Inside the unofficial Sharks book club: ‘It’s a good way to clear my mind’

James Reimer is a self-proclaimed bookworm and has been all his life.

It’s not something he spent much time talking about with his teammates during his 12-year NHL career, but when he came to San Jose to play for the Sharks, he quickly discovered that he was not alone.

“I grew up always reading. It’s been pretty rare (with other teams) to see a guy reading a novel,” Reimer said. “You might see someone reading an autobiography, something like that. I’ve hardly ever seen guys read real physical books. Then I came here and there’s a bunch of guys who do.

“It’s very strange.”

The Sharks have a sort of unofficial book club. Not in the traditional sense – they don’t read a book at the same time and discuss it, although Marc-Edouard Vlasic joked that Captain Logan Couture runs one and serves tea and pastries.

The “club” is mostly a handful of guys on the list who like to read books, either on the plane during road trips, at home, or both. When someone likes a book or an author, they recommend it to others.

The seam is in the center.

“I just share books with the guys on the team,” Couture said. “I’ve been a reading person all my life, and we have a lot of long trips so it’s something that helps pass the time.

“(Brent Burns) introduced me to a few authors, and I introduced him to a few authors. Martin Jones was reading when he was here, and he sat next to me on the plane. (Nick Bonino) is sitting next to me now (before he was traded) reading. Jaycob Megna was another guy we used to go back and forth with on the books… once a good show starts rolling, guys all go for it.

Reimer has a theory as to why the Sharks have more book readers, and it’s all about geography. He played in all but eight games in his first 10 seasons as an NHL goaltender playing in the Eastern Conference with Toronto, Florida and Carolina.

“I think it’s an Eastern Conference thing. All of your flights are about an hour long,” Reimer said. “You get on the bird, you watch a show and you land. Here you could be on the bird for five hours. Sure, there’s a lot of TV and movie content, but after a while, I think it might be more inclined for guys to read.

Two series in particular have been popular with the Sharks recently. Bonino said Couture introduced him to Mark Greaney, the writer of “The Gray Man” series. Reimer is working on the latest book in Jack Carr’s “The Terminal List” series, which Couture said he recently finished.

Couture said he also listens to Carr’s “Danger Close” podcast. Certain themes certainly emerged when players were asked about their favorite writers – some of the most famous names from the spy, mystery, and thriller genres were repeated responses. Authors like John Grisham, James Patterson and Lee Child.

“I also read at home. It’s a good way to avoid the cell phone,” Couture said. “I try to enter a chapter after I wake up. I’ll have a coffee, and sometimes I’ll sit outside and do it. It’s a good way to clear my mind, to focus on something other than the game the day before or something.

Reimer said he would often be in the middle of several books at once. He has just finished the second book in “The Gray Man” series, while working on Carr’s last.

“I’m a Christian, so I read the Bible, and a lot of other spiritual books as well,” Reimer said. “I find that it is sometimes difficult to want to read. I read a lot, but it is sometimes difficult. It’s definitely a commitment to pick up a book, but also a minute later you’re like, “I’m not letting this go.” “

Before Bonino was traded to Pittsburgh earlier this month, he and pitmate Nico Sturm had something in common beyond reading books on the plane. Sturm weaves his way through George RR Martin’s “Games of Thrones” universe this season. It goes in chronological order, not the order in which HBO has helped make Martin’s books a ubiquitous part of popular culture over the past decade.

It started with “Fire & Blood,” the book HBO’s “House of the Dragon” series is based on, before moving on to “The Hedge Knight” and other short stories set in Westeros before starting the journey through the “A Song of Fire”. of Ice” which inspired the historic HBO show.

“I read a lot of fantasy,” said Bonino, who noted that he had a book in his hands for every car ride in his childhood. “’Wheel of Time’ is one of my favorite series, but just about any epic fantasy, I’ve read them all. I’m just always on Goodreads looking for new series.

“Mostly fiction. A little non-fiction sometimes, but I like stories that aren’t real. I like to check a little. It’s all in your head. You have to invent everything. Movies are good, but books are always better because it’s what you imagine. I love a lot of movies and TV shows, but if I’m in the middle of a good book, I usually don’t want to wait to do it.

Vlasic is definitely not in the book club. He said the last book he read was recommended to him by former general manager Doug Wilson, but he couldn’t remember the name and couldn’t remember which book he finished before this one. there.

There are other typical activities for players on the team plane – watching TV shows or movies, playing cards, sleeping. Vlasic likes to do crosswords.

“I’m just active. I can’t sit still for that long,” Vlasic said. “I don’t know. I just can’t sit and read at home, because then I’m like, ‘I could do this, or I could do this.’”

Vlasic was one of several players who tweeted Bonino for his reading method. Everyone else in the informal book club brings a traditional hard copy with them on the plane, but Bonino prefers to use a Kindle.

“I don’t think I’ve fallen asleep in the past 10 years without reading before bed,” Bonino said. “Being able to lie on my side or on my back and I don’t have to use a reading light because my wife usually sleeps before me…and the books are really bulky sometimes.

“Who was talking about me?

The author informed him who had mentioned his reader.

“Marc doesn’t even read,” Bonino replied. “He just does crossword puzzles. And when I pass… he needs my help. I’ll just say that.

“You can tell those other guys that words are still words.”

(Photo: Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

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