Epic adventures await: New sport and fitness books

Turning

From epic adventures, self-discovery, re-living childhood memories, to biographies of sporting legends, this selection highlights sports such as swimming, hunting, running, cycling, golf, rowing
and rugby.

Syndetics book coverTurning : a swimming memoir / Jessica J. Lee.
“At the age of twenty-eight, Jessica Lee, who grew up in Canada and lived in London, finds herself in Berlin. Alone. Lonely, with lowered spirits thanks to some family history and a broken heart, she is there, ostensibly, to write a thesis. And though that is what she does daily, what increasingly occupies her is swimming. So she makes a decision that she believes will win her back her confidence and independence: she will swim fifty-two of the lakes around Berlin, no matter what the weather or season. This book is for everyone who loves swimming, who wishes they could push themselves beyond caution, who understands the deep pleasure of using their body’s strength, who knows what it is to allow oneself to abandon all thought and float home to the surface.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDark Forest, Deep Sea : reflections of a hunter / Richard Hall.
“In the wild there is an element that cannot be seen, tasted, heard or smelt – it can only be felt, and it is a feeling of enchantment. After his first hunting experience in New Zealand as a young man, Richard Hall has been drawn back again and again, wanting to relive the feeling only this country’s wilderness can give him. Dark Forest, Deep Sea goes beyond recollections of one man’s hunting trips. It delves into the emotions and sensations at the heart of the experience, and the reason for doing it. This is the human story of hunting.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBattling the Oceans in a Rowboat : crossing the Atlantic and North Pacific on oars and grit / Mick Dawson.
“The heart-pounding story of rowing expert Mick Dawson’s most challenging feats on the open water, culminating in his greatest achievement: crossing the North Pacific Ocean in a small rowboat. Storms, fatigue, equipment failure, intense hunger, and lack of water are just a few of the challenges that ocean rower Mick Dawson, endured whilst attempting to complete one of the World’s “Last Great Firsts.” In this nail-biting, man-against-nature true story, Dawson, former Royal Marine Commando, Guinness world record ocean rower and high seas adventurer, takes on the Atlantic and ultimately the North Pacific Oceans.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIn the Line of Fire : the inside story from the Lions head coach / Warren Gatland with Gerry Thornley.
“Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions Tour Diary is the ultimate chronicle of this summer’s remarkable and historic Lions tour to New Zealand. The book is the Head Coach’s wonderfully candid and vibrant record of the turbulent peaks and troughs, the triumphs and despairs, of one of sport’s toughest challenges. It gives rugby fans an unparalleled front-row seat with the squad, recounting intriguing details on everything from pre-tour planning and strategy, to on-tour experiences, analysis and decision-making. It all adds up to a thrillingly definitive exposition and post-mortem of a mind-blowing six weeks in the cauldron which forged the mighty All Blacks.” (Publisher’s description)

Syndetics book coverRun for Your Life : mindful running for a happy life / William Pullen.
“We all know how a long walk, a slow jog or a brisk run can free our minds to wander, and give us a powerful uplifting feeling. Some call it the ‘runner’s high’, others put it down to endorphins. But what if we could channel that energy and use it to make positive change in our lives? William Pullen is a psychotherapist who helps people to work through their issues using his revolutionary method, Dynamic Running Therapy. His is a radical new approach to mindfulness. Whether you are looking for strategies to cope with anxiety, change or decision-making, or simply want to focus your mind while pounding the streets, Run for Your Life offers a series of simple mental routines that unleash the meditative, restorative powers of exercise.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGames from Childhood : a nostalgic compendium of games we used to play / compiled and edited by Karen Dolby.
“A wonderfully nostalgic collection of the games we played in our childhood, when all you needed was a pen, paper, and your imagination. All the classics are here, from filling in the grids of battleships and hangman, to tic-tac-toe, categories, crossed words, fortune teller, and more, all presented in a gorgeous vintage style. The perfect antidote to our modern, digital world, you’ll enjoy re-living your childhood as you test your logic and reasoning and have fun playing these wonderful games.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVentoux : sacrifice and suffering on the giant of Provence / Jeremy Whittle.
“Mont Ventoux, the “Giant of Provence,” is a legendary and extreme mountain climb. The formidable ascent of Ventoux’s south side encapsulates both the unforgiving brutality and epic beauty of this intense sport, but also brings to the forefront cycling’s on-going battle with scandal. Revealing the little-known history of racing on Ventoux, author Jeremy Whittle interviews such memorable cyclists as Chris Froome, Eddy Merckx, Greg LeMond, Lance Armstrong, Bernard Hinault, Dave Brailsford, Tyler Hamilton, and many others, exploring both the fear and respect of those who dare to conquer cycling’s most notorious ascent.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA History of Cycling in 100 Objects / Suze Clemitson.
“Absorbing and quirky look at the history of cycling and the development of bike-related design through 100 pivotal objects. Charting the journey from the Laufmaschine to the Brompton, through the early prototypes and the two-wheeled toys of the aristocracy, to the speed machines we know today. Filled with fascinating photographs and illustrations, immerse yourself in the history of cycling, from the boneshaker via the bicycle powered washing machine, to cuddly lions and ball bearings.” (adapted from back cover)

