Reading more than playbook

October 17, 2007|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,Sun reporter

When it comes to reading, there's no mystery about the Ravens' favorite author.

James Patterson is the novelist of choice among Ravens players, according to an informal survey taken the past two weeks.

Offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, kicker Matt Stover, punter Sam Koch, fullback Le'Ron McClain and long snapper Matt Katula are voracious readers of everything written by Patterson.

Patterson has sold an estimated 130 million copies and is perhaps best known for his Alex Cross series, which was brought to the big screen with Morgan Freeman's portrayal of the forensic psychologist in Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls.

"I've read all of the Patterson books," Ogden said. "You know what I like? I did read this last year, but Cross was good. I like the way he [Patterson] writes. It's not a hard read. Sometimes people write stuff so that you have to read slowly. But his writing flows. It's a quick read, but it's an interesting read."

McClain said he was so enthralled with The Beach House, a collaborative effort between Patterson and Peter De Jonge, that it took him three days to read the 384-page book.

"It just keeps you on the edge of your seat," said McClain, who began reading the book on the flight back from the Sept. 10 season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. "You just want to keep reading and keep reading. You keep saying to yourself, `I'm going to put it down after this chapter,' but you keep reading."

Koch said he was turned on to Patterson's books by Stover.

"I think it's the suspense from the beginning to the end," said Koch, who recently finished Beach Road. "I think it took me a week [to finish], considering that I just read little bits and pieces before I went to bed and on plane trips. But I think I could finish it in a good two or three days if I had the time."

Though Patterson might be the favorite author, he is not the only writer Ravens players follow. Wide receiver Derrick Mason is reading Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, the last in the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, and wide receiver Demetrius Williams finished reading Dutch, a fictionalized account of a gangster's life in Newark, N.J., that is part of a trilogy by Teri Woods and Bernard James.

Some books came recommended. Linebacker Jarret Johnson recently completed A Land Remembered, a novel by Patrick D. Smith that documents one family's determination to build a kingdom in present-day Gainesville, Fla.

"I think my whole family has read it," said Johnson, who was born and raised in Florida. "I finished it in about a month."

Former Ravens linebackers coach and current Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio sent his players The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. Linebacker Nick Greisen got one.

"I started reading it after I got cut from the Jaguars [on Sept. 1]," Greisen said, smiling at the irony. "It just teaches you how you can get up in the morning and say, `I'm going look at my day as this' and throw all the negative thoughts out."

Others are spur-of-the-moment purchases. Linebacker Terrell Suggs picked up Lies My Teacher Taught Me by James W. Loewen after seeing it in a bookstore.

"It's basically about the truth of our American history and the role black people took in it," he said. "I was looking at magazines, and I just happened to browse. It was a catchy title. So I just picked it up, looked at it, and started reading it."

With many players professing their religious faith, Christian-themed literature is a favorite, too. Among the books being read are The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? (guard Ben Grubbs), Disciplines of a Godly Man (fullback Justin Green) and Six Battles Every Man Must Win (wide receiver Devard Darling).

But there is one book that trumps them all, cornerback Ronnie Prude said as he rushed to a team meeting.

He said: "A good one that everybody should read is the Bible."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

Ravens recommendations

Justin Bannan Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich by James J. Cramer and Cliff Mason

Devard Darling Six Battles Every Man Must Win: ... and the Ancient Secrets You'll Need to Succeed by Bill Perkins

Justin Green Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes

Nick Greisen The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon

Ben Grubbs The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren

Jarret Johnson A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith

Edgar Jones Earl Nightingale's Greatest Discovery: Six Words that Changed the Author's Life Can Ensure Success to Anyone Who Uses Them by Earl Nightingale

Matt Katula You've Been Warned by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Sam Koch Beach Road by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Derrick Mason Kingdom Come: The Final Victory by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye

Le'Ron McClain The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

Jonathan Ogden Cross by James Patterson

Ronnie Prude The Bible

Terrell Suggs Lies My Teacher Taught Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen

Demetrius Williams Dutch by Teri Woods and Bernard James

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