Doesn’t colder weather just make you want to curl up and read a good book? Whether you’re getting comfy on the couch after a tennis lesson or reading aloud to your junior player, there’s plenty of tennis literature out there for you. Today’s edition of Friday Finds gives you a peek at some tennis tales that will keep you occupied off the court.
by Noel Streatfeild
This 1937 children’s book is the second installment of English author Noel Streatfield’s Shoes series. The story follows four young siblings who begin to pursue tennis competitively under the encouragement of their grandfather. As it turns out, the best player of the four is the one the family least expected.
Goodreads rating: 3.68/5
Tennis Audience: Beginning youth players
Most helpful online review: “I have never had an interest in tennis, yet with Streatfeild’s delightful writing, I was hooked.”
The Tennis Partner
by Abraham Verghese
Verghese’s memoir about a friendship that blossoms on the tennis court takes place in El Paso, Texas, where he was practicing internal medicine at a hospital. The author befriends a resident of the hospital, a former great player and recovering drug addict, and they begin playing singles regularly. Through tennis, the two seemingly dissimilar men are able to learn from each other.
Goodreads ratings: 3.84/5
Tennis audience: Adults getting back into the game
Most helpful online review: “At times it felt as if I were reading my own thoughts on tennis, medicine, resilience and grace despite drastically different personal experiences.”
by Lionel Shriver
In this story written by award-winning author Lionel Shriver, the marriage between two professional tennis players begins to crumble as the wife’s ranking plummets while the husband’s steadily rises. She becomes obsessed with ranking and the inability to compare with her husband’s success on the court, and eventually spirals out of control, even cracking a racket over his head. More dark twists in the plot reveal that this love match might not have a happy ending.
Goodreads rating: 3.11/5
Tennis audience: Mixed doubles partners
Most helpful online review: “Although I couldn’t relate to the tennis part and sometimes just wanted to smack her and say, “Snap out of it!!”, I then reminded myself how I’d feel if this was something that was more important or relevant to me, and I could commiserate.”
by Madeleine Wickham
Written by the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series, this novel explores the relationships between four wealthy English couples attending a tennis party. While tennis brings them together one weekend, their personal crises pull them apart.
Goodreads rating: 2.77/5
Tennis audience: Recreational players
Most helpful online review: “This book had empty and confusing characters gathering together around a match of tennis, which felt more like an afterthought by the time the book was done.”
by David Foster Wallace
How does one explain the plot of a novel that takes place in futuristic North America and intertwines a tennis academy, a halfway house and Quebec separatism? Answer: you can’t. True tennis fanatics will appreciate all 1,079 pages written by David Foster Wallace, largely considered to be one of the 20th century’s greatest authors and a huge tennis player and fan himself.
Goodreads rating: 4.34/5
Tennis audience: Tennis coaches
Most helpful online review: “I’ve finally reached the end of this amazing book. It’s not an easy read, but after a while you discover that there are good reasons why it has to be the way it is.”
Crooked Little Heart
by Anne Lamott
Rosie, a promising junior tennis player, must cope with the death of her father and her mother’s alcoholism in this bildungsroman written by acclaimed author Anne Lamott. When her best friend and doubles partner becomes pregnant, Rosie finds the only constant in her life is an eerie older man who follows her from tournament to tournament, and he may be the only one who knows her greatest shame.
Goodreads rating: 3.6/5
Tennis audience: College tennis hopefuls
Most helpful online review: “This book very nicely conveys the problems that both teenage girls and athletes go through, like the pressure to be perfect.”
Game, Set, and Match
by Donna King
In this young adult novel,12-year-old tennis star Carrie begins questioning her love for the game and feels torn between a social life and the sport she’s played all her life. A visit to a tennis school in Florida might help Carrie make the decision.
Goodreads rating: 3.8/5
Tennis Audience: Competitive junior players
Most helpful online review: “It didn’t break any new ground, but I thought this book was perfectly amiable tween-jock fiction. The tennis scenes were short, but action-packed, and featured lots of hard-hitting and hard-fought points.”