Add New England Patriots 23-year-old rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell to the list of noted NFL book lovers, something he has turned into a second career, and he can thank a chance encounter in a book store.
In a fun story in the Boston Globe back in May, Mitchell revealed that when he was a junior at the University of Georgia, he decided to join a suburban, all-women’s book club after a serendipitous meeting with one of the members in the stacks of a Barnes & Noble.
“I was there picking up ‘Me Before You,’ the next book for the club,” Silverleaf Book Club member Kathy Rackley told the Globe. “Malcolm walked up to me and said: ‘Can I ask you something? Can you recommend a book?'”
Rackley had no idea that Mitchell was a star receiver on the Georgia Bulldogs, but the two got to chatting. When Rackley revealed that she was in a book club, Mitchell asked if he could join and the two exchanged contact information.
Later that day, Rackley learned from her neighbour who Mitchell was. And when she floated the idea to the other members of her club, they let another member make the final decision if he could join — the member who was hosting.
Two days later, Mitchell showed up to the meeting.
“I didn’t mind at all,” Bronson recalled. “Because I didn’t think there was any way he’d show up!”
But he did. And despite not having enough time to finish the book (the meeting was just two days later), Mitchell impressed the group with his thoughts and opinions — and his own life experiences.
“He told us his story, and we all just fell in love,” Bronson said. “He really opened his heart and soul to us.”
Mitchell continued to participate in the club, and became a real book lover. According to the Globe, he was often found reading at his football locker, and when it was his turn to recommend a book he made his new friends read Marcus Luttrell’s “Lone Survivor.”
“The book club helped me grow into a better individual, a person who learns and grows throughout life in general,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s current lifestyle has made it difficult for him to regularly attend the club. But he remains an avid reader, and recently published a children’s book, “The Magician’s Hat”, about the magical powers of reading. He started a foundation, too, called Read With Malcolm, which encourages childhood literacy.
And just as Mitchell learned about the magic of reading the book club, the other members of the book club also learned the magic of football from Mitchell. Unsurprisingly, they’re now diehard Pat fans.
“We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do with a quarterback that can really throw,” one member, Cindy Cole, said early in the season, throwing some serious shade at Jimmy Garoppolo during Tom Brady’s suspension. “He hasn’t really had that.”
Cindy, of course, was right. Mitchell has quickly become one of Brady’s favourite targets, and has three touchdowns over the team’s last three games.
As Mitchell has become more successful, he’s had offers to join more high-profile book clubs — including one led by Reese Witherspoon. But Mitchell is loyal to the gals of the Silverleaf Book Club, and anyway, they’re possessive over their own.
When it was suggested during the latest Silverleaf meeting that maybe he would take the actress up on the invite, Rackley had a rather strong reaction.
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