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Olympic Reads

August 6, 2012

No, I’m not talking about Michener-sized books that could be used as a boat anchor—but books that might keep that exciting Olympic-sports-feeling going long after the closing ceremonies in London.

You might want to check out Gold by Chris Cleave. Zoe Castle and Kate Meadows, British cyclists and best friends, are both gunning for gold at the 2012 London games—but of course, there’s only one gold. Kate’s hubby, Jack, is a contender for the men’s Great Britain team at these games as well, but it’s their daughter, Sophie, who steals the show—and provides the heart for this Olympic-themed novel. Lots of suspense, twists and turns and, of course, breakneck velodrome action.

Another winner is The Underwater Window by Dan Stephenson (not be confused with hunky Dan Stevens who plays Matthew Crawley on Downton Abbey…) Two swimmers, Archie Hayes and Doyle Wilson, are after Olympic gold —and as fate would have it—they’re best friends as well! (See any trends, here?)

My final pick is The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. Okay. Baseball may no longer be an Olympic sport, but Harbach’s debut novel creates the same frenetic energy-rush as both of the books above. It has great characters, tons of heart and more than a few surprises in store for readers as well.

Besides the obvious sports metaphors for life (teamwork, winning, commitment, persistence, etc.) all three of these novels cover some weighty themes such as success and failure—and the fear of both, “perfectionism” vs. “excellence”, friendship, and sacrifice. These common themes not only make them fun to read, but also would provide great discussion topics for book groups!

Will you miss cheering on your Team USA favorites? Think you’ll have a hard time letting go of the spunky team of Misty May-Treaner & Kerry Walsh Jennings, the cocky (but quite handsome) Ryan Lochte, and the darling Gabby Douglas when the Olympic flame leaves London? Afraid of losing that daily adrenaline charge?  What books would you recommend to keep the Olympic flame alive (if only in your reading life)? Let me know—I’d love to hear from you.



(Photo credits: Gabby Douglas: AP Photo/Gregory Bull; Misty May-Treaner & Kerry Walsh Jennings: Glamour; Ryan Lochte: Pop on the; Olympic Logo:

Disclaimer: I received advanced readers copies of these books from the publishers for review, however, the opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own. I do not receive any compensation for any feature or recommendation that appears on my website or recommendation I make to my book clubs. I am a member of Amazon Associates program, which means that I get a small amount of money if you buy a book using my links. So far, I’ve earned enough to buy a bag of Meow Mix® for Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid—so keep your clicks coming—they’d like some Greenies®, too…You can review my entire Book Features & Book Club Recommendation Policy on my website at


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