Book Recommendations

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  queenofdenile on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:23 pm

I've got a slight case of Olympic fever, and the only prescription (aside from more cowbell) is books! Anyone have any good recommendations for books written by or about Olympic champions? The main sports I care about are figure skating and gymnastics.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  maxell131313 on Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:55 pm

There are books from Dominique Moceanu, Shawn Johnson, Nadia Comaneci and Kerri Strug available on Amazon (there are also unauthorized biographies about Shannon Miller, Nastia Liukin, Dominique Dawes, and Mary Lou Retton that I saw) as well as the book "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" which is a no-holds-barred look inside elite gymnastics and...it's kind of graphic in some places. Read at your own risk.

For figure skating I'd recommend

Inside Edge

The Second Mark

Edge of Glory

As for personal skaters' biographies, just type in a name...there's bound to be a book available. Just off the top of my head I can think of books by Peggy Fleming, Gordeeva & Grinkov, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Dorothy Hamill, Lucinda Ruh, Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  big chicken on Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:55 pm

I've heard Toller Cranston has a good, dishy autobiography. You can also probably find some biographies of Sonja Henie. She's was a three time Olympic gold medalist, movie star, and Nazi sympathizer. If you want a bit of figure skating history, Frozen in Time is about the 1961 World Team who died in a plane crash and the ramifications it had on US figure skating. Luncinda Ruh has a biography called Frozen Teardrop.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  midnight radio on Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:53 pm

Can anyone recommend any helpful books (or other resources) about supporting people with PTSD, particularly as relates to sexual trauma?

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  VodouDoll on Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:12 pm

My family and I are going to Puerto Rico for a week in November. The baby is staying home, which means that I’m going to have SO MUCH sitting-by-the-pool-drinking-rum-and-reading time. Can you guys help me with some book recs?

Things I like:

Literary nonfiction essays: “Consider the Lobster” and “A Supposedly Fun Thing” are my favorites and the gold standards, of course, and Wallace has a new compendium coming out the week before I leave so I’m definitely taking that. I also like Franzen (his essays, not Franzen himself, ugh), Susan Orlean, Zadie Smith’s “Changing My Mind,” David Sedaris, and David Rakoff. Has anyone read John Jeremiah Sullivan’s “Pulphead?”

Literary Fiction: Nothing pretentious, but books that are gorgeous and interesting and fun. Recent favorites include “Skippy Dies” by Paul Murray (what an AMAZING book), “Fraction of the Whole” by Steve Toltz, “Wolf Hall,” by Hilary Mantel, and anything/everything by AS Byatt. I should probably look at the Booker lists for suggestions here because I think everyone I just named has been on it.

Memoirs that are either beautiful, hilarious, or both: some recent favorites include anything by Mary Karr, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by The Bloggess, Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey’s new books, “Blood, Bones, and Butter” by Gabrielle Hamilton, Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast,” and Joyce's “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” which isn’t a recent read or technically a memoir but is the best book I’ve ever read

Paranormal/Fantasy: must either be well-written, or so exciting that I don’t care about the prose. I enjoyed the Harry Potter, Sookie Stackhouse, Harry Dresden, Thursday Next, and Game of Thrones books. Also “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern.

Pop History: especially stuff about the American Revolution, interesting US Presidents, and interesting and/or murderous European royalty. I love all of Sarah Vowell’s books, most of Antonia Frasier’s, “John Adams” by David McCullough, and the Edmund Morris trilogy about Theodore Roosevelt. Anyone know a fun/accurate history of the Medici, maybe?

I'd be so grateful for any recs in any of these categories!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  punzy on Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:26 pm

Paranormal/Fantasy: Kevin Hearne's Druid Chronicles starting with Hounded, along the same lines as the Dresden files. For epic stuff Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, which starts with Garden of the Moon is good (also complete at 10 books!) and would probably keep you occupied for a while.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  Raksha on Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:48 pm

I've got a few suggestions!

