Doug Merlino

As an eighth-grader in the ’80s, Doug Merlino and a handful of other boys at Lakeside Middle School joined an integrated basketball squad with Central Area kids, coached by an African-American and organized by a wealthy, well-meaning Lakeside parent. As recounted in The Hustle: One Team and Ten Lives in Black and White (Bloomsbury, $26), Merlino left Lakeside (and basketball) after ninth grade and lost touch with teammates both black and white. Then, in a shock that would later cause him to start researching the book, Merlino read in 1991 that ex-teammate Tyrell Johnson had been murdered and dismembered near Rainier Beach. Part of The Hustle investigates that crime, but Merlino’s focus is on what became of his former teammates. Today, the black players grown into parents must struggle with what Merlino calls “a choice between racial solidarity and the potential for class mobility.” (Also: Eagle Harbor Books, 7:30 p.m. Thurs., Jan 6 and Third Place Books, 6:30 p.m. Fri., Jan. 7.) BRIAN MILLER

Wed., Jan. 5, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 6, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 7, 6:30 p.m., 2011