Syndetics book coverLosing It : a lifetime in pursuit of sporting excellence / Simon Barnes.
“Simon Barnes has taken part in seven summer Olympic Games, five World Cups and ten Ashes series. Well, not exactly taken part, but certainly he was there and writing hard. And always, behind every victory and every defeat he ever recorded, there was the reference of his own sporting career, in which the bitter beauties of failure were occasionally varied with the intoxication of success. His sporting failure has been a joyous and profoundly informative part of his life, and here he tells the story of it.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverNo is a Four-Letter Word : How I failed spelling but succeeded in life / Chris Jericho.
“Three-time New York Times bestselling author and six-time WWE champion Chris Jericho shares 20 of his most valuable lessons for achieving your goals and living the life you want, jam-packed with fantastic stories and the classic off-the-wall, laugh-out-loud Jericho references he’s famous for, with a foreword by Paul Stanley. After reading No Is a Four-Letter Word, you’ll discover that you might have what it takes to succeed as well… you just need to get out there and do it. That’s what Jericho would do.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTiger Woods / Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian.
“Based on years of reporting and interviews with more than 250 people from every corner of Tiger Woods’s life–a sweeping, revelatory, and defining biography of an American icon.” (Book jacket)

10 New Sports Books to Boost You into 2018

A new year is the time for new sports, hobbies and activities! So jump into 2018 and let these books inspire you on to greatness. From sailing to skateboarding, hunting to video game development let these titles open your eyes, fuel your fire and help get you out there!

Syndetics book coverGo! : an inspirational guide to getting outside and challenging yourself / Tobias Mews.
“Whether it’s discovering a new place and a new way to get there, or reaching your nearest summit whilst racing your friend, Mews brings together all the kit, method and ingredients you need to get you out of your comfort zone and into an exhilarating adventure, big or small. Discover the thrill of a new escape, enjoy the pain and gain of completing a challenge and the fun and curiosity of trying something new.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlood, sweat, and pixels : the triumphant, turbulent stories behind how video games are made / Jason Schreier.
“In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Schreier takes readers on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development.  Documenting the round-the-clock crunches, buggy-eyed burnout, and last-minute saves, this is a journey through development hell, and ultimately a tribute to the dedicated diehards and unsung heroes who scale mountains of obstacles in their quests to create the best games imaginable.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLone wolf : how Emirates Team New Zealand stunned the world / Richard Gladwell.
“On June 26, 2017, on the turquoise waters of Bermuda’s Great Sound, Peter Burling (26) became the youngest ever helmsman to win the premier trophy in sailing, the America’s Cup. A celebration of the Emirates Team New Zealand’s win, written from an on the water perspective by one of the world’s most influential America’s Cup photo-journalists, Richard Gladwell, who also shot many of the images used in the 200-page book.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIt’s not about pretty : a book about radical skater girls / concept by Cindy Whitehead ; photography by Ian Logan ; design by Elise Crigar.
“The FIRST comprehensive hardcover book ever to be published on girls skateboarding. 144 pages, featuring 65 different skater girls- from pool riding, park, street, downhill, vert and cruising, to pro female skateboarders and soul skaters – this book covers it all.  With powerful imagery by award-winning photographer Ian Logan, words and concept by 70’s pro skater and Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee Cindy Whitehead. (Adapted Amazon summary)

