Jake's Reviews > On Boxing

On Boxing by Joyce Carol Oates
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's review
Feb 28, 10

bookshelves: boxing, sports
Read in February, 2010

If it seems to you that my reading of this book is slightly random, you're only partially right.

I know very little about Joyce Carol Oates as an author. Truth be told, I never really bothered to learn much about her or her writing. Not for any good reason, mind you. She just struck me as a writer of the sort of fiction that is no doubt well written, but does not necessarily capture my interest. I have a peculiar bias against bestsellers which has occasionally steered me past some good writing, and occasionally, saved me from utter drek.

But I love boxing. I really do. I think it's a fascinating, exciting, and amazing sport. MMA is the current combat sport de jour, and I enjoy it, but there is something I find just as enjoyable about a good boxing match. Ms. Oates apparently enjoys boxing too.

On Boxing is a collection of essays in which Oates explores her fascination with the sport of boxing, something apparently inherited from her father. It's a very interesting book, and in some cases, a very insightful one. Although Oates has never set foot in a boxing ring, she's clearly observed enough of the sport to have a very strong sense of it.

As boxing books go, this is definitely a more intellectual look at the sport; there is little technical material in here, and some of Oates deeper philosophical thoughts may come across as overblown to some readers. Personally, I think Oates gets a lot of things right, and offers some really fascinating insights into the sport. Honestly, the population I'd be most likely to recommend it to would be my many intellectual friends who have trouble understanding my own enjoyment of combat sport. The more intellectual combat athlete will probably enjoy this one too. Good stuff.
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