Rummanah Aasi

Welcome to The Reel Shelf, a new weekly feature here at Books in the Spotlight where I imagine what's on my favorite TV/Movie character's book shelves. If you have missed any of my previous Reel Shelf installments, you can find them all here. Today I'm spotlighting Tim Riggins from the fabulous and highly underrated television series Friday Night Lights. If you haven't watched the show, do it now. The entire series is now available on DVD.

Image and Quote from

All I wanted to do was come home.


   It was really hard to choose one character from Friday Night Lights because the entire cast of characters are amazing. For me, Tim Riggins encapsulates everything that I love about the show. At first glance, it's easy to write off Tim as your typical frat boy/philanderer, but as the show evolves so does his depth. Tim comes from a broken home where both of his parents abandon him and his brother Billy in a haze of alcohol and drugs, leaving the boys to fend for themselves. While he may not excel at school, he is incredibly gifted and naturally talented to play fullback on his high school's football team. Though he may act as if he is nonchalant about the team and the sport, Tim needs the sport the most to help ground himself. Tim Riggins is a character that you want to slap upside the head and yell at because of his stupid mistakes. It's his puppy dog eyes and lazy smile that make you want to give him a big hug. Tim is a man of honor and loyalty and he is played by Taylor Kitsch. 

  Even though Tim isn't much of a reader himself, I think he would be interested in the following books. As always, if you see something that I've clearly missed please add them in the comments!

The Reel Shelf Presents Tim Riggin's Book Shelf

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger- Return once again to the enduring account of life in the Mojo lane, to the Permian Panthers of Odessa -- the winningest high school football team in Texas history. Odessa is not known to be a town big on dreams, but the Panthers help keep the hopes and dreams of this small, dusty town going. Socially and racially divided, its fragile economy follows the treacherous boom-bust path of the oil business.In bad times, the unemployment rate barrels out of control; in good times, its murder rate skyrockets. But every Friday night from September to December, when the Permian High School Panthers play football, this West Texas town becomes a place where dreams can come true. With frankness and compassion, Bissinger chronicles one of the Panthers' dramatic seasons and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires-and sometimes shatters-the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms. 

Underdogs by Markus Zusak- Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They're intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben's girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.

 Catch by Will Leitch- Everything comes easy for Tim Temples. He’s got a sweet summer job, lots of love from the ladies, and parties with his high school buddies. Why does he need to go to college? Then Tim falls hard for Helena—a worldly and mysterious twenty-two year-old. Their relationship opens his eyes to life outside the small town of Mattoon, Illinois. Now Tim has to choose: Will he settle for being a small town hero, or will he leave it all behind to follow his dreams?

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson-  High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background—average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father’s boss’s daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy—and Tyler’s secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world.

I'll Be There by Heather Goldberg Sloan- Sam Border wishes he could escape. Raised by an unstable father, he’s spent his life moving from place to place. But he could never abandon his little brother, Riddle.
Riddle Border doesn’t talk much. Instead, he draws pictures of the insides of things and waits for the day when the outsides of things will make sense. He worships his older brother. But how can they leave when there’s nowhere to go? Then everything changes. Because Sam meets Emily.
  Emily Bell believes in destiny. She sings for her church choir, though she doesn’t have a particularly good voice. Nothing, she feels, is mere coincidence. And she’s singing at the moment she first sees Sam. Everyone whose path you cross in life has the power to change you—sometimes in small ways, and sometimes in ways greater than you could have ever known.

Bleachers by John Grisham- High school all-American Neely Crenshaw was probably the best quarterback ever to play for the legendary Messina Spartans. Fifteen years have gone by since those glory days, and Neely has come home to Messina to bury Coach Eddie Rake, the man who molded the Spartans into an unbeatable football dynasty.
   Now, as Coach Rake's "boys" sit in the bleachers waiting for the dimming field lights to signal his passing, they replay the old games, relive the old glories, and try to decide once and for all whether they love Eddie Rake--or hate him. For Neely Crenshaw, a man who must finally forgive his coach--and himself--before he can get on with life, the stakes are especially high.

Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp- In a small Oklahoma town, one star linebacker must decide what kind of man he wants to be--both on and off the field.
Welcome to Kennisaw--where Friday night high school football ranks right up there with God and country, and sometimes even comes in first. This year, the Kennisaw Knights are going for their fifth straight undefeated season, and if they succeed, they'll be more than the best high school team in the eastern Oklahoma hill country--they'll be legends.
  But the Knights' legacy is a heavy weight to carry for Hampton, linebacker and star of the team. On the field, he's so in control you'd think he was able to stop time. But his life off the field is a different story. His father walked out on him and his mom years ago, and now his mom has a new boyfriend every week. He's drawn to a smart, quirky girl at school--the type a star athlete just isn't supposed to associate with. And meanwhile, his best friend and teammate Blaine--the true friend who first introduced Hampton to football back when he had nothing else--is becoming uncomfortably competitive, and he's demanding Hampton's loyalty even as Hampton thinks he's going too far.