Syndetics book coverBeaver / with Scotty Stevenson.
“Stephen Donald etched himself into All Blacks folklore with that ‘kick’ in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final at Eden Park. One of the country’s most popular All Blacks, had not originally been wanted for the World Cup squad. He was whitebaiting in the Waikato and effectively off the rugby grid when the SOS went out for his services. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, combining with the hugely talented rugby writer and commentator Scotty ‘Sumo’ Stevenson in a book covering not only Donald’s sporting career but also poke the borax at both himself and his team mates.” (Adpated Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHunting New Zealand : parts unknown / Peter Ryan.
“Peter Ryan’s writing and images have been published around the world. Here he pays tribute to the game animals, people and places that have made New Zealand famous as one of the last great hunting adventures. A book for those whose hearts belong in wild places.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Syndetics book coverSurfing : skills, training, techniques / Chris Nelson and Demi Taylor.
“Crowood Sports Guides are the perfect tool for anyone wanting to improve their performance, from beginners learning the basic skills to more experienced participants working on advanced techniques. Surfing covers the history of the sport; choosing and maintaining a board; reading the ocean; skills development; advanced techniques; environmental care and surf contests and careers.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand rugby country : how the game shaped our nation / Desmond Wood.
“How a small nation at the foot of the globe achieved and maintains its status at the top of an international sport is integral to the story of this country. Rugby permeates our society and its ethos sums up much of what it means to be a New Zealander. Or does it? Des Wood examines these assertions in this thoughtful and well-researched book.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow cycling can save the world / Peter Walker.How Cycling Can Save the World
“Peter Walker, reporter at the Guardian and curator of its popular bike blog, shows how the future of humanity depends on the bicycle. Meticulously researched and incredibly inspiring, How Cycling Can Save the World delivers on its lofty promise and leads readers to the realization that cycling could not only save the world, but have a lasting and positive impact on their own lives.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe greatest : the quest for sporting perfection / Matthew Syed.
“What can Roger Federer teach us about the secret of longevity? What do the All Blacks have in common with improvised jazz musicians? What can cognitive neuroscientists tell us about what happens to the brains of sportspeople when they perform?  How do we become the best that we can be, as individuals, teams and as organisations? Matthew Syed, the ‘Sports Journalist of the Year 2016’, answers these questions and more in a fascinating, wide-ranging and provocative book about the mental game of sport. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

New Sport & fitness books in July

Go the distance with these books if you want to go further than you’ve ever gone before. You can read about the life of an ultra distance runner, slow down with the man who walked across America or push your mental limits as you hear the story of a chess world champion. Alternatively you can go off the beaten track with pub games or even hot air ballooning in Graham Lanceley’s exploration of unique sports and pastimes.

Syndetics book coverWalking to Listen : 4,000 miles across America, one story at a time / Andrew Forsthoefel.
“A memoir of one young man’s coming of age on a cross-country trek, told through the stories of the people of all ages, races, and inclinations he meets along the highways of America.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverBaseball : steps to success / Kenny Thomas, DJ King.
“Become a fundamentally sound player in every aspect of the game with ‘Baseball: Steps to Success’. For years, the Steps to Success series has helped people around the world master the fundamentals of sport. Its unique progressive instructional approach to every skill makes learning the game of baseball easier and more enjoyable than ever before.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTrail Blazer : My Life as an Ultra-distance Trail Runner / Ryan Sandes with Steve Smith.
“What does it take to run a six-day race through the world’s harshest deserts? Or 100 miles in a single day at altitudes that would leave you breathless just walking? More than that, though: what is it like to win these races? South Africa’s ultra-trail-running superstar Ryan Sandes has done just that.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverAlternative Sports and Pastimes : an A-Z / Graham Lanceley.
“This book takes us through a selection of fifty alternative sports and pastimes. Some of these are activities that readers won’t have heard of, such as ‘tchoukball’. This modern sport, invented in the 1970s, based on teamwork and with the intention of avoiding collisions or injuries, takes its name from the sound of the ball rebounding from a frame. Graham also covers more well-known sports and pastimes, such as gliding and hot air ballooning. Traditional English pub games are also represented, such as bagatelle, shove ha’penny and skittles, as well as traditional outdoor activities such as falconry and morris dancing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNo Barriers : A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon / Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy.
No Barriers is about my journey since coming down from Mt. Everest in 2001, and the path to where I am today. It is the story of my own life, the personal and professional struggles in the pursuit of growth, learning, and family, as well as a dream to kayak one of the world’s great rivers as a blind athlete. It is also about the many people I’ve encountered along the way who possess what I call a “No Barriers” mindset, who live a No Barriers life. This book is about making the hard choices to fuel that flickering light, so that we can ignite with purpose and become our very best selves.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverUnbound : A Story of Snow and Self-discovery / Steph Jagger.
“A young woman follows winter across five continents on a physical and spiritual journey that tests her body and soul, in this transformative memoir, full of heart and courage, that speaks to the adventurousness in all of us…. She quit her job, took a second mortgage on her house, sold everything except her ski equipment and her laptop, and bought a bundle of plane tickets. For the next year, she followed winter across North and South America, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand–and up and down the mountains of nine countries–on a mission to ski four million vertical feet in a year.” (Provided by publisher)

Syndetics book coverTimman’s Titans : My World Chess Champions / Jan Timman.
” Jan Timman, a world chess champion combines his passion for the game with his love of writing. In this fascinating book, Jan Timman portrays ten World Chess Champions that played an important role in his life and career. Champions that not only inspired him, but also champions he did battle with.” (Book cover)

Total fitness – New Sport & Fitness books

Here is an eclectic mix of titles for the sports enthusiasts. The collection includes books on running, yoga, cycling. curling, rowing, swimming, and more.

