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What: "TEN ON SUNDAY: The Secret Life of Men."

Author: Alan Eisenstock.

Publisher: Atria Books.

Price: $24.

Alan Eisenstock once wrote for the popular 1970s comedies "Sanford and Son" and "Good Times." Reaching the heights of the entertainment industry, however, was never the dream of this longtime Los Angeles resident.

Since childhood, Eisenstock, author of "TEN ON SUNDAY: The Secret Life of Men," has yearned to live in a house with a driveway large enough to play three-on-three basketball games.

Eisenstock realized his dream in 1992, when he moved his wife and children from Hancock Park to a larger, pricier home in Santa Monica, mainly because he fell in love with its spacious driveway. After installing a hoop, Eisenstock called his neighbors and friends, and the games were on.

For nearly a decade, the pickup games, held each Sunday afternoon and always christened with a bag of fresh bagels, served as a refuge for the players from the tempests of everyday problems -- from difficulties at work to failing marriages.

The games inspired this book, which can't be judged by its title. Although it appears to be geared for middle-age males, everyone should find some sentiment throughout its 248 pages. Whether it's in Eisenstock's engaging writing, or his impassioned view of the games, which he describes as "a fascinating look at relationships between men and the unique ways in which they express themselves to each other."

The hardcover book concludes with a surprising twist, one that drills home what Eisenstock feels the weekly games are really about. Here's a hint: They're not about basketball.

-- Steve Rom

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