It is that time of year again. Power rankings are being rolled out, fantasy players are drafted, trash is talked, and stockpiles of microwavable snacks are being stuffed in the fridge of your friend with the big screen TV. The start of the NFL season. When all other sports are forgotten and your co-workers won’t stop bugging you about joining the office pool. But if Sunday and Monday night games aren’t enough gridiron for you—or if you need something to do during the incessant commercial breaks—check out the following list of some of the best books about football.
A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley
One part F. Scott Fitzgerald, one part Charles Bukowski, and two parts drunken fan babbling next to you in the sports bar, A Fan’s Notes is the Great American Sports Novel and may just be the Great American Novel, period. This highly autobiographical debut recounts Frederick Exley’s struggles with alcoholism, father issues, and a severe case of writer’s block. The only thing that gives his life meaning is the New York Giants and their star halfback, Frank Gifford. Any sports fan will recognize the agony and ecstasy of fandom in Exley’s moving and hilarious tale. Without the mawkish and cloying ploys of contemporary addiction memoirs, A Fan’s Notes manages to be uplifting because the very book in your hand is proof that Exley ultimately succeeds.