In recent years, I havenít taken as much time to sit down and read good books as I once had. So this summer, Iíve tried to do some reading.

In recent years, I havenít taken as much time to sit down and read good books as I once had. So this summer, Iíve tried to do some reading.

I recently finished reading books about Michael Oher, the football player of ďThe Blind SideĒ fame, and former Major League baseball player Roger Maris, whose 61 home runs in 1961 broke Babe Ruthís single-season record. Maris was one of my first baseball heroes because, like him, I bat lefty and throw righty.

Sometimes, Iím so busy writing that I donít want to spend a lot of time reading. So Iím a binge reader. Iíll read three, four or five books in a few weeks ó and then not read another book for several months. The summer is usually when I find the most time to read.

As an elementary school student, I developed a love for reading biographies of famous athletes. I believe reading those first books about Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Knute Rockne and others helped steer me toward being a sports writer.

The first sports biography I bought was John Devaneyís ďThe Baseball Life of Mickey Mantle.Ē I purchased it through the Weekly Readerís Scholastic Book Club.

That was one of at least a half-dozen books on him that Iíve bought and read. Iím reading another biography, Jane Leavyís ďThe Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of Americaís Childhood.Ē

I once got in trouble in a high school algebra class for reading a book about Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson. I should have been paying attention in class, but baseball was always more interesting than trying to solve for x.

Today we can read books on our electronic devices. We donít need to go to the library to check out the latest must-read.

However, I still prefer to take a book in hand and get comfortable in my favorite chair as I flip the pages and transport to another time and place.

My personal library is scattered in various bookshelves and boxes. I prefer sports biographies and books that help me grow in my Christian faith.

I have never been to China, but I traveled there in my mind as I read a biography about Bill Wallace, a missionary killed by the Communist government in China more than 60 years ago.

I never saw Babe Ruth swing a baseball bat, or witnessed a young Vince Lombardi play football at Fordham University, but I can almost hear the crowds roar for these sport giants. Just as summer is a good time for boys and girls to exercise their bodies, it also can be a good time to exercise their minds.

No matter what your interest is, you can find a book on that subject ó and you donít have to wait for your favorite program to come on television.

Several years ago there was a television public service announcement that stressed, ďReading is Fundamental.Ē Reading also is fun. Have you read any good books lately?

Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletinís sports editor. Email him at, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.