Syndetics book coverSports Geek : A Visual Tour of Sporting Myths, Debate and Data / Rob Minto.
“Sport revolves around two things: narrative and numbers. You need the narrative, otherwise why would anyone care about sport? But sport also needs numbers. Without them, we have no idea who has won. Sports Geek is a visual and numerical tour through sporting debates and ideas. Teams in all sports use data to create extraordinary analysis of how their players perform, to assess tactics and to get an edge over arch rivals; but fans are rarely presented with challenging and informative data that would help them to further understand sport. You’ll never see sport the same way again.” (Syndetics summary)

Behind the Silver Fern / Tony Johnson, Lynn McConnell.Image from Amazon.com
“Go behind the scenes with the world’s most successful sports team. This is a complete history of rugby’s most famous yet enigmatic team, the New Zealand All Blacks, told by the men who have had the honour of wearing the iconic black jersey. From the legendary 1905 ‘Originals’ all the way through to Richie McCaw’s record-breaking back-to-back World Cup champions of 2015, this is a history of the All Blacks like you have never experienced it before. Absorbing and illuminating, this is the ultimate history of New Zealand rugby – told, definitively, by the men who have been there and done it.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverDeclared / Brendon McCullum ; with Greg McGee.
“Brendon McCullum is known as an explosive wicketkeeper, then batsman, who went on to captain the New Zealand cricket team to glory. The holder of many records, ‘Baz’ is known for speaking his mind. He talks about growing up loving sport more than anything, getting better and better at cricket, and his uncertain transition to international cricketer. In this explosive autobiography he opens up on the many controversies he has been involved in, including the Chris Cairns affair and the leadership change from Ross Taylor. He exposes behind-the scenes machinations as well as the private moments of exultation, tumult and despair. One of New Zealand’s and the worlds most admired cricketers, he is credited with changing the face of the game internationally.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWonderland : how play made the modern world / Steven Johnson.
“This lushly illustrated history of popular entertainment takes a long-zoom approach, contending that the pursuit of novelty and wonder is a powerful driver of world-shaping technological change. Steven Johnson argues that, throughout history, the cutting edge of innovation lies wherever people are working the hardest to keep themselves and others amused. He introduces us to the colorful innovators of leisure: the explorers, proprietors, showmen, and artists who changed the trajectory of history with their luxurious wares, exotic meals, taverns, gambling tables, and magic shows. You’ll find the future wherever people are having the most fun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBolshoi Confidential : secrets of the Russian ballet from the rule of the tsars to today / Simon Morrison.
“On a freezing night in January 2013, an assailant hurled acid in the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Filin. The crime, organized by a lead soloist, dragged one of Russia’s most illustrious institutions into scandal. As renowned musicologist Simon Morrison shows in his tour-de-force account, the attack, and its torrid aftermath, underscored the importance of the Bolshoi to the art of ballet, to Russia, and to the world… The Theatre has been bombed, rigged with explosives and reinforced with cement. Its dancers have suffered unimaginable physical torment to climb the ranks. But, as Morrison reveals, the Bolshoi has transcended its own fraught history, surviving 250 years of artistic and political upheaval to define not only Russian culture but also ballet itself.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBuild Your Running Body : a total-body fitness plan for all distance runners, from milers to ultra-marathoners : run farther, faster, and injury-free / Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer ; photographs by Diana Hernandez.
“Whether you’re a miler or an ultra-marathoner, if you want a fit, fast, and injury-resistant running body, there’s a better way to train than relentlessly pursuing mileage. This easy-to-use workout manual draws on the latest research in running physiology to target all the components that go into every stride–including muscles, connective tissue, cardiovascular fitness, energy production, the nervous system, hormones, and the brain. With the breakthrough whole-body training program in Build Your Running Body, runners will improve their times, run longer and more comfortably, and reduce injury.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBeth Shaw’s Yogafit.
“Whether you are searching for a new physical challenge or a way to incorporate yoga into your exercise routine, Beth Shaw’s YogaFit will help you reach your physical potential. Expanded and updated, this highly acclaimed program combines challenging conditioning work with strength- and flexibility-building yoga to create a total-body workout.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverTotal Road Cycling.
Total Road Cycling starts by looking at choosing the right kit from buying a bike to deciding on the right clothes and accessories. It then looks at how best to train for the rigours of the open road by getting your bike-specific fitness up to scratch. But riding a bike is much more than just pedalling hard, so next come the essential skills necessary for efficient speed, including climbing, cornering, and descending. Road riding also has its own tactics and this volume shows you the strategies that will keep you at the front of the pack. You won’t get far if you don’t eat the right food, so next comes a section on fuelling for rides. Illustrated throughout with annotated photographs and step-by-step artworks and images, this is the only book any road rider will ever need.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCurling : steps to success / Sean M.R. Turriff.
“Internationally renowned coach Sean Turriff brings his extensive experience and expertise to Curling: Steps to Success, providing players and coaches with a practical, step-by-step format that develops and improves curlers’ fundamental skill level and decision making. Supplemented by more than 90 photos and illustrations, the book covers essential curling skills such as throws, brushing, delivery, basic shots, and ice reading. Included are detailed explanations of the roles and responsibilities of each team member as well as practical check points for gauging players’ mastery of skills. Whether you are just beginning or have experience on the sheet, the book will have you targeting the rock accurately and consistently in no time.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFuel of Champions : food, fitness and mind-set secrets revealed / Brian Roselt & Tiffany Roselt.
“If you want to be the best, you must learn from the best – international authors Brian and Tiffany Roselt have interviewed some of the world’s greatest role models and champions. This book breaks down these champions’ success secrets, giving you a blueprint that allows your mind to be filled with a wealth of powerful ideas and strategies that can immediately fuel your way to the top.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTraining for the Complete Rower : a guide to improving performance / Paul Thompson and Alex Wolf.
“This book aims to provide and challenge coaches and rowers with best practice, advice, principles, and training programs to improve their rowing experience and performance. Regardless of whether you are looking to improve on-water performance, set an indoor rowing personal best, or enhance the quality of your training, you will find something of value within these pages. Topics covered include training and technique; ergometer training; specific rowing conditioning; strength training; monitoring and assessing land training; mobility and flexibility; weightlifting technique; trunk training; nutrition; and mental skills.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLeap In : a woman, some waves and the will to swim / Alexandra Heminsley.
“Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. She really did. It may have been because she could run. But, as she learned one day while flailing around in the sea, she really couldn’t. Believing that a life lived fully isn’t one with the most money earned, the most stuff bought or the most races won, but one with the most experiences, experienced the most fully, she decided to conquer her fear of the water. From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming from Kefalonia to Ithaca, in becoming a swimmer, Alexandra learns to appreciate her body and still her mind. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you’re in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.” (Syndetics summary)

