Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's Only A Game by Bill Littlefield

Every year I think about keeping a running log of the books that I read as the year goes by. Not anything too in depth maybe just a few sentences to say what I thought of the book etc. I think it could be a cool thing to look back on. Also, I like the idea of keeping a running tally of how many books I've read all year. Something of a contest with myself I guess. So, here goes the first book I read for the year.

Bill Littlefield is the host of the National Public Radio program "It's Only A Game," which is a sort of intellectual, slightly irreverent, often very funny sports show that airs early Saturday mornings in my area. This book is a collection of essays and poems that spans the history of the show. Much like the show, the book is often hilarious, sometimes very poignant and occasionally transcendent.

Littlefield often reads poetry on the radio show and I have to say that, for the most part, they work better in an audio format than they do on the written page. Not to say that all of the poems in the book are crap but, some of them suffer a bit because it's hard to find the natural rhythm of Bill's voice, which is such a big part of his poetry.

The essays are the strongest part of the book. His writing is always honest and observant in a way that sports writing rarely is. The best way to describe it is that his sports writing is never macho in any way. Nor for that matter is the radio show. Littlefield writes for those of us who grew up frightened in every locker room situation we were ever in but still somehow found a way to love sports.

You can both order this book and check out podcasts of Only A Game by visiting their website.

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