Books On Games

May I make a confession? I’m thinking of retreating to YA fiction for a good long time. Last Cardturner.jpgyear I read Louis Sachar’s The Cardturner. A friend of mine at the bridge club recommended it. He’s older than I am.

It’s the story about an adolescent boy navigating the usual teen life: the opposite sex, parents, sibling, and a best friend. He’s also been hired to help his blind uncle play bridge. That seems unbelievable, but it’s possible.

One reviewer mentioned that Mr Sachar is such a good writer he can take a massive boring project like playing bridge and make it seem interesting.

You may recognize the name from his award-winning books that have been turned into a tv series (Wayside) and a movie (Holes). It’s an excellent book much in the spirit of his other fiction, a bit of the supernatural and a tight plot that sorts itself out at the end. It’s also an interesting and amusing look into duplicate bridge.

GrandmasterI played a lot of chess when I was in high school and college. Like the title character of David Klass’ book Grandmaster, I gave up chess decades ago. Soon after, I likewise found a career, wife, and family. The similarity ends there, as I never progressed beyond the Expert stage of tournament chess. And I haven’t made it back yet.

This is another YA novel I enjoyed. It’s a notch below the one on bridge, but it’s still good, exploring another youth who is searching for meaning in life while navigating females, competition, peers, and a deepening relationship with his father. The twist in this book is that after his prodigy dad gave up chess decades in the past, he concealed it from his family. The surprise lands early in the narrative here, and when father and son are off to a father-son chess tournament, things unfold and unravel from there.

Games are good. Books about games are easy enough to come by, but the better ones are hard to find. These are better, and recommended.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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