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Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins: Ping-Pong and the Art of Staying Alive Paperback – September 20, 2002


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Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins: Ping-Pong and the Art of Staying Alive + Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers + Table Tennis: Steps to Success
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this series of essays, noted prose stylist Charyn (Blue Eyes) examines the game of Ping-Pong. Charyn provides an introduction to the history of the game, depicts its major players ("pongistes") from this century (e.g., Henry Miller), reviews playing styles and techniques, and details the evolution of the game's equipment. He laments the passing of Ping-Pong emporiums from the streets of New York, which he sees as a major factor in the decline in world-class players from the United States in recent years. The writing style is deeply personal as the author, a member of the U.S. Metro Ping-Pong team in Paris, strives to explain the mystique table tennis holds for him and his fellow enthusiasts. For most readers, however, his efforts may be unsuccessful. Ultimately, this is the epitome of a niche publication: it is of potential interest to a small, dedicated population only. For large sports collections. John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (September 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568582420
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568582429
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,898,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jerome Charyn, master of lyrical farce and literary ventriloquism, published his first novel in 1964. He's the author of Johnny One-Eye, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, I Am Abraham, and dozens of other acclaimed novels as well as nonfiction works. His short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, American Scholar, Epoch, Narrative and Ellery Queen.

Charyn's popular crime novels, featuring homicide detective Isaac Sidel, inspired a new animated drama series. Hard Apple debuts on the small screen early next year.

Next up for Bronx-born Charyn is Bitter Bronx, bringing to life the pre- and post-Robert Moses world of New York's northernmost borough in thirteen bittersweet stories. (June, 2015 from Liveright/Norton)

He lives in New York and Paris.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By SK on June 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I checked this book out expecting it to be an instructional book of table tennis. Nevertheless, I proceeded to read beyond the first few pages of the book and was enveloped in a different side of table tennis that I have never looked into before.
For a person who would like an instructional book, "Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins," is not going to be the right book for you, but if you would like to read a book filled with witty anecdotes and info about the greatest players of all times (e.g. Dick Miles, Marty Reisman...etc) then this book should not be overlooked.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ron G. on December 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Delving into this book is like opening the lid of a treasure chest. It's filled with gems of information about a forgotten era when ping-pong was in its heyday in the borough of Manhattan--at a spot called Lawrence's Broadway Courts. There played the biggest names in table tennis from around the world and produced such U.S. champions as Marty Reisman and Dick Miles.
But the best part of the book is the delightful writing of Jerome Charyn. His sentences are so interesting and evocative that I couldn't stop reading it once I began. You actually look forward to picking up where you left off. If you've ever picked up a paddle and found yourself hooked, or if you are any kind of paddle or raquet sport enthusiast, this book is a must buy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We play a unique amateurish Love Ping Pong style--we switch hands, playing both right and left or two paddle--American and Chinese grips. None of the tech stuff.. but we have great concentration, skill and are going on 160 years jointly.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Neidorff on January 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Jerome Charyn is a good writer and also a table tennis lover. He writes about the sport with many colorful analogies and clever expressions, sometimes using French without translating it. For me, it got a bit tiring, but it could be enjoyable if you like his creative writing style.

Much of the book is rehashing of the stuff in Marty Reisman's "The Money Player" and Tim Boggan's books. But Jerome also interviewed many people for the book and adds new perspectives to some well known figures in the sport from these interviews.

I noticed an occasional mistake in the book, but not many. It is mostly well researched.
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16 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Armel Peel on May 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
THIS BOOK DOES NOT TEACH ANY PING PONG PLAYING SKILLS. Do not buy this book if you want to know HOW to do Sizzling Chops and Devilish Spins.
This book only talks about older famous people who used to play ping pong. This book is not instructional AT ALL. I almost bought this POS thinking it would help me with my loops/counter loops and forehand chops, but luckily I looked inside it before I went to the register or I would have been really[mad]...
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