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Find more Top 10 Sports Books
This year’s sports top 10 turns a blind eye on major sports, focusing instead on less-heralded athletic and recreational endeavors, from bowling to the circus to Monopoly. (Well, there is one basketball book, but it’s about a really bad team.) The titles selected were reviewed in Booklist from September 1, 2014, through August 2015.
Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX. By Ginny Gilder. 2015. Beacon, $26.95 (9780807074770).
Gilder’s compelling memoir not only describes her success as a collegiate and Olympic rower but also movingly chronicles her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality.
The Fall Line: How American Ski Racers Conquered a Sport on the Edge. By Nathaniel Vinton. 2015. Norton, $26.95 (9780393244779).
Set against the backdrop of Vancouver’s spectacular mountains, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, veteran sports reporter Vinton’s account combines history, biography, corporate politics, and environmental issues in this eye-opening narrative detailing the past and present of Alpine ski racing.
Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible Tour of Italy. By Tim Moore. 2015. Pegasus, $27.95 (9781605987781).
Moore’s patented combination of humor and travelogue is thoroughly engaging as he challenges himself to ride the route of the 1914 Giro d’ Italia, a grueling 3,000-kilometer race that many consider the most harrowing contest in cycling history.
Love in the Elephant Tent: How Running Away with the Circus Brought Me Home. By Kathleen Cremonesi. 2015. ECW, $25.95 (9781770412521).
Cremonesi’s memoir will captivate readers as she embarks on this unexpected adventure. But there is also much here to think about as she reveals the sobering reality of circus life: the mistreatment of animals and workers.
The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal behind America’s Favorite Board Game. By Mary Pilon. 2015. Bloomsbury, $27 (9781608199631).
The strange and complicated history of one of America’s favorite board games gets a serious yet engaging treatment in a book that is part parable on the perils facing inventors, part legal odyssey, and part detective story. You’ll never look at spry Mr. Monopoly in the same way again.
Motorcycles I’ve Loved. By Lily Brooks-Dalton. 2015. Riverhead, $27.95 (9781594633218).
Alternating glimpses of her personal evolution with meditations on physics, Brooks-Dalton movingly describes her self-discovery through motorcycles and the independence and courage they awaken in her.
The Naked Mountaineer: Misadventures of an Alpine Traveler. By Steve Sieberson. 2014. Univ. of Nebraska, paper, $19.95 (9780803248703).
In this absorbing, often humorous memoir, Sieberson, a lawyer and academic by vocation, climber by avocation, conveys the sense of wonder, enthusiasm, and just plain love he has for his sport.
Perfectly Awful: The Philadelphia 76ers’ Horrendous and Hilarious 1972–1973 Season. By Charley Rosen. 2014. Univ. of Nebraska, $24.95 (9780803248625).
In the pantheon of bad sports teams the ’72–’73 Philadelphia 76ers are right up there with 1962 New York Mets. In this tale of laughable woe, Rosen nails the fractured team dynamic and reminds readers that for every winner, there’s a loser.
Pin Action: Small-Time Gangsters, High-Stakes Gambling, and the Teenage Hustler Who Became a Bowling Champion. By Gianmarc Manzione. 2014. Pegasus, $27.95 (9781605986456).
Manzione takes readers back to NYC from the 1950s through the 1970s, when action bowling (think pool hustling, with pins) reigned, and a talented teen with an eye for his marks could catch the eye of the Mob.
The Road Headed West: A 6,000-Mile Cycling Odyssey through North America. By Leon McCarron. 2015. illus. Skyhorse, $24.99 (9781632206442).
McCarron, a recent college grad trying to stave off the respectable life, comes from Ireland to bike ride across the U.S. in search of the average American. This genially told tale recounts life on a bicycle, taking a journey on the open road with an open heart.
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