Literary fiction: 'The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making' by Catherynne Valente. It’s supposedly a YA book, but it’s really for anyone who loves fairytales. Plus, Valente’s use of language is so lush (she’s also a poet, which is obvious) the prose feels a little more substantial than the usual YA fare (which I love, don’t get me wrong), so I really think adults would love it, even if they don’t usually go for YA. It's basically a lovely fairytale about a girl named September living in Nebraska during WWII who gets taken to fairyland and is determined to have herself a quest. Such a wonderful story!

Memoirs: Okay, so it's only sort of a memoir about one year, but 'A Year At the Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey' by Kevin Murphy is hilarious and wonderful. Kevin (of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame) commits to going to a movie every day for a year. The book is less about the movies themselves, although there are some wonderful explorations of what makes certain movie work or fail, but mostly it's about the experience of moviegoing. Each chapter explores a different topic that impacts the way we experience movies, from the type of theater it's shown in, to the food, to different kinds of festivals, to the influence of reviewers vs. critics, and so on. It's fun and Kevin clearly loves movies and this book made me love them too!

'Geisha, A Life' by Mineko Iwasaki is an excellent memoir written by the woman Arthur Golden interviewed as part of his research for the lurid, sensationalistic 'Memoirs of a Geisha.' Mineko was really pissed off at how he sensationalized and sexualized geishas, while almost entirely ignoring their intense passion and dedication to their arts. So she wrote her own memoir. It's excellent.

Pop history: 'Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation' by Elissa Steins and Susan Kim is a surprisingly amusing look at the history of attitudes toward menstruation in our culture and the products and medical interventions developed to deal with it. It's written in a really chatty, friendly tone and I really enjoyed it.

'Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day' by Silke Tudor and Jack Boulware. Just what it says on the tin! The structure of this book is that of a round table-type discussion of the history of punk in a more or less chronological fashion with each chapter focusing on one sort of subject (a particular band, or squat, or club, or zine, or whatever). The authors interviewed tons of people and they’ll take a couple sentences or paragraph from various interviews that pertain to whatever subject that chapter is covering, so the overall effect is that you’ve got a ton of people in one room reminiscing about all these crazy, amazing things that happened.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  puddingcup on Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:25 pm

Essays: anything by Anne Fadiman. Ex Libris is a collection of essays about reading.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  MaddyCat on Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:50 pm

Essays: I second Ex Libris by Fadiman; very good. Also, Arguably by Christopher Hitchens (it's perhaps too big to carry around, though, unless you have a Kindle). Also Jonathan Lethem's The Ecstasy of Influence.

Literary: If you liked Wolf Hall, then surely you've read the sequel Bring up the Bodies. If not, it's a must-read. One of my faves: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Memoir: Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett about her and her best friend and all the highs and lows. It's stunning in its honesty. Also, you don't have to like tennis to really appreciate Andre Agassi's Open. It's fantastic.

Pop: Moonwalking with Einstein. It's about memory and the world memory championships and the history of memory in a very readable (well, I listened to it) book. I enjoyed it so much and refer back to it all the time.


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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  big chicken on Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:07 pm

For essays, you can try The Best XXXX Writing series. I've always enjoyed The Best American Travel Writing.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  VodouDoll on Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:32 pm

Thank you so much, everyone! I've ordered a bunch of these books (except Ex Libris, which I've already read and loved, and Bringing Up the Bodies, which I'm waiting to be in paperback). You've guaranteed me a great vacation! If anyone else has any recs, please let me know!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  Poubelle on Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:01 pm

Does anyone have any suggestions for good books about baseball?

I'd be more interested in non-fiction, but I'm open to fiction as well.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  emrie on Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:03 pm

Prospect by Bill Littlefield (he does "It's Only a Game" on NPR).

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  naughty zoot on Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:34 am

Ball Four by Jim Bouton, The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter, The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof, Faithful by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan - all non-fiction. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, The Natural By Bernard Malamud, Bang The Drum Slowly by Mark Harris - my personal favorite baseball novel, and also an amazing, very early Robert DeNiro film.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  choubetcha on Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:35 pm

Love The Glory of Their Times! Pete Reiser is my all-time baseball crush.

