Saturday, January 29, 2011

Books to Hold You Over Until the Super Bowl

It’s official: the Green Bay Packers face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. I’m not a diehard fan of either team, but I’ll take any excuse to host the indoor equivalent of a tailgate party; this is especially true when a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game is on TV or when C-SPAN broadcasts live from the Miami International Book Fair, or any book fair for that matter.

Now, if you’re like me, you tend to associate everything with books (example: shopping with my ever-patient sister and describing the whole plot of Stendhal’s novel when she asks me whether she looks better in the red dress or the black dress) and football is no different. I’ll cheer for the Baltimore Ravens simply because their mascot is an homage to the famous poetic subject of hometown writer Edgar Allen Poe (that, and solid defense always wins games). If the Tennessee Titans are playing against the Philadelphia Eagles, I’ll root for the Titans in recognition of one of the most literary Titans, Prometheus (check out Aeschylus and Percy Bysshe Shelley). Granted, this strategy hardly ever works, but it’s a fun way to combine books and football.

So if you’re a football fan and you’re looking for some great Packers-or-Steelers-friendly books to tide you over until February 6th, or even if you’re not a fan but would like to get in on the Packers vs. Steelers book reading spirit, I’ve got the perfect selections for you.

For Green Bay Packer fans:
-The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. (This solid book club selection is a Wisconsin retelling of Hamlet, recommended by none other than Oprah.)

-A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. (A seductive turn of the 20th century thriller that perfectly captures the wickedly cold Wisconsin winters; great for Packer fans who remember the Ice Bowl.)

-The Dive From Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer. (The protagonist in this novel moves from Wisconsin to New York. Sound like a familiar quarterback?)

For Pittsburgh Steelers Fans:
-The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. (Michael Chabon is the novelist from Pittsburgh, not to mention a Pulitzer Prize winner. He probably has about as many awesome books to his credit as the Steelers have Super Bowl victories, which is a lot.)

-An American Childhood by Annie Dillard. (Dillard’s beautiful and perceptive writing style shines in her memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh; don’t pass this one up.)

-Snow Angels by Stewart O’Nan. (O’Nan’s first book is a family drama set… oh never mind – excuse me while I daydream about Troy Polamalu. Swoon!)

I hope these book picks are helpful, but feel free to leave a comment and tell us what you’ll be reading before the big game. Until then, happy reading, and enjoy the Super Bowl!