Books on bikes and boats – New sports & fitness books

This month’s selection includes books on cycling, boat racing, running, cricket soccer and fishing. Perhaps you’ll find inspiration for a hobby to take up in the new year!

Syndetics book coverUrban Cycling : from the BMX to the fixie / Laurent Belando.
“City cycling is on the up all over the world, and this stylish book is the perfect celebration of its growing popularity. With beautiful photography and street-style profiles of cyclists of all walks of life, Urban Cycling is a fascinating study of the cyclists that roam our city streets – from BMX gangs to cycle couriers and everything in between.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWinning Isn’t Luck : how to succeed in racing dinghies and yachts / Fred Imhoff ; translated by Chris Schram.
“Whether racing dinghies or yachts, every sailor wants to drive through the fleet and cross the line first. In this ground-breaking book, international racer Fred Imhoff shows how to do just that. By means of on-the-water action shots and detailed commentary about a sailor’s tactics, sail trim, helming, crew positioning and psychological attitude, Fred shares the secrets of competitive racing success….this book is full of never-before-discussed gold dust that will be absolutely indispensable to all racers, whatever their age or level.” (Sydetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRunning Man : A Memoir / Charlie Engle.
“After a decade-long addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol, Charlie Engle hit bottom with a near-fatal six-day binge that ended in a hail of bullets. As Engle got sober, he turned to running, which became his lifeline, his pastime, and his salvation. He began with marathons, and when marathons weren’t far enough, he began to take on ultra-marathons, races that went for 35, 50, and sometimes hundreds of miles, traveling to some of the most unforgiving places on earth to race…. In Running Man, Charlie Engle tells the gripping, surprising, funny, emotional, and inspiring story of his life, detailing his setbacks and struggles–from coping with addiction to serving time in prison–and how he blazed a path to freedom by putting one foot in front of the other.” (Book jacket)

