Buzz Bissinger

Selections from the sportswriter and memoirist's bookshelf.



In his latest book, the bestselling author of sports classics Friday Night Lights and 3 Nights in August chronicles a cross-country road trip taken with his 24-year-old son Gerry. Cognitively impaired due to oxygen deprivation at birth, Bissinger's son leads a circumscribed life despite his savant-like memory. Father's Day describes the revelatory westward odyssey the two shared, and the transformative effect it had on the author. When we asked Bissinger to share three of his favorite books, he offered this trio of engrossing narratives.


Books by Buzz Bissinger



The Art of Fielding

By Chad Harbach


"Dozens of books have tried to use the game of baseball as a metaphor for life. Dozens have failed. The Art of Fielding doesn't fall into the same overwrought trap. Harbach uses baseball as the structure of his narrative, with marvelous results. Baseball is not life itself in his book, but a vivid and revealing window into life. The characters are varied and wonderfully drawn, in particular the bravely flawed catcher Mike Schwartz. There are enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages at a mad clip. It took me several days to read but it felt like several hours."




By Elie Wiesel


"I recently read this book after visiting the remains of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. It was the most moving experience of my life. I did not think anything else could possibly match the emotion of what I felt as I walked alone in the snow and spitting rain, trying to imagine what could not be imagined. But I was wrong. In the depiction of a father and son thrown together into horror, Night is tragic, brutal, unspeakable, but also beautiful in its testament to the human spirit and the boundlessness of love."



Lord of Misrule

By Jaimy Gordon


"I went to Aqueduct in New York as a child countless Saturdays with my mother and father and assorted relatives. The racetrack, the contradiction of beauty and brutality, mesmerized me. I knew a little about the interior lives of the jockeys and the trainers and the grooms and the handlers, but it was only upon reading Lord of Misrule that it all came alive with poetry, grit, humor, sadness, and nobility even in the most despairing. I didn't simply feel like I was reading about the world of the broken-down racetrack on the fringe. I felt like I was tasting it with every word."

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.