On the flights to and from the west coast, I read Michael Lewis’ new book, Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. Lewis is a great journalist, storyteller and finder of big stories hidden in strange places, be they in a bond-trading pit or a baseball box score. Whether you are a fan of football or not, Blind Side is a great read. Really. Even if you don’t know anything about American football, you’ll find it fascinating to learn the evolution of the professional version of the sport that led to offensive left tackles receiving salaries second only to quarterbacks. After reading the book, I promise you’ll be obsessed with the offensive left tackle during the next NFL game you watch.
Second, the book is, in large part, the riveting biography of Michael Oher, now a sophomore in college (deciding which college to attend is a central part of the book’s narrative, so I’ll skip saying where) and his adoptive parents in Memphis. Oher’s story, along with that of the family who adopted him, are almost too hard to believe — in fact, the NCAA didn’t believe it until doing some rather thorough investigating. I recommend reading the book first if you know nothing about Oher. Not knowing anything about him or his background kept me glued to it — and makes it easy to understand why the movie rights have been purchased by Fox for a movie starring Renee Zellweger (as the mom — when you read the book, you’ll see her in the part immediately, however, I would have cast Holly Hunter). If you can’t see yourself ever reading a book about NFL football, here’s a link to a 10,000-word version, adapted from the book, that appeared last September in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. It’s good reading.
[Photo of Michael Oher from the linked-to article.]