In the spirit of the London Olympics, here are 5 books you absolutely have to read. They blend a spirit of adventure with athleticism and human drama in a way that’ll have you cheering all the way through.
1. DREAM TEAM by Jack McCallum: Remember how much you loved the Dream Team back in the day? And how you still get excited when you hear news about MJ, Magic, Bird or any of the rest of them? The nostalgic in you will have a field day with this book, and the gossip-monger in you will not be able to resist the exclusive juicy tidbits we get about each of the players in this incredible team.
Read this if…: you haven’t been able to stop watching Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, or Kobe Bryant this Olympics.
2. THE MIGHT HAVE BEEN by Joseph Schuster: Edward Everett Yates has been in the minor leagues for the past ten years, just waiting for his chance to make it big. So, when he gets a call from the St. Louis Cardinals, it seems like his dreams are about to come true. But then something goes horribly wrong, and Edward must figure out what comes next and how to rise above his pain and disappointment. A really inspiring story about dreams and determination.
Read this if…: you want to know what happens after Olympians like Liu Xiang (Chinese hurdler) or Alex Danson (British field hockey player) find their dreams dashed by major injuries.
3. IMPERFECT by Jim Abbott and Tim Brown: Jim Abbott pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees, which in and of itself is pretty amazing. But what makes this even more remarkable is that he did it with only one hand. Born without a right hand, Jim still rose through the baseball ranks to become one of the most memorable and humble guys in the sport, and if you want an inspiring story of triumph over adversity, this is a must-read.
Read this if…: you tune into the Olympics for the heartwarming stories. Did you tear up when you heard about how Irish gymnast Kieran Behan, who had been told he would never walk again, competed in London this year? Did you cheer louder than anyone else when Oscar Pistorius was running the 400-meter qualifier? If so, this book’s for you.
4. THE DEEP ZONE by James M. Tabor: Microbiologist Hallie Leland must venture into the world’s deepest cave to retrieve the only organism that might be able to stave off a deadly epidemic raging in Afghanistan. Dodging danger left, right, and center, Hallie must put her athleticism and wits to the test as she explores a supercave that might just kill her.
Read this if…: you’re all about the aggressive/deadly sports in the Olympics. Can’t get enough of shooting, archery, judo, and fencing? This book’s perfect for you.
5. THE EIGHTY-DOLLAR CHAMPION by Elizabeth Letts: Harry de Leyer saved a horse, Snowman, from the slaughterhouse, working alongside him against all odds to take him to the top of the show-jumping field in Cold War-era America. In turns heartwarming and awe-inspiring, this is the story of a duo that made people believe anything was possible.
Read this if…: your favorite Olympics event is equestrian-related. Obvi.
I came to know the Beatles through the more kid-friendly stuff. My father, fiercely invested in avoiding kid music in the car at all costs, was shrewd enough to not start me off with “Tomorrow Never Knows” or “Revolution #9.” He went with the mid-period Beatles, the Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour Beatles, fun and candy-colored and full of drug references his son wouldn’t understand until his older sisters explained them to him minutes later. Growing older, I went back in time, and listened to the Beatles at the Cavern Club, and the ramshackle early albums, some full of cover songs. There’s a different energy to those, a band that burned quick and furious, here today, possibly gone tomorrow. Those mid-period Beatles knew that the public wanted another album, that their days in vans were over, and they could take the craft and art acquired thus far and, as good artists do, experiment. Compare Goodfellas Scorsese with Mean Streets Scorsese. It’s a fascinating and worthwhile exercise, when you really get into any type of artist, to go back and look at those earliest works.
A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.
We’d be down for an office redesign if it looked like this…
Janet Evanovich’s WICKED BUSINESS is on sale today, and we thought we’d honor the occasion with a special giveaway. Follow @BBD_Suspense on Twitter and use #WinWicked to enter for a chance to win a copy of WICKED BUSINESS. Just be sure to get your entry in before midnight tonight. Good luck and happy reading!
Name: Andy Barber
Defining Character Trait: Unshakeable faith in his family.
Physical Description: In his forties, healthy, looks good in a suit.
Achilles Heel: Genes like a bad penny.
Actor Who Would Play Him in a Movie: Gregory Peck, of course.
Theme Song: The Clash cover of “I Fought the Law.”
Weapon of Choice: His knowledge of due process and the court system.
Why He’s Perfect for Father’s Day: Come on. We live in the real world. If any one of us got into trouble, we’d want a dad on our side who knew how to protect us by keeping every available inch of the law on our side, but also was willing (if need be) to step outside those lines every now and again. Andy Barber exemplifies what it means to be a family man.
[Father’s Day is fast-approaching, and what better gift than a book or series with a character who was made just for your dad? This week, we’ll be profiling our own characters so you can find one that fits your dad’s style most. And on Friday, we’ll have a poll to decide which character would win out against all the others in a Thriller Throwdown.]
Name: Jack Reacher
Defining Character Trait: Brains. Brawn. So as long as I’m already pulling out two, I’ll add agility at getting himself into, and punching his way out of, risky situations.
Physical Description: Picture the Hulk, but less green. And angrier.
Achilles Heel: When we discover one, we’ll let you know, assuming he doesn’t destroy it first.
Actor Who Would Play Him In A Movie: Tom Cruise, only because I don’t have a) my SAG card or b) muscle tone.
Theme Song: For quieter moments: “Gymnopédies – No.1” by Erik Satie. For when fists of fury start flying: “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran.
Weapon of Choice: Everyone else’s physical inferiority.
Why He’s Perfect for Father’s Day: The consummate manly man, Jack Reacher also avoids as many fights as he gets into, giving ample warning to would-be toughs. He’s loyal to a ludicrous degree, putting himself in harm’s way to protect others, and finishing every mission he takes on. He also teaches the value of being patient, being vigilant, and good dental hygiene. And, were Jack Reacher your father, you can be assured that you’d be correct in telling others that your dad can beat up their dad.
Some great BBD suspense/thriller titles were on the list this week:
PRINT HARDCOVER FICTION
4. THE COLUMBUS AFFAIR by Steve Berry
PRINT MASS-MARKET FICTION
1. EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN by Janet Evanovich
PRINT HARDCOVER & PAPERBACK (COMBINED)
9. EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN by Janet Evanovich
11. THE COLUMBUS AFFAIR by Steve Berry
PRINT CHILDREN’S CHAPTER BOOKS
6. RAILSEA by China Miéville
9. THE COLUMBUS AFFAIR by Steve Berry
13. SNATCHED by Karin Slaughter
COMBINED PRINT & EBOOK FICTION
7. THE COLUMBUS AFFAIR by Steve Berry
16. SNATCHED by Karin Slaughter
19. EXPLOSIVE EIGHTEEN by Janet Evanovich