I try to do as much reading for pleasure as I can. My guilty pleasure? Books about golf. These don’t include instructional books (although Harvey Penick’s books are an exception, as are Dr. Bob Rotella’s books), biographies of tour pros (my guess is that books about Arnie or Jack aren’t written for people who are too young to have seen them play, and Tiger’s story is still being written as far as I’m concerned), or books about the PGA tour (reading A Good Walk Spoiled was like reading the phone book, although it didn’t help that I read it about 10 years after it came out). In my local library’s golf non-fiction section, if there are 20 shelves of golf books, 19 of them don’t interest me. So what does that leave me? How about golf memoirs by non-famous golfers (typically writers), collections of essays (by said writers), and a couple of non-picture-book architecture books. Is that esoteric enough for you? I guess what might make that weird is that I feel like I’ve read most all of the books from the genre, save the really old guys like Grantland Rice and Herbert Warren Wind.
This includes books by David Owen, James Dodson, Tom Chiarella (most people know him from Esquire, I read his golf memoir before I read his stuff in Esquire- that should give you a sense of the kind of geek I am), Tom Coyne, John Updike, Dan Jenkins (the unquestioned king), Bob Cullen, and others I’m forgetting. These guys are all writers who golf, and write about their relationships with the game. Some of them have also written novels I like, novels that tend toward “real people in real places,” rather than the kind that invoke mystical Scottish caddies or matches between ghosts. I realize I just dissed some of the more well-known and loved golf books, but sorry, they’re just not my cup of tea (maybe I’d love them, but they don’t even interest me enough to start).
(Ed: I don’t know why I felt I needed to explain all of that, but now you know.)