Sport has an amazing way of uniting and inspiring people from all over the world and there is always a game of something on somewhere. It’s currently footy final week here in Melbourne, the Rugby World Cup has just kicked off, the Ashes has just wound up and we are heading into the tennis season with the AO just around the corner. Which sport do you follow?
Some Monday mornings you need a little reminder to get on with things. Here’s one of our fav quotes from the uber cool Michael Jordan to help you start your week off the right way.
With so many amazing new books being released it can be daunting choosing one to buy Dad for Father’s Day. But fear not, we have had a poke around the literary world and have rounded up the hottest titles to buy Dad this September. So get your bookmark button ready and prepare to shop for Dad.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. Abandoned by his parents, brought up by his loving, strict and clearsighted grandmother, Elwood is about to enrol in the local black college. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy, which claims to provide ‘physical, intellectual and moral training’ which will equip its inmates to become ‘honorable and honest men’. In reality, the Nickel Academy is a chamber of horrors, where physical, emotional and sexual abuse is rife, where corrupt officials and tradesmen do a brisk trade in supplies intended for the school, and where any boy who resists is likely to disappear ‘out back’. Stunned to find himself in this vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold on to Dr King’s ringing assertion, ‘Throw us in jail, and we will still love you.’ But Elwood’s fellow inmate and new friend Turner thinks Elwood is naive and worse; the world is crooked, and the only way to survive is to emulate the cruelty and cynicism of their oppressors. The tension between Elwood’s idealism and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision which will have decades-long repercussions. Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great American novelist whose work is essential to understanding the current reality of the United States.
Brabham by Tony Davis
This is the story of Australia’s greatest motoring hero, and the dynasty he founded. Sir Jack Brabham was unique in the world of motor racing. He was the boy from Sydney who took on the elite of motor racing and won – not only three major F1 championships but the last one in a car he had built in his home country to his own specifications. To those who saw him on the podium, Jack Brabham might have seemed glorious and triumphant, but his story is full of pain, risk, snubs, endurance, wins, and losses. And only now is he gaining the recognition he deserves as someone who revolutionised Formula One. In 2017 he was inducted into the F1 Hall of Fame. Racing with greats including Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart and Bernie Ecclestone, he not only revolutionised Formula One he also encouraged others, such as Bruce McLaren. But he remained an outsider – a colonial. Now his sons want to revive the Brabham name and the Brabham brand. With interviews from those who raced with and against ‘Black Jack’, those who built cars with him, those who loved him, and those who crossed him, this is a brilliant and vivid portrait of a motor genius and the racing dynasty he founded.
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe
Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating, and storing; behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources. Dark Emu is a must read for anyone who wants to understand what Australia once was, or what it might yet be if we heed the lessons of long and sophisticated human occupation.
Bowraville by Dan Box
A true crime story cannot often be believed, at least at the beginning. In Bowraville, all three of the victims were Aboriginal. All three were killed within five months, between 1990 and 1991. The same white man was linked to each, but nobody was convicted. More than two decades later, homicide detective Gary Jubelin contacted Dan Box, asking him to pursue this serial killing. At that time, few others in the justice system seemed to know, or care, about the murders in Bowraville. Dan spoke to the families of the victims, Colleen Walker-Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, as well as the lawyers, police officers and even the suspect involved in what had happened. His investigation, as well as the families’ own determined campaigning, forced the authorities to reconsider the killings. This account asks painful questions about what ‘justice’ means and how it is delivered, as well as describing Dan’s own shifting, uncomfortable realisation that he was a reporter who crossed the line.
Good Girl Bad Girl by Michael Robotham
Six years ago, Evie Cormac was discovered, filthy and half-starved, hiding in a secret room in the aftermath of a shocking crime. Now approaching adulthood, Evie is damaged, self-destructive and has never revealed her true identity. Forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven, a man haunted by his own past, is investigating the death of champion figure-skater Jodie Sheehan. When Cyrus is called upon to assess Evie, she threatens to disrupt the case and destroy his ordered life. Because Evie has a unique and dangerous gift – she knows when someone is lying. And nobody is telling the truth. Good Girl Bad Girl is an unnerving psychological thriller from one of the greatest crime writers of today, Michael Robotham, bestselling author of The Other Wife and The Secret She Keeps.
The Yield by Tara June Winch
The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things- baayanha. Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind. August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river. Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.
It’s been a scorcher here in Melbourne…thank goodness it’s now the weekend and we can sit back and watch the finals of the Australian Open…with air-conditioning! Happy weekend everyone!
It’s no secret that sport is hugely popular in Australia as it is all over the world. With Summer in full swing here many Australians opt to take on the searing heat, load up cooler bags, grab picnic rugs and head outside to watch sport… any sport. Currently we have the tennis at the Australian Open in full swing, cricket balls being bowled with an impending game against Sri Lanka along with sailing, cycling, rugby, not to mention the Grand Prix coming up on the calendar at the tail end of the season.
With so many options, how on earth does one understand all of the rules, athletes and scandals? To help you with this, we have found a few fabulous titles that can give you an insight into the world of sport so you can hold your own in a conversation around the picnic rug.
