I’ll start with a bit of unbridled truth: I really wanted to like Mark Craig’s book, 100 Things Vikings Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die (Triumph Books, available October 1, 2016). For one, I’ve admired Craig’s work with the Star Tribune for years, and consider him a gifted writer and one of the more astute NFL minds in the market. Me criticizing him on sports writing would be like Ashlee Simpson giving Beyonce voice lessons. Two, as someone who has written a few books myself—and gotten my share of…um…mixed reviews—the last thing I want to do is drop the hammer on another author. Nothing changes the way you look at criticism quite as much as being on the receiving end.
So when I accepted the offer to review 100 Things, it was with mixed emotions. On one hand, I was excited to read Mark Craig’s first endeavor into book-length Vikings journalism. On the other, I was scared it wouldn’t be that good. That would make things complicated, and awkward.
I promised myself before I dove in, when I was done with the book, I’d write an honest review no matter what. I’d give my thoughts and overall impression as an admittedly half-baked reviewer, but one who tells the truth, because I cannot think of many things less interesting than reading a biased or otherwise insincere review. I’ve read my share of thinly veiled press releases, and I had no interest in spending time writing one.