Straight up: Recent sports books

Straight up by Ruby Tui has taken Aotearoa by storm, with people lining up outside bookshops to get their hands on a copy and The Spinoff declaring it the book of the year. Below you’ll find some other recent sports related additions to our collection, including: inspirational athlete memoirs, an exploration about the benefits of endurance sports on a person’s mindset and a list of the most epic cycling climbs around the world.

Straight up / Tui, Ruby
“After a childhood filled with neglect Ruby yearned for another path. Determined not to let her upbringing limit her, she survived abuse, drugs and tragedy to become one of the most successful women’s rugby players in the world. The explosion of women’s rugby on the global stage has matched the rise of Ruby’s stellar career, as she has grown with the game from amateur to professional. In Straight Up Ruby looks herself in the eye, understanding that she can turn pain into purpose. It’s time to be straight up.” (Catalogue)

Climb : the most epic cycling ascents in the world
“A beautifully-presented book showcasing the greatest, most epic cycling climbs in the world – including breathtaking photography, route maps and statistics. Explore 35 of the most notorious, gruelling cycling climbs the world has to offer, guided by the experts at Cyclist, the world’s biggest road cycling magazine.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The impossible : Rodney Mullen, Ryan Sheckler, and the fantastic history of skateboarding / Louison, Cole
“Skateboarding: the background, technicality, culture, rebellion, marketing, conflict, and future of the global sport as seen through two of its most influential geniuses Since it all began half a century ago, skateboarding has come to mystify some and to mesmerize many, including its tens of millions of adherents throughout America and the world.” ( Adapted from Catalogue)

Playing the long game : a memoir / Sinclair, Christine
“For the first time in depth and in public, Olympic soccer gold-medalist Christine Sinclair, the top international goal scorer of all time and one of Canada’s greatest athletes, reflects on both her exhilarating successes and her heartbreaking failures. Playing the Long Game is a book of earned wisdom on the value of determination and team spirit, and on leadership that changed the landscape of women’s sport.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Concussion / Lipman, Michael
“Concussion has become one of the biggest issues in contact sports. Only in the past decade have the consequences of repeated head knocks become better understood, and the science is still catching up. But with the discovery of CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in the brains of deceased footballers, it is now known that the onset of a form of dementia, caused by repeated concussions, can strike people as young as their thirties and forties.”–Publisher’s description.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

My sporting life : memories, moments and declarations / Parkinson, Michael
“This exciting new memoir charts legendary broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson’s love of cricket, football and family throughout his life. Reflecting on his sporting life, he touches on his relationship with the late Shane Warne, who he was the first to interview in long form, and recalls his friendship with the legends of sport. A keen sportsman himself, having played for the Yorkshire seconds and a lifelong Barnsley supporter, this memoir is a love letter to sport, full of heart and humour.” (Catalogue)

Go far : how endurance sports help you win at life / McConachie, Jennifer
“Run long. Climb high. Swim deep. Go far. The struggle to succeed and the drive to excel are at the heart of what makes someone into an endurance athlete. Their mindset-that of the adventurer, of the explorer, of the never-say-never-is what allows these athletes to go beyond the limits of what’s possible time and time again… both during and outside of events. Real life comes with its own set of challenges to meet, endure and overcome. GO FAR collects exhilarating stories from the worldwide endurance sports career of athlete Jennifer Strong McConachie, giving insight into her life philosophy and the principles that empower her success in ultrarunning, mountaineering, swimming, and more. The beginning of endurance, in sport and in life, is found in desire-not just to go, but to go far”–Publisher’s description.” (Catalogue)

Top 100 Non-Fiction books from 2022

Highlights of 2022

Our list of the top 100 non-fiction books for 2022 includes the best in memoirs and biographies, poetry, local history, science and technology, health, cooking, music, art and architecture. We’ve selected an eclectic mix of acclaimed local authors, New York Times Bestsellers, Pulitzer prize winners and breakthrough newcomers, meaning there’s plenty of choice for the deep-dive readers and coffee book lovers alike (and everyone in-between).

2022 Non-fiction Highlights — Browse the full list
Browse the full list with all our picks, or browse just the topic you enjoy!

I'm glad my mom died / Jeanette McCurdyMy fourth time, we drowned / Sally HaydenAs ever, the compelling human stories encompassing grief, love, personal trauma and strengths of character shine through, with a hearty selection of memoirs and biographies to choose from, including Sally Hayden’s critically acclaimed My fourth time, we drowned. Topping our most heavily reserved new non-fiction title of 2022 was Jennette McCurdy’s hit memoir I’m glad my mom died. A little further off the beaten path, was Hua Hsu’s ‘quietly wrenching’ coming-of-age memoir Stay True, and the visual delight of Kate Beaton’s graphic memoir Ducks: two years in the oil sands.

