Cue Leo Arnaud’s Bugler’s Dream, gather your leftover Fourth of July flags, and get ready to luxuriate in weeks of sporting glory. The Olympics promises a great cycling road race, swimming showdowns, track races not to be missed, and an endless number of other events sure to get you cheering. To augment your viewing bonanza, consider a book to read alongside all the activity.
The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou (NeWest Pr.). This year many watched Dara Torres fail to make her sixth Olympics. In the spirit of that effort stands Abdou’s detailed and fast-paced novel exploring the physical cost of training and the promise, or looming end, of long hoped for dreams.
Gold by Chris Cleave (S & S). With the Tour de France just ended, and a lot of simmering aggression on hold for London, the bike race events are sure to be knockouts. Pair them with Cleave’s visceral account of two women cyclists vying for the one open spot on the 2012 British team.
Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush by David Davis (Thomas Dunne). The 1908 Summer Games also were held in London, and as Davis points out, proved to be critical in Olympic history. Centering on what turned out to be a controversial marathon race, Davis argues that the 1908 Games forever changed how we view sports.
Rome 1960 by David Maraniss (S & S). Offering a sweeping account of the social and political threads pulsing underneath the 1960 Summer Games, Maraniss offers readers a suspenseful and narrative history of one of the 20th century’s most pivotal Olympics.
Igniting the Flame by Jim Reisler (Lyons Pr.) The first modern Summer Olympics were held in 1896; 1500 years after the last games were played. Reisler follows the U.S. team to Athens where they won 11 events and created the American fascination with the Games. The accompanying photos are not to be missed.