Like basketball, only for little nerdy guys

Yeah, I’m talking about chess. Apologies if the headline misleads; I don’t actually mean that, but I figured the lame stereotype might get your attention. Anyway…

I’ve long believed shameless self-promotion is OK as long as you’re not actually promoting yourself… if that makes any sense. In this case, I’m bigging up my man Mike Weinreb, a long-time SLAM contributor and author (or co-author) of some books you’ve probably never heard of. (And yes, that last one qualifies as chick-lit, for which you should feel free to mock him. All of his friends do.)

Well, Mike’s got a new book out. It’s called The Kings of New York, and it’s about chess, and despite that fact, it doesn’t suck, as early reviews make clear. Admittedly, I’m drawing your attention to him because we’re good friends — dude was in my wedding, an experience best remembered for how he puked up all the free booze he drank — but no matter how well I know him, I wouldn’t be telling you about his book if I thought it sucked. And again, just to be clear: It doesn’t suck. It’s actually really really good, whether you’re a chess fanatic or, like me, know nothing about the sport and care even less. Doesn’t matter. It’s a great story, and if you don’t buy like three copies, Mike will sleep with your mom.

What does this have to do with hoops? Ok, so I’m reaching, but check the book jacket quotes: Notice that Kriegel, Wertheim and Wojnarowski are all respected authors of well-received basketball books, and that they compare Mike’s joint to Season on the Brink and The Last Shot, which are pretty much classics of hoop lit. And then there’s Sam’s favorite unironically ironic hipster writer guy, Chuck Klosterman, who calls Kings of New York “the Friday Night Lights of high school chess,” which is not to imply that NBC will make a TV show out of it, but is otherwise pretty on-point.

If nothing else, it’s definitely better than my book… which, coincidentally, I believe you can still buy.

But since, unlike Mike, I’ve actually got a full-time job with benefits and stuff, buy his instead. You can get it here, here or, if you’re down with supporting one of New York’s better (and snootier) indie book shops, here. Thank you.