Contributions to the local poetry scene were beautifully espoused in Khadro Mohamed’s We’re all made of lightning and in the visual expressions of the poet/painter collaboration within Bordering on Miraculous. Shining locally likewise, the great architectural designs in Making Space and HomeGround, which highlight design as a conduits to push social boundaries in Aotearoa New Zealand communities.

Regenesis / by George MonbiotCalls for climate awareness were made riveting in The Alarmist, Nomad Century and Regenesis. Our oceans were also a focal point for many this year, and explored in great depth, with Jellyfish age backwards, Secrets of the Sea and in Adrift: the curious tale of Lego lost at sea, among others.

The collapse of historic empires, stories of divided nations and political parties in turmoil were explored in a multitude of ways in the vast array of global history titles featured on our list. Included are Legacy of Violence: A history of the British Empire by Pulitzer prize winning Historian Caroline Elkins, and Fragments of a contested past: Remembrance, denial and New Zealand history by Joanna Kidman.

Wawata: Moon Dreaming / by Hinemoa ElderWe let the world’s first astronomers take us on a star gazing tour, and found daily wisdom in Hinemoa Elder’s Wawata: Moon Dreaming. Cap off 2022 by allowing yourself to become enveloped in worlds both near and far, and understand our past, present and future within the Top 100 non-fiction books of 2022 list. Pair with our Top 100 fiction books list, and you’re all set for your Summer Reading Adventure.

Women In Sport

This week celebrations began in cities across Aotearoa and Australia, as the one-year countdown to the  2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup began. As Aotearoa ramps up to co-host the biggest competition in women’s sport, we take a look into our collection to highlight and celebrate the personal journeys, and storied histories of the women who achieve at the highest sporting levels.This curated collection of books and eBooks celebrates the visibility and empowerment of women, who set the benchmark ever-higher in their sporting professions. Learn about the extraordinary leadership, resilience and strengths exhibited by these women, who are driven to succeed and thrive in a predominantly male-oriented arena. Explore how women in sport are challenging gender-norms, defying harmful stereotypes, and inspiring the next generation of athletes to continue to reshape the changing landscape of popular sports.

Kicking off : how women in sport are changing the game / Shephard, Sarah
“There’s a battle being fought. It’s raging on the sports fields, in the newsrooms and behind the scenes at every major broadcaster. Women in sport are fighting for equality with more vigour than ever, but are they breaking down the barriers that stand in their way? Sarah Shephard looks behind the headlines to see whether progress is really being made and tells the stories that can no longer be ignored, to reveal the personal experiences of being at the top of the game.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Under the Lights and In the Dark, Gwendolyn Oxenham (ebook)
“From precarious positions in underfunded teams and leagues, to sold-out stadiums, Oxenham tells the stories of the phenoms, underdogs, and nobodies of women’s football – players willing to follow the game wherever it takes them. Whether you’re a newcomer to the sport or a die-hard fan, this is an inspiring book about stars’ beginnings and adventures, struggles and hardship, and, above all, the time-honored romance of the game.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Running hot / Tamati, Lisa
“Lisa Tamati was the first New Zealand woman to compete in the The Badwater ultramarathon through Death Valley in the United States, one of the world’s toughest races. But Lisa’s story is so much more than that one race. At the age of 19 she suffered a crippling back injury and was told she should give up running. She took that as a challenge and went on to run an unassisted crossing of the Libyan Desert. What happened in that desert would change the course of Lisa’s life and instill in her a love of desert running. Running Hot is a story of a life lived to the max – a story of challenges, setbacks, heartbreaks and triumph.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Game On, Sue Anstiss (ebook)
“Sport has an extraordinary, unique capacity to challenge and change society – to bring joy and hope; to improve physical and mental health, reduce loneliness and build self-esteem and happiness. In recent years, the landscape for women’s sport has finally begun to shift – we are now witnessing positive change as never before. Game On is a celebration of the trailblazing women opening doors for others and a manifesto for women’s sport – a rallying cry to ensure the progress we are currently seeing goes from strength to strength.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

The warm sun on my face : the story of women’s cricket in New Zealand / Auger, Trevor
“This is the story of women’s cricket in New Zealand, from its earliest humble origins to its glory days on the international stage. It is also the story of the women who have come to be recognised amongst the very best in the world at their sport. It is the story of a game played for the sheer love of it, and of the hard work of the dedicated souls who built and sustained women’s cricket, often in the face of challenge and adversity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Strong Like Her, Haley Shapley (ebook)
“Beautiful and powerful, Strong Like Her presents the awe-inspiring account of women’s athleticism throughout history. Part group biography, part cultural history, Shapley delves into the fascinating stories of our muscular foremothers, to celebrate strength in all its forms. Illuminating the lives and accomplish­ments of storied female sports stars, whose con­tributions to society go far beyond their entries in record books, Shapley challenges us to rethink everything we thought we knew about the power of women.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)