Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players

Sold by HMH
26
Free sample

This “marvelously absorbing” book is “a walk on the wild side of words and ventures into the zone where language and mathematics intersect” (San Jose Mercury News).

A former Wall Street Journal reporter and NPR regular, Stefan Fatsis recounts his remarkable rise through the ranks of elite Scrabble players while exploring the game’s strange, potent hold over them—and him.
 
At least thirty million American homes have a Scrabble set—but the game’s most talented competitors inhabit a sphere far removed from the masses of “living room players.” Theirs is a surprisingly diverse subculture whose stars include a vitamin-popping standup comic; a former bank teller whose intestinal troubles earned him the nickname “G.I. Joel”; a burly, unemployed African American from Baltimore’s inner city; the three-time national champion who plays according to Zen principles; and the author himself, who over the course of the book is transformed from a curious reporter to a confirmed Scrabble nut.
 
Fatsis begins by haunting the gritty corner of a Greenwich Village park where pickup Scrabble games can be found whenever weather permits. His curiosity soon morphs into compulsion, as he sets about memorizing thousands of obscure words and fills his evenings with solo Scrabble played on his living room floor. Before long he finds himself at tournaments, socializing—and competing—with Scrabble’s elite.
 
But this book is about more than hardcore Scrabblers, for the game yields insights into realms as disparate as linguistics, psychology, and mathematics. Word Freak extends its reach even farther, pondering the light Scrabble throws on such notions as brilliance, memory, competition, failure, and hope. It is a geography of obsession that celebrates the uncanny powers locked in all of us, “a can’t-put-it-down narrative that dances between memoir and reportage” (Los Angeles Times).
 
Funny, thoughtful, character-rich, unchallengeably winning writing.” —The Atlantic Monthly
 
This edition includes a new afterword by the author.
Read more
Collapse

About the author

Stefan Fatsis is a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal and a regular commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. He has written for the Associated Press, the Village Voice, and P.O.V. magazine, as well as appeared on Good Morning, America to discuss the 2000 National Scrabble Championship. His first book, Wild and Outside, about minor-league baseball in Iowa, was described as “an altogether balanced, revealing and enjoyable study” by Kirkus Reviews. In search of a story idea in 1997, Scrabble amateur Fatsis challenged the head of the National Scrabble Association to a game and won. He has since traveled the country playing in Scrabble tournaments and achieved “expert” status, ranking in the top 10 percent of tournament Scrabble players nationwide.
Read more
Collapse
4.0
26 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jul 7, 2001
Read more
Collapse
Pages
384
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9780547524313
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Games & Activities / Board Games
Games & Activities / Word & Word Search
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
World Wrestling Entertainment fans think they know "The Heartbreak Kid." He's "The Showstopper" who pushes his high-flying abilities to the limit in the squared circle, on ladders, and in steel cages. He's the company's first "Grand Slam" champion. And of course, he's forever the guy who conspired with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to screw Bret "Hitman" Hart out of the WWE Championship in Montreal at Survivor Series on November 9, 1997.

But that's the side "HBK" has allowed you to see...until now. Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story introduces us to Michael Shawn Hickenbottom, the youngest of four children whose "really conservative upbringing" made him shy and "afraid that people wouldn't like me if I showed who I really was." But upon discovering Southwest Championship Wrestling (SWCW) on TV one Saturday night, the preteen Hickenbottom realized instantly what he wanted to become, and later would convince his father—a colonel in the U.S. Air Force—to let him pursue his dream.

From there, Hickenbottom fully recounts the events that led to "Shawn Michaels's" tutelage under Mexican wrestler Jose Lothario; working matches at Mid-South Wrestling under the guidance of Terry Taylor and the Rock 'n' Roll Express's Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton; flying high with Marty Jannetty as "The Midnight Rockers" in the American Wrestling Association (AWA); and how a barroom confrontation in Buffalo almost prevented the tandem from ever joining the World Wrestling Federation.

While reliving the crippling back injury that forced him to retire in his prime, Michaels credits the new loves in his life—his second wife Rebecca, his children, and his newfound faith—with giving him the strength to kick his habit, recover physically, and make a jubilant return to the ring at SummerSlam 2002. Now back on top and doing what he enjoys most, the WWE Superstar regards Heartbreak & Triumph as the perfect means "to review my life, and attempt to figure out how I became the person I am."
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.