book round-ups, not a book

Super Bowl Sunday

Yes today is the day when people will be talking about Superb Owls and the Super Bowl. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, and although my team won’t be playing tonight, I’m still likely to be staying awake to see at least some of the match – hopefully I’ll last all the way to the halftime show.

American football and the NFL have their problems. We’ve all see about them – whether it’s CTE injuries to players, or race scoring retired players to determine their compensation, or Washington Commanders’ old name, or Tom Brady, but there is something I find hypnotic about the game. And not just because you can watch it whilst reading a book and not miss much action. I should have gone to the Dolphins at Jaguars in London before Christmas, but in the end, it didn’t happen. But as soon as the Cowboys come over, I will try again. I’m also currently (well at least before the Olympics started) working my way through Amazon’s All or Nothing seasons that deal with NFL franchises – I’ve just hit the Carolina Panthers’ season.

Why the Cowboys? Well I have family who live in Dallas, so that was what started it – back when I was in France on my year abroad and learning how American football worked from August in the Irish bar in Tours and had to pick a team to support. And by happy coincidence, the Cowboys organisation is also responsible for one of my great guilty pleasure TV shows: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Making the Team. If you’re in the UK you can find it on ITVBe every few months early in the mornings, if you’re in the US it’s on CMT. And you too can watch women try out to wear unforgiving uniforms to dance on the touch line at the AT&T stadium for what presumably is not very much money at all, especially given the hours of training they have to do.

Anyway, in case you’re wondering why this isn’t a Not a Book post – that’s because I’m going to recommend some football books to finish! I personally am marking the Super Bowl by finally getting around to reading Paper Lion by George Plimpton. But as I haven’t read it yet, I can’t write about is, so let’s head off to my usual wheelhouse: romance!

Firstly Alexa Martin – Intercepted was a BotW and she writes fun football romances that feel like they are more grounded in reality than many of the others, which might be because her husband was a player! She’s been an NFL wife and although her books obviously feature shiny romance versions of what life in the NFL is like, they do also feature some of the worries and risks which adds an extra something to it all.

I wrote about several Susan Elizabeth Philips books in my Enemies to Lovers post last month, but her Chicago Stars series basically work their way through key members of a fictional football team. The first one is 20 years old now, which probably qualifies it for Old School Romance status, but the latest one When Stars Collide came out just last year – and I really need to get around to reading it! Alisha Rai’s The Right Swipe features a retired football player as the hero, and the other novels in that sequence have football connections in patches.

And finally, because my love of Girls Own books is well known, I have to mention Grid Iron Grit, which is American Boys’ Own from the mid 1930s and is about a spoilt teenager who is removed from his small but exclusive school for rich kids and sent to a much bigger school with a better academic record. There he learns the error of his snobbish and lazy ways and to become a proper gentleman through the medium of American football. Lots of fun, even if some of the descriptions of the football got a bit too technical for me!

Enjoy the game if you’re watching – if not, enjoy whatever you’re reading!

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