The biggest football game of the year is coming to the biggest Jewish city in the nation. (OK, it's in Jersey, but that still counts.) And in the run-up to the Super Bowl, Tablet Magazine and Varsity Letters bring together two authors renowned for their writing on both football and many things Jewish. We're calling it "Pigskin Is Kosher." Rich Cohen is the author of the new best-seller Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, as well as Israel Is Real, Tough Jews, and The Avengers, among other titles. In Samuel G. Freedman's latest book, Breaking the Line, he writes about the world of black college football in the late 1960s and how it shaped the game as we know it today. A religion columnist for the New York Times, Freedman is the author of books including Jew Vs Jew. Longtime friends and fellow authors, they'll punt, pass and kick their way through an evening of football talk moderated by Marc Tracy of The New Republic. "Pigskin Is Kosher" will be held at 7:30 PM on Tues., Jan. 28, at The Gallery at LPR (158 Bleeker St, between Sullivan and Thompson). Admission is free and books will be available for purchase.
Varsity Letters goes to the ice with a night all about hockey on Thursday, January 9th. Puck Daddy blogger Greg Wyshynski will be joined by Jay Greenberg, co-author of Mark Howe's book Gordie Howe's Son: A Hall of Fame Life in the Shadow of Mr. Hockey, as well as Joe DeLessio of Sports on Earth and New York Magazine, at the Gallery at LPR in New York City.
Varsity Letters returns to The Gallery at LPR for a look inside the NBA with some of the people closest to the game. Former number one NBA draft pick Billy "The Hill" McGill will be joined by Eric Brach, his co-author on Billy "the Hill" and the Jump Hook: The Autobiography of a Forgotten Basketball Legend; also speaking will be longtime agent Keith Glass, author of Taking Shots: Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA; and basketball journeyman Paul Shirley, who wrote Can I Keep My Jersey?: 11 Teams, 5 Countries, and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond.
Varsity Letters returns to the Gallery at LPR on Thursday, November 14th, for a night that looks back on some key figures in college football as highlighted by two recently released books. Author Jim Lefebvre will read from and discuss his book Coach for a Nation: The Life and Times of Knute Rockne. He'll be joined by New York Times columnist Samuel Freedman, who'll discuss his new book Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights.
Varsity Letters returns to The Gallery at LPR on Thursday, October 10, for a night that looks through America's pastime through the eyes of its players. Daniel Gilbert, author of Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency, will speak about changes to the game that have gone well beyond the playing field. He'll be joined by Michael O'Keeffe, Teri Thompson, and other members of the Daily News I-Team, reporting back from the front lines of A-Rod's fascinating legal battles.
Varsity Letters marks the day prior to Yom Kippur with a celebration of the Jewish athlete at The Gallery at LPR in Manhattan. Join Marc Tracy, staff writer for The New Republic and co-editor of Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame; Howard Megdal, a contributor to Sports on Earth and Capital New York and author of The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players; and real life Jewish jock Robert Podhurst, a sports sociologist and former basketball player for Macabbi Tel Aviv; as they explore different angles on 3,000 years of tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax.
Varsity Letters and Geeking Out, Gelf's sports and science reading series, team up for a night devoted to the intersection of both fields at the Gallery at LPR on Thursday, August 8th. Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein will read from and discuss his new book, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance. He'll be joined by David Sally, co-author of the just-released The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Soccer Is Wrong.
Varsity Letters returns to the Gallery at LPR on Thursday, July 11th, with a bunch of amateurs—ordinary people who've tried to push themselves to the height of athletic achievement. Jon Hart, the author of Man versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures will be joined by A.J. Jacobs, who's written a number of books chronicling his feats self-experimentation, most recently, Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection.
Varsity Letters returns to the Gallery at LPR on Thursday, June 13th, with a few sportswriters we happen to like. Rob Weintraub—who appeared at Varsity Letters in 2011 and has written for ESPN, Slate, and a range of other publications—will be reading from and discussing his new book, The Victory Season: The End of World War II and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age. He'll be joined by Rafe Bartholomew, another Varsity Letters alum, contributor to Grantland and author of Pacific Rims; as well as Tom Perrotta (Varsity Letters '11), tennis writer for the Wall Street Journal and editor-at-large for Tennis magazine.
Varsity Letters returns to the Gallery at LPR on Thursday, May 9th, for a night devoted to all things Mets. Christopher Frankie, the author of Nailed!: The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra; will be joined by Faith and Fear in Flushing co-blogger Greg Prince, who'll read from The Happiest Recap: First Base (1962-1973): 50 Years of the New York Mets As Told in 500 Amazin' Wins, the first of his four-volume set of Mets game recaps.
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