Lori Wilde does not come from a family of sports fans. She didn’t grow up throwing around a pigskin in the backyard with her father, and she didn’t have secret aspirations of becoming an Olympian. That said, she is definitely making up for lost time now. Wilde can’t get enough of reading about the wonderful world of sports, and it shows in her reading habits and her writing. In her latest, Back in the Game, an ex-pitcher falls for the ghostwriter of his memoir. Here, Wilde dishes on her favorite sports-themed books. On your mark, get set, go!
I come from a family of readers, and shockingly even though we were from Texas, we didn’t pack the high school football bleachers on Friday nights. Smug in our pasty, indoor skins, we eschewed sports of all kinds. When I married my first husband, a sports addict, he tried to get me interested in sports, but to no avail. All I wanted was to read. It wasn’t until he handed me a copy of Semi-Tough that the light bulb went off. As a fellow Fort Worthian and Texas Christian University alum, Jenkins hooked me from the first word and finally got me interested in football. Irreverent, bawdy, hilarious, Semi-Tough tops my list.
I’m not the kind of reader who rereads. So many books, so little time. But I’ve read Heaven, Texas six times because, well, Bobby Tom Denton just makes me swoon. And then there’s Gracie Snow. What an amazing character arc as this plain Jane digs down deep to find the courage to go toe-to-toe with the sexiest alpha male ever to take the gridiron. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is the female Dan Jenkins. More romantic to be sure, but just as hilarious and irreverent.
4. Shoeless Joe
The movie Field of Dreams was based on this book and when they went to make it into a movie, the producer called the author to tell him they didn’t like the title Shoeless Joe. The author said he didn’t care if they changed it; the title was his publisher’s idea. The author’s original title? Dream Field. How cool is that? And what a dreamy book it is, about the romance between baseball and fans.
Granted, this book isn’t fiction or a romance, but I adore the quirky, politically incorrect, and out-there views of lefty pitcher Bill Lee so much that I used him as inspiration for my hero, Rowdy Blanton in Back in the Game. Besides that, Lee was quite the hottie in his heyday. Never one to shy from controversy, Bill “Spaceman” Lee is a true original. Even after he was blackballed in the major league, he kept playing wherever he could, purely for the love of the game.