April 8, 2009

Let's Talk Hockey by Phil Schlenker

Sometimes I like to leave a book or two on my coffee table in hopes that a buddy will thumb through it and start up conversation about the great game. I have found a perfect title to accomplish just that as the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs begin.

New author Phil Schlenker sent me his first book Let's Talk Hockey: 50 Wonderful Debates today. It is one of the earliest releases of 2009!

Buy The Book: Amazon.ca - Amazon.com

Schlenker weighs in on 50 of hockey's hottest topics. Gretzky vs. Lemieux. Fighting or no fighting. The greatest goalies, the best trades and the best players not in the Hall of Fame. So on and so forth.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by text. It was a fun page turner written by an obviously passionate and knowledgeable hockey fan.

My concern was Schlenker's book comes on the heels of a similar book by Bob McCown. McCown is a very popular and well spoken radio show host in Toronto and syndicated across Canada. I knew who he was, and I knew his credentials. I had never heard of Mr. Schlenker in my life. So why would I want to read his thoughts on his chosen hockey topics?

I know you are thinking the same thing. But do not worry, because my concerns were quickly forgotten about. As I said earlier, Schlenker's zest for the game is obvious from the first few pages. This assured me as a reader that the author really does know what he's talking about.

Once that essential relationship was established early I was able to enjoy this book. It was fun to flip through and pick and choose various debates. The more I read the more I wanted to read, and before long I had finished the book.

I agreed with some of the author's concise stances, disagreed with others. Most important of all, I found myself doing exactly what Schlenker promised in his introduction when he said "This book will make you think."

Often the author provides background information on both sides of the chosen debate. This was a welcome change, although it contributed to an at-times long winded feeling with the book coming in at a heavy 324 pages. Still, it was nice to see the reader being provided with both sides of the story, and not just being preached at with the one-sided, narrow viewpoint as is so often the case in our world today. This allowed a reader who may not have been familiar with the debate a chance to make up their own mind.

Ultimately it does not matter whether it is Phil Schlenker, Bob McCown or Wayne Gretzky weighing in on these debates. That is because if there is one thing hockey fans like to do more than watch the NHL it is to talk about it. Everyone has an opinion. And as long as everyone continues to do so, there is always room for books like this.

Schlenker used the iUniverse print-on demand self publishing service to create the book. The book looks very professional, although the choice of font is not the most friendly on the eyes. There are no pictures or illustrations to break up the text.

Bottom line: This is a very solid first offering from Phil Schlenker. If you enjoy reading my work over at GreatestHockeyLegends.com, I am confident in saying you will like the new book Let's Talk Hockey! It is a fun read.


Anonymous,  April 20, 2009 at 10:21 PM  

I would agree with your assesment of the book. I learned a lot about the sport and enjoyed reading tidbits about hockey that I had not really known too much about. I'm not a huge dedicated fan but it was nice to have a more "in-depth" coverage of some of the highlites and low-lites. Great read!

Anonymous,  December 11, 2009 at 3:33 PM  

Joe, do you know this author? The reason why is because all I see about him if I Google him is a couple of Youtube videos and obviously his name tagged to everything related to his book.

But his name is unknown at least to me. Has he been on Off the Record or anything like that? Or some kind of talk show?

I bought the book and it was fascinating, great read made me feel like I was in an actual conversation. Anyways I just liked the author's insight, it was different, just thought you might have known Phil Schlenker personally

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