Syndetics book coverToday We Die A Little : the rise and fall of Emil Zátopek, Olympic legend / Richard Askwith.
“No runner has generated myth like Emil Zátopek, the Czechoslovakian soldier who revolutionised distance running after World War II. Zátopek won five Olympic medals, set 18 world records, and went undefeated over 10,000 metres for six years. His triumphs put his country on the map, yet when Soviet tanks moved in to crush Czechoslovakia’s new freedoms in 1968, Zátopek paid a heavy price for his brave stance as a champion of ‘socialism with a human face’. Expelled from the Army, he was condemned to years of degrading manual labour, far from his home and his adored wife. Rehabilitated two decades later, he was a shadow of the man he had been – and the world had all but forgotten him… Today We Die A Little strips away the myths to tell the complex and deeply moving story of the most inspiring Olympic hero of them all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeclared / Brendon McCullum ; with Greg McGee.
“Brendon McCullum is known as an explosive wicketkeeper, then batsman, who went on to captain the New Zealand cricket team to glory. The holder of many records, ‘Baz’ is known for speaking his mind. He talks about growing up loving sport more than anything, getting better and better at cricket and his uncertain transition to international cricketer. In this explosive autobiography he opens up on the many controversies he has been involved in, including the Chris Cairns affair and the leadership change from Ross Taylor. One of New Zealand’s and the worlds most admired cricketers, he is credited with changing the face of the game internationally.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverForward : A Memoir / Abby Wambach.
“Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. At age seven she was put on the boys’ soccer team. At age thirty-five she would become the highest goal scorer (male or female) in the history of soccer, capturing the nation’s heart with her team’s 2015 World Cup Championship. Called an inspiration and “badass” by President Obama, Abby has become a fierce advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world. As she reveals in this searching memoir, Abby’s professional success often masked her inner struggle to reconcile the various parts of herself: ferocious competitor, daughter, leader, wife. With stunning candor, Abby shares her inspiring and often brutal journey from girl in Rochester, New York, to world-class athlete.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRunning Your First Ultra : customizable training plans for your first 50k to 100-mile race / Krissy Moehl ; photography by Fredrik Marmsater.
“Using the tactics that have made her one of the top female ultra-marathon runners – with more than 100 races and 46 female wins – author Krissy Moehl will help new ultra-marathon runners get across the finish line of their first 50-kilometer, 50-mile or 100-mile race. This detailed, yet flexible training plan offers everything a runner needs to successfully complete their first ultra. When Moehl isn’t racing, she serves as a coach for people who want to run ultra-marathons. Her positive, encouraging attitude, deep knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport will make sure that readers train right and have fun doing it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFishing Impossible : Three Fishing Fanatics, Ten Epic Adventures / with Blowfish, Charlie and Jay ; and David Bartley.
“Based on the massive new ITV/BBC Earth TV show that follows three buddies as they go extreme fishing around the world, Top Gear-style.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe World of Cycling According to G / Geraint Thomas ; written with Tom Fordyce.
“Sit back or saddle up as double Olympic gold medallist and multiple world champion Geraint Thomas gives you a warts and all insight into the life of a pro cyclist. Along the way he reveals cycling’s clandestine codes and secret stories, tales from the peloton, the key characters like Wiggins, Hoy and Cav, the pivotal races and essential etiquette. Geraint Thomas is treasured for treating his sport just as the rest of us see it: not a job but an escape and an adventure. Geraint reminds us that getting on the bike still puts a smile on your face and fire in the legs like nothing else. Funny, informative, diverting and droll, this is a joyful celebration of the world of cycling.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy Story / Michael Clarke.
“He was the greatest batsman of his generation and, as captain, possessed the sharpest tactical mind in the game. Bursting onto the scene in 2004 with a Test century on debut, Michael Clarke was Australian cricket’s golden boy. And the batting prodigy they nicknamed ‘Pup’ certainly fulfilled his destiny in a stellar 11-year international career of 115 Tests, 8643 runs and 28 centuries. For a decade his personal life, career fortunes and controversies – real or imagined – were splashed across front pages and scrutinised. Was he simply a hard-working, western suburbs kid living every Aussie boy’s dream? Or a 21st century cricketer mired in all the trappings of celebrity? In the echo chamber of social media, the truth about Michael Clarke was warped, then lost. My Story is the real Michael Clarke, standing up and speaking out for the first time.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Cycling, camping, climbing – New Sport & fitness books

Cycling, boxing, running, camping, mountain climbing, chess and yachting are subjects included in this month’s recent picks. Also covered are related subjects such as the psychology of winning and how neuroscience is as relevant to sports as the physical side of sports.