First up, let’s look at sport in Australia…
Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport by Titus O’Reily
When it comes to sport, Australians are mad. Completely, irrationally insane. It’s the closest thing we have to a culture. From Don Bradman’s singular focus to Steven Bradbury’s heroic not falling over, sport has shaped our sense of self. But how did we get here? Part history, part social commentary and a lot of nonsense, Titus O’Reily, Australia’s least insightful sports writer, explains. Covering Australian Rules, League, Union, soccer, cricket, the Olympics and much more, Titus tackles the big topics, including; how not to cheat the salary cap, the importance of kicking people in the shins, and the many shortcomings of the English. Titus takes you through the characters, the pub meetings, the endless acronyms, the corruption and the alarming number of footballers caught urinating in public. Sport is important – gloriously stupid, but important. To understand Australia you must understand its sporting history. With this guide you sort of, kind of, will.
Fair Go, Sport by Peter FitzSimons
The idea for this book is simple. In the year when Australian cricketers have colluded to nakedly cheat, when attendance rates for all of soccer, rugby union and rugby league have either drifted or roared south, there is an obvious disaffection with modern sport and all the grubbiness that has come with it. Over the last 30 odd years, in articles and books, Peter FitzSimons has tried, among other things, to capture the best, most inspiring, and most heart-warming tales of sports, together with profiling the characters who gave us that magic – or at the very least, engaged us. One thing that became apparent over the years was that there was frequently more reaction for stories about unknowns, and golden greats of yesteryear rather than the modern big bird professionals. Fair Go, Sport is what he regards as the best of such tales. Most, but not all, are Australian based. Ideally, they represent the best of sport, or at least the most alluring, and inspirational, before the ‘serious-ification’ of the whole shebang started to squeeze the life out of it, on so many different levels at once. This is Fitzy at his passionate best. He reminds us that there really are good guys in sport, and that fair play still exists.
One for the Tennis fans…
Fedegraphica by Mark Hodgkinson
He may have just been knocked out of the Australian Open but he’s still our favourite player. Roger Federer’s incredible 2017 comeback which saw him winning Grand Slams in his mid-thirties and reaching new heights most had thought impossible has confirmed his place in the history books as the greatest male tennis player of all time. In this innovative graphic biography, Federer’s tennis is explored like never before: stunning graphics illustrate his serving patterns and superb footwork, detail the spin and speed of his shots, as well as showcase his astonishing records – no man has won more majors, or spent more weeks as the world number one. Drawing on Mark Hodgkinson’s conversations with the Swiss and exclusive interviews with those closest to him, this is the ultimate celebration of the genius of Roger Federer.
For the cricket lovers…
Crossing The Line by Gideon Haigh
`I’m not proud of what’s happened. Y’know, it’s not within the spirit of the game.’ Steve Smith was not to know it at Cape Town on 24 March 2018, but he was addressing his last press conference as captain of the Australian cricket team. By the next morning he would be swept from office by a tsunami of public indignation involving even the prime minister. In a unique admission, Smith confessed to condoning a policy of sandpapering the cricket ball in a Test against South Africa. He, the instigator David Warner, and their agent Cameron Bancroft returned home to disgrace and to lengthy bans. The crisis plunged Australian cricket into a bout of unprecedented soul searching, with Cricket Australia yielding to demands for reviews of the cricket team and of itself to restore confidence in their `culture’.
This is bound to make you chuckle. In Dan Liebke’s debut cricket book, The Instant Cricket Library, you’ll find excerpts from a number of remarkable cricket books, none of which you’ve ever read before -because none of them actually existed. There’s I, Pad, Shane Watson’s infamous manifesto arguing that the LBW Law should be abolished. There’s Out of My Ed, in which you’ll discover the truth about the real Ed Cowan. There’s a Banner-Man comic book, a Mitch Marsh play, and much more. They’re all part of the Instant Cricket Library. Imagine a world after a complete societal collapse. A big collapse, like Australia on a raging Chennai turner. In this dystopian future, all of the world’s cricket books have been destroyed. Nothing remains, not even the Steve Waugh autobiographies, which were previously believed to be impervious not just to casual readers, but to all known forms of physical damage. And yet, a hardy group of researchers search desperately for hints of what might have been lost. A title here. A snippet of text there. A tattered cover somewhere else. They gather all the clues they’ve discovered of the lost world of cricketing literature, and enter them into a hastily constructed supercomputer. Finally, with a burst of makeshift artificial intelligence, they extrapolate from those fragments and regenerate a complete cricket library in an instant. This instant cricket library is a marvel of resourcefulness, and a glorious tribute to the ingenuity and determination of humanity, even when faced with the most nightmarish and cricketless of futures. Just because a cricket book never existed doesn’t mean it’s not worth reading.
For the NBA diehards…
Who had the greatest dunk of all time? Which version of Michael Jordan was the best Michael Jordan? What is allowed and absolutely not allowed in a game of pickup basketball? Basketball and Other Things takes readers through the most pivotal and ridiculous fan disputes in basketball history, providing arguments and answers to basketball’s greatest questions, explained with the wit and wisdom that is unique to Shea Serrano. Serrano breaks down debates that all NBA fans have considered, from the classics (Which years was Kobe at his best?) to the fantastical (If you could assign different values to different shots throughout basketball history, what would they be and why?). With incredible art from Arturo Torres, this book is a must-have for anyone who has ever stayed up late into the night debating basketball’s greatest moments, what-ifs, stories, and legends.
