What’s going on you ask? You’re watching morning TV and the newsreader is reporting on the weather in Perth from a London bus. Uncle Toby’s ads are on every 16 seconds. The local paper is selling boxing kangaroo badges and Laurie Lawrence is doing a speaking tour. Yes Booktopians, the Olympics are nearly upon us.
A show of global unity for some, national disunity for others, the Olympics are an insight into the uncompromising dreams of over 10,000 people, each one yearning for their own chance at immortality.
Here are five of my favourite books to get you into the spirit and accompany you on your journey from qualification to Olympic Gold.
A sensational book for the enthusiast and the amateur alike, Olympic Gold is a beautifully set out book detailing Australia’s 74 individual Olympic gold medallists.
From Edwin Flack to Lydia Lassila, filled with quotes and events details along with wonderful writing giving each athlete their appropriate dues, Olympic Gold is a great place to start when examining the incredible success Australia has had in Olympic competition, much to the disbelief of so many larger, more populous nations.
Once you’ve got a feel for the majesty of the Australian Olympic tilt throughout the years, revel in this incredible collection of stories, statistics, rules and results for every event in the London Olympics.
It also contains the top eight finishers in every Summer Olympic events since 1896. This book is just amazing. And at over 1300 pages, Booktopia’s flat rate of $6.50 postage per order (not per book, as some people think) looks pretty appetizing for a mountain of a book, hey folks?
An absolute must for London 2012.
Let’s face it. New Idea, OK Magazine and the like run off the shelves for a reason. We love gossip. And there’s no more unknown world than the Athlete’s village.
The Secret Olympian brings in the sordid tales from the village from many of the world’s greatest athletes, anonymously of course which only illustrates the gravity of the stories within these pages. Tales of sex, drugs, boozing and, well there’s a lot of sex people. It’s like Fifty Shades of Grey but with six packs instead of whipped backs.
A great read you won’t be able to put down.
Every Olympics even the most apathetic spectator will turn their head for one event. The 100m sprint. As if harking back to more primal, tribal days, the 100m sprint is a measure of physical excellence few disciplines can match.
Think about it, what would you risk to be named the fastest human being on the planet, perhaps even in the history of the human race? Ben Johnson asked himself that question in the summer of 1988, and the world of athletics changed forever.
The Dirtiest Race in History is a fantastic read and a must for anyone who ponders where the line of ethics and morality in sport, as in life, begins and ends. A study of history and sport like few others.
There are two certainties during an Olympics.
One, Bruce McAvaney will call at least 128 different athletes ‘special’.
Two, watching those human gazelles roar across the track will have you thinking about dusting off your Dunlop Volleys and hitting the local pavement.
Whether you’re a Murakami fan or not (I am) or whether you’re a runner or not (I try my best not to be), What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a great book about the famous writer falling in love with running and the joy it brings. Part training diary, part essay collection, part memoir, Murakami’s passion radiates from every page and his writing is as perceptive and witty as ever.
And there it is, five books to put you on track for Olympic glory. Enjoy, and let’s bring on London.
Editor: Ahem… Andrew, you forgot one.
by Chris Cleave
I am reading this at the moment and so far it is ace.
Blurb: The extraordinary new novel from the author of international bestseller THE OTHER HAND.
Usually, this is where we’d tell you what this book is about.
But with Chris Cleave, it’s a bit different.
Because if you’ve read THE OTHER HAND or INCENDIARY, you’ll know that what his books are about is only part of the story – what really matters is how they make you feel.
GOLD is about the limits of human endurance, both physical and emotional.
It will make you cry.
GOLD is about what drives us to succeed – and what we choose to sacrifice for success.
It will make you feel glad to be alive.
GOLD is about the struggles we all face every day; the conflict between winning on others’ terms, and triumphing on your own.
It will make you count your blessings.
GOLD is a story told as only Chris Cleave could tell it. And once you begin, it will be a heart-pounding race to the finish.
In the end, if all else fails, you can just Buy Gold
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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