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis- The bestselling author of "Coach, Moneyball" and "Liar's Poker" delivers a multidimensional story that traces the upbringing of a young boy through to young adulthood, all through the lens of sports and his community of support. 

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally- What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Greeen moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

Pop by Gordon Korman- After moving to a new town, Marcus strikes up a friendship with Charlie Popovich, a former pro football player. As the two grow closer, Marcus learns that Charlie has early onset Alzheimer's disease as a result of suffering head injuries during his career. Marcus is willing to risk everything to help his new friend. 

Split by Swati Avasthi- Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.
  Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again?

Raider's Night by Robert Lipsyte-The pressure is on. At Nearmont High School, football stars are treated like royalty, and Matt Rydek has just ascended to the throne. As co-captain of the Raiders, he's got it all, or so it seems: hot girls, all the right friends, plenty of juice to make him strong, and a winning team poised to go all the way. If he can keep his eye on the ball now, his future will be set, with a full ride to a Division One school, a shot at the pros, and most important his dad off his back. But when the team turns on one of its own, should Matt play by Raiders rules, or should he go long alone?

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach- My name is Felton Reinstein, which is not a fast name. But last November, my voice finally dropped and I grew all this hair and then I got stupid fast. Fast like a donkey. Zing
Now they want me, the guy they used to call Squirrel Nut, to try out for the football team. With the jocks. But will that fix my mom? Make my brother stop dressing like a pirate? Most important, will it get me girls-especially Aleah? So I train. And I run. And I sneak off to Aleah's house in the night. But deep down I know I can't run forever. And I wonder what will happen when I finally have to stop.

The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta- Award-winning author Melina Marchetta reopens the story of the group of friends from her acclaimed novel Saving Francesca - but five years have passed, and now it's Thomas Mackee who needs saving. After his favorite uncle was blown to bits on his way to work in a foreign city, Tom watched his family implode. He quit school and turned his back on his music and everyone that mattered, including the girl he can't forget. Shooting for oblivion, he's hit rock bottom, forced to live with his single, pregnant aunt, work at the Union pub with his former friends, and reckon with his grieving, alcoholic father. Tom's in no shape to mend what's broken. But what if no one else is either? An unflinching look at family, forgiveness, and the fierce inner workings of love and friendship, The Piper's Son redefines what it means to go home again. 

Stick by Andrew Smith-  Fourteen-year-old Stark McClellan (nicknamed Stick because he’s tall and thin) is bullied for being “deformed” – he was born with only one ear. His older brother Bosten is always there to defend Stick. But the boys can’t defend one another from their abusive parents.
   When Stick realizes Bosten is gay, he knows that to survive his father's anger, Bosten must leave home. Stick has to find his brother, or he will never feel whole again. In his search, he will encounter good people, bad people, and people who are simply indifferent to kids from the wrong side of the tracks. But he never loses hope of finding love – and his brother.

Next Man Up by John Feinstein - An up-close look inside an NFL powerhouse, from the only writer in America who players and coaches would trust with their secrets. 

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt - The story of a young marine’s return from war in the Middle East and the psychological effects it has on his family. 

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen- There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on - and off - the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy - including the most innocent bystanders.     When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school's salvation. Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.

Crackback by John Coy- When Miles Manning, a successful high school football player, discovers his teammates are using steroids--and one of them is his best friend--he's faced with a tough decision: Is he willing to do what it takes to win? Football is his life, and his family, especially his dad, is pinning its hopes on him. It's a lot of pressure for a high school junior to bear. This gripping look into the world of high school boys and athletes--and their struggle to be the best--is provocative and searingly honest. 
5 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    What a great fun post!!! I btw love Tim Riggins....which is why I refuse to see some of this actors new movies, it will tarnish my Riggins fantasy...I will however be adding Leverage to my TBR pile, that sounds really good

  2. Jenny Says:

    Oooo Taylor Kitsch Rummanah! You sure know how to make a girl's Friday! I absolutely adored Catching Jordan, one of my favorite reads last year. I was so sure a sports-themed book was not going to be for me, and I was so glad I was wrong!

    Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  3. Fun post! I used to love this show and then it kind of faded into the background and was gone. Tim was one of my favorite characters, I am sure he would like all the football themes books. Thanks for sharing! Have a great weekend, Rummanah!

  4. You've got Tim some great choices! I've heard of a few, most not. I have I'll Be There, Catching Jordan, Watched The Blind Side, but I bet the book is better, need to get Stick. I HAVE actually read Split! It was an excellent book! I'm still trying to read Jellicoe Road so I'm steering clear of The Piper's Son until I can get through that.

    That is a very thorough list. I'm wondering if my older son might like some of these books. Might run by the library and see what he thinks.
    Thanks for sharing and all that research!


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