Moneyballwas really good. Fantasyland is a sportswriter's account of entering the premier fantasy league in the nation for his first attempt at fantasy baseball. It goes into the history of fantasy and roto leagues, but the best part is that, because of his job, the author has access to all kinds of baseball people in real life, so he ends up trying to influence the outcome in various ways (giving playing advice, pushing the managers to put different players in) and gets razzed when he trades people he knows. He treats fantasy a little too much like it's this crazy fringe thing people do sometimes, but it's a fun read.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  big chicken on Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:42 pm

Doris Kearns Goodwin has a memoir about being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan called Wait Till Next Year. It's a look back at her childhood in the post-war/pre-Civil Rights era.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  Poubelle on Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:20 am

Whoooo, so many books! Thanks for all the recs, everyone! Looks like my library card will be getting a workout.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  EggSpreader on Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:03 am

VodouDoll wrote:Thank you so much, everyone! I've ordered a bunch of these books (except Ex Libris, which I've already read and loved, and Bringing Up the Bodies, which I'm waiting to be in paperback). You've guaranteed me a great vacation! If anyone else has any recs, please let me know!

In the Paranomal Fantasy genre, I've been DEVOURING Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson series. She's a sassy mechanic who can change into a coyote living across the way from the Alpha of the local werewolf pack, and one of her good buddies is a vampire who drives around in the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. In the first one, she helps out a young stranger werewolf, and when he turns up dead on her porch, she's determined to find out why. They're totally fun, fast guilty pleasure reading, similar to Sookie Stackhouse.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  Paris, Texas on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:43 am

It is time for niece book shopping for Christmas - yes, I am "that" aunt who gives books instead of gift vouchers for K-Mart. I'll probably buy them each 2 books, a journal of some sort and a DVD. Any book/DVD recs for a 12 year old, an 8 year old and a 4 year old? They are all quite girly, as enforced by their mother, who seems to think they will be viewed as dykes if at least 2 items on their bodies is not hot pink.

The 12 year old is going into 7th grade next year.
The 8 year old has an afro (unlike her sisters) and is being teased about it by strangers for the first time. I'd like to get her a fun, adventurous book that has a girl character of colour which doesn't describe her identifying physical feature as being a "black girl" whilst normalising the white characters by not them by colour. Back in the day, I liked how ethnicity was discussed in the BSC and alternately also how Paula Danziger dealt with race of characters (sometimes by not mentioning it at all).
The 4 year old is not quite a tomboy, but her favourite colour is black, favourite animal is the crocodile and favourite movie is Dumbo (she doesn't cry during "Baby Mine", mind).


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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  killershrew on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:02 am

My daughter, who is 9, just finished reading Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper and has proclaimed it the bestest book ever. The book jacket lists this book as for ages 10 and up. When I was 12, I loved the book The Westing Game, and in fact I still as an adult read it every few years. It was my first non-Nancy Drew mystery.

Sharon M. Draper also has a series of books starring a girl named Sassy, who is African American. Sassy says in one of the books "My eyebrows are fuzzy like my hair", so maybe this might be what you're looking for. My daughter has several of the Sassy books and has enjoyed them too. They would be more appropriate for the 8-year-old.
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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  whatthedeuce on Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:39 pm

killershrew, both the books you recommended sound great even though I'm way beyond the intended audience's age range! I think I've heard of The Westing Game, but I never knew what it was about. The premise sounds excellent! The author has the same surname as a friend of mine. I'm going to ask on a whim if he's in any way related to her. Don't know many Raskins out there!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  VodouDoll on Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:11 pm

Bitch magazine has a list of best feminist YA books, if that's helpful.

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  whatthedeuce on Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:28 am

Oooh, I'm not the one that link's intended for, but thanks for it all the same!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  VodouDoll on Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:30 am

My pleasure! It's a good list!

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Re: Book Recommendations

Post  Paris, Texas on Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:41 am

Thank you so much, KillerShrew. Shopping is done and dusted! Sassy is pretty much exactly what I am looking for. Out of My Mind and The Westing Game look perfect as well and I will probably want to read it myself.

Thanks for posting the Bitch YA list, VodouDoll. When all the kerfuffle with them adding them then deleting Tender Morsels, Wintergirls and Living Dead Girls after admitting the books had not been read, I was so interested on the following brouhaha that I didn't take much notice at the time what the other books on the list were, and there are some goodies.

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Re: Book Recommendations

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