18.9.08

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Some sports seem to appeal to readers. Cricket is certainly one. Golf is another.

The dearth of snooker books suggests our sport is not one, although this may reflect the tastes of publishers rather than the general public.

Anyway there have, over the years, been a number of interesting snooker books.

I know I’m biased but the best recent one in my opinion is Black Farce and Cueball Wizards by Snooker Scene editor Clive Everton.

This is an extraordinary account of the game’s rise to popularity and how it fell into the hands of the self-interested, dishonest and, at times, downright corrupt.

I had the pleasure of reading a much longer version in manuscript form. The book could have been a lot longer and there were many scandals there was simply no room for.

Prior to this, my favourite snooker book was Pocket Money by Gordon Burn. This is a riveting account of one season (1985/86) at the time of the 1980s snooker boom in Britain.

It details Barry Hearn’s entrepreneurship and the various characters – Steve Davis, Alex Higgins and Terry Griffiths among them – who dominated the game.

Autobiographies, by their very nature, tend to be self serving and not always reliable.

That said, I enjoyed Jimmy White’s book Behind the White Ball, although its literary style owed far more to its ghostwriter, Rosemary Kingsland, than Jimmy himself.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s story is told in Ronnie, which captures the ups and downs of his life with reasonable accuracy, even if he glosses over some incidents which would have merited more space.

Alex Higgins told his story last year in From the Eye of the Hurricane. Again, it’s all from his point of view but it’s an entertaining and at times poignant read.

I’d be interested (no pun intended) to read Steve Davis’s life story and that of Stephen Hendry.

Indeed, there are many fascinating snooker stories to be told. Perhaps I’ll write a book myself.

In the meantime, I have collated a list of books worth reading and linked them to Amazon. There are also DVDs and computer games listed there.

4 comments:

James Bielby said...

Donald Trelford's Snookered is good. Same era as Pocket Money.

Anonymous said...

Well Clive's going to be well chuffed with you Dave telling people to get it from Amazon for half the price it's advertised for on snooker scene website £20-99.

ProSnookerBlog said...

Agreed on Davis/Hendry, would love to read books from them but in Hendry's case at least, only once he has retired from the game.

There is the "Remember my name" book but that's nearly 20 years old now. The copy he signed for me immediately following his win over Dave Gilbert in 2007 is still a prized possession though!

Anonymous said...

I borrowed Clive's book from the library just a few weeks ago. It's a good book and one of my favourites.. I'll but it in a charity shop one day if I ever see it.

Would have liked a chapter or something with his own thoughts on some of the greatest players/achievements though.