes are great, but most relevant is transcendence: Penniless ex-pat states on first page: “I am the happiest man alive.”

9. “Three Comrades” and “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Erich Maria Remarque, 1936, 1929.

Read the first half of the latter in high school German class, all of it in English later. The former is the author’s tear-jerking tale of three post-WWI German buddies who would do anything for each other.

10. “The Hobbit,” J.R.R. Tolkien, 1965.

Bilbo Baggins on the classic journey of the mythological hero. I wanted to follow.

11. “On the Road,” Jack Kerouac, 1955.

He wrote the travelogue on a continuous 120-foot scroll, in a fever. Hit me strong because Kerouac was once a college football player.

12. “The Brothers Karamazov,” Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880.

Yeah, my dense copy is 936 pages long. But once you meet the K. family, sports personalities are easy.

13. “1984,” George Orwell, 1948.

What can you say? That most of his dystopia has come to pass?

14. ‘‘Fat City,” Leonard Gardner, 1969.

The best boxing novel ever. Punched out, Gardner never wrote another book.

15. “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,” Annie Dillard, 1974.

The nature writer found wonder in the simplest things. When I wrote her as a hopeful writer, she wrote a long, inspirational letter back. Namaste, Annie.

16. “Bright Lights, Big City,” Jay McInerney, 1984.

One-hit wonder about being young and lost. You try writing a great book in the second person.

17. “Drugs, Sport and Politics,” Robert Voy, M.D., 1991.

The former chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee details doping like you can’t imagine.

18. “The Moral Animal,” Robert Wright, 1994.

Scientific explanation for the evolutionary instinct in humans — psychology that plays out in quarterbacks and shortstops, for sure.

19. “Into the Wild,” Jon Krakauer, 1997.

What is it about young men and daft adventure? We shouldn’t die finding out.

20. “Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich,” Mark Kriegel, 2007.

Another Kriegel book on my list. His tormented father-son insight is that good.

21. “The Trial,” Franz Kafka, 1925.

Whoa, baby. Bureaucratic paranoia ain’t fake when they’re really after you.

22. “My Dirty Little Secrets: Steroids, Alcohol & God: The Tony Mandarich Story,” 2009.

Thanks, Tony, for admitting you were a ’roid monster at Michigan State 20 years after you told me you weren’t and my editors put you on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

23. (Lifetime award) All Mad Magazines and books.

From a tender age onward. Oh, the wise-ass! Oh, the stupidity! My mom gave me “Totally Mad: 60 Years of Humor, Satire, Stupidity and Stupidity” (2012) — when I was 63!

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