Thursday, October 3, 2013

12 in 12 - September Review

Hello everybody!

September has been one of the craziest months of the year.  Work went into overdrive with what annually is the biggest week of the year.  I've been trying to get in that last round of golf....but alas it never happened.  I (in a true spur of the moment) decided I needed to go to Chicago for a "bucket list-type" event.  My Linden collection took on a whole new dynamic with the inclusion of Trev in Decades 90s (and for some reason Enforcers II).

And while my blogging slowed down considerably (I hope to ramp that back up now that hockey is in full swing), I did manage to add some nice items to the collection and (as you will soon find out) stay on pace with my book reading.

In fact...September brought about a surplus of page flipping.

Crazy.  I know.

My month started off with one of the fastest reads I've ever had.  You've all heard the term "I couldn't put the book down".  Well this book is that and more.'s not a sports book (although the person of focus did run in the Berlin Olympics...and the author did write Seabiscuit) but it was quite bluntly the best book I've ever read.

There are plenty of reviews and synopsis' (synopsi's? synopsyses?) so I won't go into it here, but if you want a story of resilience - this book is for you.

Never has a book brought me to tears.  Never has a book literally knocked the wind out of me.  Never has a book made me stay up REAL late page flipping.  This book did.

It took days - not a month.

And so what did I do after that?  I read a book my niece has been bugging me for over a year to read.  And I needed to read it before the movie is released.

The second book in the Hunger Games trilogy - Catching Fire - was my next quest.  It was an entertaining read (and I did finish it with time to spare for this month's sports pick).  You'd think I had tons of spare time or something.

Yes.  Crazy.

Anyways, I finished up the third book of September tonight and I hit a pretty solid trifecta.

September's book was a suggestion from fellow WHA nut Captain Canuck.

The Rebel League - The Short And Unruly Life Of The World Hockey Association
Ed Willes
265 pages

Back in June, I ventured to WHA Day at the Canada Sport Hall Of Fame.  It was the weekend of our terrible flood, but when I heard that they were still putting on the event I decided to go.  And while it was a little underwhelming, it got me in the mood for more things WHA.

Soon after I was handed this book as a suggestion for a monthly read.  I'm glad I took up that suggestion.

The Rebel League surprised me a bit.  I was concerned it would be more of a "surface" story.  Not really getting into details of the 7-year venture that was the WHA.  It turned out to be a very well-written, detailed story.

Sure, there are the must-haves like Gordie Howe and his kids, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretzky, the Slap Shot inspiration, the goonery.  But this had more.

Details, details, details.  Lots of interviews - and from a very diverse bunch.  That was a big part of the enjoyment.  Recognizing names that I haven't heard since I was a kid.

By the way, I can see this book being a more enjoyable read to those who recognize names like Steve Durbano, Real Cloutier, Anders Hedberg and John Garrett.  Connecting those memories with their stories really made this a fun read.

Concise, but with good stories.  Well organized and expressively written.  The Rebel League is more than just a "history of".  It documents the real push the WHA had vs. the NHL.  It unveils the impact the league had on player salaries, overall game style innovations and the incredible merger that impacted the league for the next 20+ years (in fact, the impact is still resonating).

A great documentation of one of the most important 7-year sport ventures  in all of pro sports.  It left me wanting more.  Read it.

4 out of 5

October's book:

Inspired by a fantastic Boston Globe article that has me drooling for yet another autobiography.

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with you on Unbroken. Great storytelling. Horrifying what those guys went through. I never read Seabiscuit but it's on my list now.