Running the Table by L. Jon Wertheim

October 10th, 2008 at 6:04 am

Following the death of Paul Newman, potentially anti-American controversy surrounding the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the eventual prize going to a Frenchman, it’s time for aspiring American writers to turn their focus to pool hustling.

Running the Table by L. Jon Wertheim

I don’t know why you’d pick up Running the Table by L. Jon Wertheim unless you’re a pool aficionado such as myself.

Which is too bad because the world of pool is a fascinating one. More of a cultish hobby than a sport sadly; pool is as intriguing as any other subculture, colored with its own lingo, characters, and history, so Running the Table has a lot to offer. It is the tale of Danny Basavich, aka “Kid Delicious,” a modern day pool hustler.

Running the Table provides a stirring adventure packed with, of course pool hustling and tales of outrageous gambling, but also a struggle with obesity, mental illness, and drug addiction. There are anecdotes of extreme bets and filthy pool halls. Money won and money lost. Partnerships born and friendships decayed. It is a road story, a buddy story, a pool story, and a sports story. It’s a story equal parts Rabelais and Odyssey.

And I really freaking enjoyed it.

Pool is notoriously full of colorful characters and Running the Table doesn’t disappoint. But Wertheim doesn’t just simply recount Basavich’s singular quest with all its exploits and escapades, he places it in context, sharing the sport’s history and present relevance (or lack of). The defeat, the accomplishment, the heroes, the villains, the close calls, the subplots, the suspense; Wertheim, a writer for Sports Illustrated and a very capable storyteller, packs it all in.

As an aspiring writer myself, join me in giving the finger to the Swedish Academy and instead honing our breaks, cuts, banks, kicks, draws, caroms, and combos.

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One Response to “Running the Table by L. Jon Wertheim”

  1. Thank you very much for that magnificent article

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