I once recommended an out-of-print book (The Disenchanted, by Budd Shulberg) during a job interview. The interviewer was like the human equivalent of a tennis ball machine set to the fastest setting, and he kept firing weird questions: What's your favorite restaurant? What is the best MP3 you've ever illegally downloaded? Where would you like to travel next? When he asked What's the best book you've recently read, I swung my racket as quickly as possibly and said, The Disenchanted, except wait, it's out of print, so you'll have to find a copy on eBay.
The Tennis Ball Machine Interviewer laughed so hard, I thought I was going to have to summon the paramedics. Then he called me "pretentious." Every since then, I've been careful to only recommend books that are easily available at any bookstore.
Today however, I must break that rule, because I must recommend The Sports Book from DK Publishing. The book describes the rules and tactics for more than 200 sports. It's been invaluable in the Cranky Pumpkin household during the Olympics. I know the rules for sports like basketball and baseball, but water polo just looked like mayhem in a pool. Now I know the rules and can better appreciate the sport. Did you know that only the goalie can touch the bottom of the pool? And the players can only hold the ball with one hand? What a sport! I'd drown within the first minute.
The Sports Book is out of print, and that's a shame, but it seems to be priced reasonably enough on Amazon. The book is covered with astro turf, making it a great gift for the sports lover in your life. Besides, who doesn't need to know the rules for Shinty, a field hockey/lacrosse style game that originated in the Highlands of Scotland? And don't get me started on Sepak Takraw, which is also known as "kick volleyball" or Parkour, which looks like an urban obstacle course for acrobats. (I'm not inventing any of these sports. If you don't believe me, just buy The Sports Book already).