Syndetics book coverOnly Two for Everest : how a first ascent by Riddiford and Cotter shaped climbing history / Lyn McKinnon.
“The First New Zealand Himalayan Expedition, in 1951, was initiated by Earle Riddiford, who with Ed Cotter and Pasang Dawa Lama made the first ascent of Mukut Parbat, their target peak in the Garhwal Himalaya. Accompanying them on that expedition, though not to that summit, were two other New Zealand climbers, Edmund Hillary and George Lowe. The New Zealand Alpine Club suggested that acclimatised New Zealanders would be a valuable asset on the forthcoming 1951 British Reconnaissance of Mt Everest, but which two should go to Everest? In this enthralling narrative, journalist Lyn McKinnon tells the stories of Earle Riddiford and Ed Cotter, two extraordinary New Zealanders whose climbing achievements were forever eclipsed by the exploits of others.” (Adapted from cover)

Syndetics book coverUltimate Encyclopedia of Boxing / Harry Mullan with Bob Mee & Matt Bozeat.
The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing is the world’s most comprehensive single-volume illustrated work of boxing reference, covering all aspects of the sport since its rise from the days of illegal big-money challenge matches to the multi-million-dollar televised extravaganza it is today. As well as details of the careers of the world’s greatest boxers, it traces the progress of the world title from champion to champion in all the weight classes, outlines the status of boxing around the world, recalls some of the great stadiums where boxing history was made, and much more.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTotal Road Cycling.
“Cycling has never been more popular, whether as a pro-level sport on TV, or as a way of commuting on city streets. This book is aimed at those legions of weekend heroes of all levels of fitness and experience who inhabit the world of road riding. The book starts by looking at choosing the right kit, from buying a bike to deciding on the right clothes and accessories. It then looks at how to best to train for the rigors of the open road by getting your bike-specific fitness up to scratch. Road riding also has its own tactics and this volume shows you the strategies that will keep you at the front of the pack. Lastly, a workshop section guides you through essential pre- and post-ride maintenance and upgrades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHello, Bicycle : an inspired guide to the two-wheeled life / Anna Brones ; illustrations by James Gulliver Hancock.
“An inspirational and encouraging illustrated guide to the world of bicycles and cycling, with practical information on bike buying, riding, repairs, and maintenance.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverFifty Places to Camp Before You Die : camping experts share the world’s greatest destinations / Chris Santella ; foreword by Mike Harrelson.
In Fifty Places to Camp Before You Die, Chris Santella illuminates the best destinations for exploring the great outdoors. The book features the world’s top spots for sleeping under the stars and enjoying a host of outdoor recreational activities that make camping such a time-honored tradition. Featuring favorite US National Parks destinations—as well as more exotic locales in Italy, Chile, France, Botswana, Germany, and more—Santella provides helpful information and tips that will appeal to novice campers and seasoned outdoorsmen alike.” (Amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverThe Boy Who Runs : the odyssey of Julius Achon / John Brant.
“Julius Achon is the director of the Achon Uganda Children’s Fund, a charity whose mission is to improve the quality of life in rural Uganda. He was captured at 12 and turned into a boy soldier; then miraculously found a career as one of the world’s foremost middle-distance runners. How these life jumps happened is told here.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat it Takes to Become a Grandmaster / Andrew Soltis.
“Becoming a Grandmaster is the ultimate aim for serious chess players, but whatever your abilities, this book will take you to the next level. Written by the ever-popular chess writer Andrew Soltis, this book teaches you how to identify the kinds of moves and techniques that go the extra mile.” (Back cover)

Syndetics book coverThe Athletic Brain : how neuroscience is revolutionising sport and can help you perform better / Amit Katwala.
“The future of sport is being shaped in high-tech labs and run-down gyms. Leading scientists and forward-thinking coaches armed with electrodes and iPad apps are harnessing the brain’s hidden power. A football club in Germany is using computer games to help players make better decisions. In America, a start-up hopes to use brain waves to find baseball’s next star pitcher. Elite sports people excel because sport has changed their brains. But neuroscience and psychology can offer shortcuts that anyone can take advantage of. In The Athletic Brain, Amit Katwala combines cutting-edge science, exclusive interviews, and unique access to pioneering teams and coaches to provide a fascinating insight into how unlocking the secrets of the brain will change sport forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHow to Win Games and Beat People / Tom Whipple.
“Games are more fun when you win– especially when you crush your friends and family! Whipple explores inside tips, strategy, and advices from experts to teach you how to dominate the competition when playing a wide range of classic games, from Hangman to Trivial Pursuit.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverWinning Isn’t Luck : how to succeed in racing dinghies and yachts / Fred Imhoff ; translated by Chris Schram.
“Whether racing dinghies or yachts, every sailor wants to drive through the fleet and cross the line first. In this ground-breaking book, international racer Fred Imhoff shows how to do just that… Fred’s logical, clinical analyses accompanied by fantastic action shots, including many from the 2012 Olympics, will be a godsend to budding and improving racers alike. From advice on mental preparation, honing your gear, working the weather and analysing the course, to briefing your crew, sussing out the other competitors and analysing your mistakes, this book is full of never-before-discussed gold dust that will be absolutely indispensable to all racers, whatever their age or level.” (Syndetics summary)

Athletics for your mind and body – Sports picks for Winter

Long winter months do not mean we have to curl up in the armchair with no exercise. This selection of books offer a wide range of activities indoors to stimulate the mind as well as the body.

