Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Monday, February 6, 2012

FREE BOOK! and Those Guys Have All the Fun by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales

So it seems we've been blogging on our itty bitty book blog for about a year now.  My how quickly the pages turn!  It makes us feel like we should celebrate so this month each one of us is giving a book away.  And I'm going to start!  But before we get to the free book, how 'bout I review one?  Mmkay? Okay.

I'm not going to lie or try to dress this up.  I read this for the gossip.  It's huge (745 pages) much like the network it tracks from an idea by an out-of-work father and son to the sprawling multi-national mega-corporation it is now.  Even if you're not into sports, I bet you'd know what you can find on ESPN (Which they used to refer to as E.S.P. Network.  Which I find amusing.).  The book is easy to read despite its ability to kill an entire colony of ants in one fell swoop.  It reads like a documentary; the name of the speaker is given and then large amounts of direct quotes.  It's clear that the authors shaped and edited the content (as in didn't put a Mark Shapiro quote about the show PTI in the section discussing the initial funding for the network), but the entire book is 90% direct quotes from what must have been thousands of hours of interviews.  A lot of time and work went into the making of this book, but fortunately it won't take you as long to read it.

What brought me to this book is my love of Dan Patrick.  He is unaware of our relationship, but we're boyfriend/girlfriend.  I listen or watch his show exclusively now, so it's pretty serious.  His split from ESPN (where he was part of what I consider to be the greatestSportsCenter duo ever) was acrimonious to say the least, so when the book came out I wanted to read up on all the gossip I could.  There is plenty of information here, but the breadth of the subject is so wide that it doesn't focus nearly enough on my boyfriend.  Of course, I could be biased.  Overall, the book casts a positive tone; choosing to regard ESPN as a competitive entity in the sports information world.  Which is certainly is. There are people who feel that ESPN is too powerful and has too much sway in certain sports and media circles, but the book doesn't really get into that in great detail.  Regardless of that, if you're looking for information about this gigantic, 24-hour, sports-fueled machine called ESPN, then look no further.

Here are some things I learned:
1.  Dick Vitale, Bob Ley, and Chris Berman all joined ESPN within the first year (1979 ish) and all are still with the company.
2.  The infamous promos for SportsCenter, all ending with the tag-line "This is SportsCenter", developed from one of many skirmishes between Keith Olbermann and the management.
3.  We have ESPN to thank for the NFL Draft being as annoying as it is.  It was their idea to televise it starting in 1980.
4.  Denise Austin used to have air-time on ESPN.  They made her acquire her own sponsor, she produced her own exercise show, and now she's an aerobics legend.
5.  If it weren't for the NCAA wanting a place for its basketball tournament and Getty family money being at the discretion of a guy who liked sports and off-beat ideas, then we'd still be getting sports information from our local news.
6.  For my brother:  In 1979, RCA was making "concept sales" of satellite transmissions.  Everyone knew about cable and its physical locations, but very few people understood the implications of satellite broadcasting.  Basically that something that got picked up on one spot could be sent world wide.  They convinced the Rasmussen's of the fledgling ESP Network to buy one of their two transponders for $34, 167 a month.  
7.  While we all know how incredibly stupid and obnoxious The Decision was (in terms of both television programming and humanity in general), LeBron James and his decision about his talents were watched in about 10 million homes.
8.  It's a long, complicated, wild book, but worth the read.

FREE BOOK!!!!!!!
Speaking of complicated and wild.....I'm giving away Wild Rideby Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer to one lucky commenter.  I reviewed one of their other books, Agnes and the Hitman, earlier.  You can find the review here.  I picked this book to give away because: it's a lot of fun to read; it's got romance, humor, demons, ice cream AND amusement parks; it's been something of a wild ride for us here lately.  The only thing you need to do to enter is leave a comment telling us your favorite book and your email address.  Leave a comment by Thursday, Feb. 9th, at midnight.  Yay!  Free book!

Here's some SportsCenter for you too!
And for Giants fans:

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  1. I have to post to Anonymous since I don't seem to be able to figure out the others. So Aunt Barb thinks...while this is not a book I would probably read(not a sports fan) I did find some of the "gossip" interesting. My favorite current book is Night Circus. I will probably even reread it at some point...which I don't usually do being a mystery book fan. They just aren't quite as interesting once you know the outcome. ;) Anyway, keep up the good works ladies. Am about to start The Jefferson Allegiance.

  2. I have to admit, I didn't even know who Dan Patrick was until I spent alot of great Nana time at your house last year. I was in the car with you when it first spoke with Charlie Sheen that started his crazy downfall from the Two and half Men show. I don't believe this is a book I would read and I love some sports, how I did enjoy the review as usual. I don't usually have a favorite book, but I do think as Aunt Barb stated that I would re-read Night Circus and after downloading some information on it and seeing the cover, I just might have to have the hard copy to keep.

  3. Look Amy, I'm commenting! I love your blog and your reviews! And I'm overusing the exclams!!

    Favorite book - Pride and Prejudice.

    Amy's got my email.


  4. This book is going on my list to buy for DH (Dear Husband). He's a huge ESPN Fan, loves the commercials, and loves to read.


  5. I would have to say that my favorite book is actually a series - The Hunger Games Trilogy. Amy also has my email address

  6. I don't know if I could read the ESPN book. Too much sports for me. But I can always use some fun, romance, demons and ice cream :)