Regardless of what you might have learned from movies and TV, lots of athletes are artists and intellectuals and many artists and intellectuals enjoy sports. Here are four novels artistic novels that revolve around sports and athletes.
A favorite of Judy Blume and Roxane Gay, Stephen Florida follows a college wrestler in his senior season, when every practice, every match, is a step closer to greatness and a step further from sanity. Profane, manic, and tipping into the uncanny, it's a story of loneliness, obsession, and the drive to leave a mark.
Beautiful like a clean sheet of ice and painful like the sharp cold of the early morning, Wagamese's Indian Horse is a story of the best and worst of cultures coming together. Indian Horse brought me right back to the moments when I learned to love hockey and forced to confront that my experience would have completely different, if I had been anything other than white. A powerful story of the damage one culture can do to another and how often it is the most talented, the most gifted, the most committed to learning and exchanging who bear the brunt of that damage.
Blending elements of memoir and sports writing, Anelise Chen's debut novel, So Many Olympic Exertions is an experimental work that perhaps most resembles what the ancient Greeks called hyponemata, or "notes to the self," in the form of observations, reminders and self-exhortations.
Written in a style the recalls the repetitions of practice, Red or Dead, a novelization of the great Bill Shankly, is a must for soccer fans, that explores not just how you build a great team, but how you build a great community and how often your greatest triumph and your saddest moment is when that team and community continue to grow after you’ve gone.