The best sports books of 2014
Christmas is coming so what better gift for your sports mad nearest and dearest than a top sports book?
This year I really enjoyed reading The Climb by Chris Froome, winner of the 100th Tour De France, and Running My Life by Seb Coe, one of my all-time sporting heroes. But which other 2014 sports books deserve a yellow jersey or Olympic gold medal? Here are my recommendations but please do send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org
Among our local sports fraternity Finding My Feet by Claire Lomas is a must-read for her inspirational account of completing the London Marathon in a bionic suit, while the book I’m most looking forward to reading is The Outsider by Jimmy Connors, a favourite with the critics at the British Sports Book Awards 2014. Like Coe, Connors was part of my sporting childhood and I loved his tenacity and brashness in equal measure.
In athletics/running Swim Bike Run by Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and Can’t Sleep, Can’t Train, Can’t Stop by Andy Holgate really stand out. The down-to-earth Brownlees take us inside their world and you learn much about their race-as-you-train mentality, their sibling rivalry and how they both became world champions and London 2012 Olympic heroes. Can’t Sleep recounts new dad Holgate’s attempt to complete two Ironman triathlons just six weeks apart. No wonder then that this book is subtitled More Misadventures in Triathlon.
In cricket KP: The Autobiography by Kevin Pietersen could be an explosive read given ‘textgate’ and what happened on the last Ashes tour, but if you’ve had your fill from the inevitable newspaper extracts then The Great Tamasha by James Astill about the Indian Premier League may be the more interesting book. Mix politics, business, Bollywood and the national obsession that is cricket and you get a pretty intoxicating cocktail.
The Nowhere Men by Michael Calvin would be a good call for the footie fan in your house, telling as it does the story of the scout, that army of faceless, nameless men who spend long, lonely hours on the road and on the touchline hoping to discover the next Jack Wilshere or Ross Barkley. For something lighter check out Dirty Northern B*st*rds and Other Tales From The Terraces by Tim Marshall for the story of Britain’s football chants or Match of the Day: 50 Years of Football which doesn’t really require an introduction.
Fans of cycling will be moved by Land of Second Chances by Tim Lewis about the rise of Rwanda’s cycling team following the genocide and how it inspired a nation, while in racing you’d do well to better Henry Cecil by Brough Scott, a story of sporting redemption and triumph with the unbeatable Frankel, one of the greatest racehorses of all time.
Finally, The Ryder Cup 1927-2014 by Peter Pugh and Henry Lloyd will satisfy golfers while Running by Ronnie O’Sullivan and Staying Power: A Year in My Life by Phil Taylor will do the same for snooker and darts fans.
We’d recommend independent bookseller Melton Bookshop in Leicester Street for a fast and friendly service – keep it local!
Melton Sports is looking to start up a second hand sports book swap/donate scheme in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust at Leicester Royal Infirmary soon so clear those bookshelves now.