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What to Read While Not Watching the Super Bowl

3245498261_093141423b_bIf you like American football, chances are you have most of Sunday set aside so you can sit on a couch, watch commercials, scream at the television, and eat lots of buffalo wings, chips, and dips.

Junk food is awesome, but if you’re like me you’re probably looking  for something else to occupy your time – perhaps something more literary?

This post is not intended as a dig against football, or the game that the Cincinnati Chilis will be playing against the Boston Baked Beans(*); it was inspired in part by a reading list on LitReactor and by my own whim to find something to fill the tedious commercial breaks with sports-related reading.

For example, there’s the reprint of The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch in Sports Illustrated:

He’s a pitcher, part yogi and part recluse. Impressively liberated from our opulent life-style, Sidd’s deciding about yoga—and his future in baseball.

Or you might be interested in ESPN’s longform piece, Just Cheer, Baby, on the first NFL cheerleader to sue over the industry’s exploitative and illegal contracts:

Fed up with working long hours for meager wages, a Raiderette named Lacy T. recently filed a lawsuit in search of fair pay. She might just end up changing the system.

Or if you’re looking to fill the time while the game is delayed for one reason or another, perhaps you could keep everyone entertained with sports factoids from Snopes like:

There is a rise in automobile accidents tied to the aftermath of Super Bowl. (this one is true)

And if you want something to fill the entire Sunday that you won’t be spending watching the game, I have a few suggestions.

From the author who brought us Hannibal Lector:

Black Sunday

TBlack Sunday by Thomas Harris, Bantam 1976 paperback, Cover by Lou Feckhomas Harris’s first novel pits an American Vietnam vet of dubious sanity and his PLO terrorist accomplices against a ruthless Israeli security agent and the FBI in a race to kill the 80,000 spectators at the Super Bowl, with the president of the United States in attendance. The plot (large-scale terrorist act perpetrated in the United States by an American) was considered somewhat improbable when the book was first published in 1975, but that was then.

I read the book way back when. It’s pretty good, and is a cross between what Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler were writing in that era. (There’s also a movie.)


moneyballIn 2002 the Oakland Athletics turned professional baseball on its head when the team adopted a statistics-based approach to choosing players. The result was that one of the poorest clubs in the MLB fielded a team that was competitive with clubs that spent five times as much on salary.

There’s a book, Moneyball, that was published in 2003 and then adapted into a movie in 2011, but I am linking you to the Wikipedia page so you can read the summary, then read about sabermetrics, and hopefully get lost going down the rabbit hole while reading related articles. (The book is good, too, but the movie is so-so.)


bennet-omaluJeanne Marie Laskas' Concussion is the riveting, unlikely story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who made one of the most significant medical discoveries of the twenty-first century.

It was also perhaps the most obvious, that repeated blows to the head caused long-lasting physical trauma, but according to Wikipedia, Dr Omalu identified the specific physiological condition caused by the repeated blows to the head suffered by professional football players and other athletes. (According to the latest research, veterans suffering from PTSD have a similar condition.)

Pictured at right is Dr. Omalu. In the movie adaptation of Concussion, he was played by Will Smith.


Are you planning to watch the big game this year, or do you have other plans?  (As I recall, this year the Philly Cheesesteaks are playing the New England Clam Chowders.) Let us know in the comments!

P.S. You know, at first I was using regional dishes as a joke, but in retrospect I think they would make the start for a great menu for the game. It’s shame it’s too late to set it up in time for tomorrow.

image by .reid.

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Anne February 8, 2016 um 6:41 am

Me and two of my kids went to the movies. They were having a special. We watched Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. That’s sort of literary!

Nate Hoffelder February 8, 2016 um 7:42 am

I was going to go see that, but never got off my duff. The book was boring, but the trailers looked interesting.

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