John Casey, "Room for Improvement: Notes on a Dozen Lifelong Sports." Knopf.
December 1, 2011 — John Casey, the 72-year-old author and English professor in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, has a new book out, but it's truth rather than fiction. Based on his relationship with athletics and fitness – from running to rowing to wilderness survival – "Room for Improvement: Notes on a Dozen Lifelong Sports," comprises essays that describe Casey's adventures over about 50 years.
Author Thomas McGuane said, "'Room for Improvement' is a marvel of closely observed mostly outdoor sport, much of it alarmingly strenuous, but colored throughout by infectious exuberance and tolerance for discomfort. With genteel detachment well to the rear, Casey brings us point blank to the levels of sporting commitment that rise to illumination."
Born in 1939 in Worcester, Mass., and educated at Harvard University and the Iowa Writers Workshop, Casey joined the U.Va. faculty in 1972. His novel "Spartina" won the National Book Award in 1989, and the sequel, "Compass Rose," was published last year. A collection of short stories, which take place in the same coastal Rhode Island community featured in the novels, will be released next year.