THE WASHINGTON POST – Oprah, Reese, Jenna and . . . Steph? As in Curry? Why yes, the NBA star has become the latest literary tastemaker, with a new book club called Underrated.
Working with the online platform Literati, the club focusses on, aptly, “underrated authors and stories”.
For USD20 a month, members get an exclusive edition of a hardcover book and access to online discussion groups moderated by Curry or, if they prefer, other less athletic celebrities, including Malala Yousafzai, Joseph Campbell and Richard Branson.
Curry’s first pick was The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates. For November, he’s chosen A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team, by Arshay Cooper. (A documentary that accompanies the book was produced by fellow basetball stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade and music producer 9th Wonder.)
Since stepping off the court in March, Curry has begun, it seems, rebranding himself: The 32-year-old point guard appeared with his family at the Democratic National Convention and this month launched a YouTube interview series with the likes of Bill Gates and Anthony S Fauci to discuss, not the three-point shot, but the importance of voting and how to stop the pandemic.
Will he be running for office next? By email, he didn’t say, but he did talk about his earliest memories of reading, what family downtime looks like at his house and his favorite books, which perhaps not surprisingly aren’t about basketball.
Q: Why did you call your club Underrated?
A: It’s just a mentality I’ve had since high school. I was overlooked and under-recruited.
Underrated is a mindset that I carry with me because even if you have some success, it’s part of the journey that led you to that place.
I started the Underrated Tour two years ago, and this book club is another opportunity to bring that mind-set to life by picking books about protagonists that have overcome adversity or authors who are underrated in their own right and really just need an opportunity to break through.
Q: Have you ever been in a book club?
A: No, I’ve never been in a book club before. Growing up, we went to school book fairs, the library, and it was kind of a consistent thing, but I never signed up for a book club and stuck with it. So now, to be on the other side and create one, being a participant myself and trying to stay up to date on the reading, is pretty fun for me.
Q: Besides the books you’ve selected, what books have meant the most to you – either as a child or as an adult?
A: I was a huge Dan Brown fan. I’ve read literally every single one of his books, The Da Vinci Code, Deception Point, Digital Fortress, Angels and Demons.
Brown was a huge influence. And now, anything from Malcolm Gladwell. Between Dan Brown and Malcolm Gladwell, those are probably the two authors that have meant the most to me so far.
Q: Does your family like to read together, and if so, what books are some favourites?
A: Our family is starting to develop our own kind of consistent reading habits and doing it together. Before we had kids, my wife and I could find time at the end of the day to read while we were in bed, winding down from the day. Now, as our kids have gotten to the reading age, we have found ourselves reading with them.
With Riley, our eight-year-old daughter, a lot of our reading time is listening to her read to us and to her siblings.
That has really bred a new joy around reading together. Every family has their own kind of routines and patterns that they can develop. For Ayesha and me, it’s important to instill that joy of reading in our kids. The books and genres can be all over the place, but as long as the kids are having fun doing it, spending time with their parents and in a cool way, that means a lot.
Q: What is your favourite book about basketball?
A: The Sixth Man, by Andre Iguodala.
Q: What books do you remember liking (or not liking) as a kid?
A: Growing up, I always loved the “choose your own adventure” books. I would read those three or four times each. For some reason, I was never really interested in the books that we were assigned in class; maybe it was because they were assigned to me! But looking back, I now understand that they’re all chosen for a reason. Even though I did read them, I started off on the wrong foot. So, I would advise kids not to have that attitude.
Q: Former QB Andrew Luck, I believe, is the only other sports figure to have started a book club. Do you think you have started a trend?
A: I hope this will start a wave in terms of athletes expanding out and being thoughtful with books.
There’s also another guy named Ekpe Udoh; he was a former teammate of mine and also started one on social media. With his club, they would discuss books of his choice.
I wouldn’t say I’m starting this trend, but I think I’m trying to approach it in a unique way that allows people to really engage and have thoughtful takeaways from each book I choose.