Syndetics book coverThe Sports Book : the sports, the rules, the tactics, the techniques / editorial consultant, Ray Stubbs.
“The ultimate armchair companion to over 200 sports. The 4th edition presents fully up-to-date information covering all sorts of sports, from equestrian sports, athletics and gymnastics to winter sports and extreme sports. Check out the rules, history, players and events for the world’s greatest sports such as football, cricket, basketball and golf.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMathletics : a scientist explains 100 amazing things about the world of sports / John D. Barrow.
“Drawing on vivid, real-life examples, mathematician John D. Barrow entertainingly explores the eye-opening, often counterintuitive, insights into the world of sports that math and physics can give us. For example, we learn that left-handed boxers have a statistical advantage over their right-handed opponents. Through clear, detailed, and fascinating mathematical explanations, Barrow reveals the best techniques and strategies for an incredible range of sports, from soccer and running to cycling, archery, gymnastics, and rowing.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverSnooker and Billiards : skills, tactics, techniques / Clive Everton.
“In this second edition of Snooker & Billiards – Skills, Tactics Techniques, the history of the game is covered along with the rules of the game; choosing the right equipment and top tips from many of the game’s great players. All the skills and techniques are explained clearly with full-colour sequence photography and detailed table diagrams help explain more advanced tactics such as breakbuilding and safety play.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverTai Chi : 37 steps to happiness : with an introduction to aqua tai chi / Peter Chin Kean Choy.
“As the physical body flows more easily, Choy demonstrates, it is able to tune in to its own internal chi, and to the positive chi energy in the world around. In addition to the 37 movements of the traditional T’ai Chi form, the book contains a section of exercises to be done with a partner and some specially devised movements to be performed in water. The step-by-step color photography and accessible writing style make this a must for beginners, while the greater insights and unique new sequences will also appeal to the more experienced student or teacher.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverKrav Maga for Beginners : a step-by-step guide to the world’s easiest-to-learn, most-effective fitness and fighting program / Darren Levine, John Whitman, Ryan Hoover ; photographs by Andy Mogg.
“In Israel, Krav Maga is the official system used to teach self-defense. The no-holds-barred techniques–including cardio, strength training, and fight moves–are easy to learn, require a minimal amount of strength, and, most importantly, are designed to immobilize an attacker.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTraining Fencing / Barth/Barth [i.e. Berndt Barth & Katrin Barth].
“Building on the book Learning Fencing, this book explains how to train for technique and tactics in fencing and shows why fencers must improve their endurance, strength, and speed. Young fencers learn to go beyond practice bouts and enrich their training with exercises that may seem at first to have nothing at all to do with fencing. With the help of this book, young fencers learn to manage their own development and to take responsibility for their own behavior.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAikido :The Basics : techniques, principles, concept / Bodo Roedel in collaboration with Nadja Gaertel and Susen Werner.
“Aikido is a highly developed martial art form based on standardized principles which the book explains by numerous examples of movements. The basics of the foot and hand movements are also covered. The details of the basic techniques of Aikido are not merely described; the reader also learns their implementation. A closer look is further taken on the roles of the defender and the attacker.” (Book Jacket)

Syndetics book coverRock & Wall Climbing / Garth Hattingh.
“A colorful, clear, comprehensive reference for climbers of all skill levels. Here in one volume is a basic guide to the equipment and techniques for rock and wall climbing, training the mind and body, and the vitally important skills of safety and first aid. A chapter on where and when to climb highlights some of the best sites around the world, with detailed maps and locations of climbing gyms.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDancing with the Stars / written by Guy Phillips and Tasha Brown ; exercise routines by Cal Pozo.
“Part fitness guide and part scrapbook, this official guide to the hit television show features an easy-to-follow exercise plan that will help readers samba, salsa, and rumba their way to the best shape of their lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks : an epic quest for reality among role players, online gamers, and other dwellers of imaginary realms / Ethan Gilsdorf.
“In an enthralling blend of travelogue, pop-culture analysis, and memoir, former role-player Gilsdorf asks gaming and fantasy geeks how they balance their escapist urges with the kingdom of adulthood.” (Syndetics summary)