And one for those that have been inspired by the athletes in your favourite sport…
Atomic Habits by James Clear
So this isn’t technically a sporting book, but it’s message is on point for all athletes, coaches and anyone with a goal.
An atomic habit is defined as a small habit with big results. People say when you want to change your life, you need to think big, swap jobs, move house, change partners. But they’re wrong. World-renowned habits expert James Clear has discovered a completely different way to transform your behaviour. He knows that lasting change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of tiny decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes early, or holding a single short phone call. He calls them atomic habits. In Atomic Habits, Clear delves into cutting-edge psychology to explain why your brain can amplify these small changes into huge consequences. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, or the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule), to show how you, too, turn minuscule shifts in behaviour into life-transforming outcomes. And he reveals a simple four-stage method that will let you build atomic habits into your day-to-day routine, starting now. These nuclear changes will have an explosive effect on your career, your relationships and your life.
When you look at sporting achievements over the last decades, it seems like humans have gotten faster, better and stronger in nearly every way. But is that really the case?
It’s the middle of summer here in Melbourne and with with that comes sport…a lot of sport. We really enjoy watching the tennis on hot summer evenings. Which sport do you get into over summer?
Summer is in full swing here in Melbourne which brings with it copious amounts of sport! This week on the blog we’ll share our top sporting books but for today we have one of our favourite quotes for you.
This is one of our favourite dad stereotypes out there. You’ll recognise them, especially if your dad is one, or your husband, or perhaps you. And their numbers are swelling at an alarming rate thanks to the Tour de France and it’s ridiculously long tv coverage time.
MAMILs are Middle Aged Men In Lycra who consider themselves a keen road cyclist, typically ride an expensive bike and wear the type of clothing which is generally associated with, and suits, professional cyclists…even though they are not.
So other than a bike, inner tubes or brightly coloured lycra, what can you buy the MAMIL for Father’s Day? Fear not, we have gathered a few literary suggestions for you…that’ll save you a trip to the bike shop.
The Modern MAMIL (Middle-aged Man in Lycra): A Cyclist’s A to Z by Spencer Wilson
There is a new breed emerging. They hunt in packs, dressed in unforgiving lycra. Their natural habitat is the local espresso bar, where they obsess about power-to-weight ratios and worship the latest high-tech road bikes. Desperate to shave a few milligrams for speed, they will spend thousands on anything made out of carbon – conveniently forgetting about their own waistlines. At night they dream they are Bradley Wiggins or Alberto Contador. They are the MAMILs, and they are taking over the world. The Modern MAMIL – a cyclist’s Notebook can be used as a training log, a place to record race dates, targets and route notes.
My Time: An Autobiography by Bradley Wiggins
On 22 July 2012 Bradley Wiggins made history as the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. Ten days later at the London Olympic Games he won the time trial to become his country’s most decorated Olympian. In an instant `Wiggo’, the kid from Kilburn, was a national hero. Two years previously, however, Wiggins had been staring into the abyss. His much-hyped attempt to conquer the 2010 Tour de France had ended in public humiliation. Poor results and indifferent form left him facing the sack from Team Sky. And then he was hit with the tragic news of the death of his granddad, George, the man who had raised him as a young boy. At rock bottom, Wiggins had to reach deep inside himself and find the strength to fight his way back. Outspoken, honest, intelligent and fearless, Wiggins has been hailed as the people’s champion. In My Time he tells the story of the remarkable journey that led him from his lowest ebb to win the world’s toughest race. In his own words he reveals the personal anguish that has driven him on and what it’s like behind the scenes at Team Sky: the brutal training regimes, the sacrifices and his views on his teammates and rivals. He talks too about his anger at the spectre of doping that pursues his sport, how he dealt with the rush of taking Olympic gold and above all what it takes to be the greatest.
The Cycling Jersey by Oliver Knight
Aside from the bikes themselves, the jersey – maillot or maglia – has become the most iconic symbol of cycling’s history, its proud teams and preeminent riders and most recently its fashion. There is a booming collectors market for vintage jerseys, and the finest quality traditional and retro manufacturers including De Marchi, Castelli and Rapha and are registering huge increases in sales. Sir Paul Smith features jerseys in his collections and designs them for the Grand Tours.
The Cycling Jersey is the result of one man’s passion for a piece of kit that defines cyclists the world over. Naturally the book has wonderful pictures of cycling jerseys (and lots of them), all presented in large, glossy, and colourful splendour.
Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder by Dave Barter
This is an anthology of thirty articles written by an amateur cyclist over a period of ten years. The collection exhibits the madness that engulfs those who descend into cycling obsession, celebrating the average cyclist living in a world defined by the pros. The writings range from fanciful musings concerning the Tao of single speeding to lengthy descriptions of end-to-end rides in Britain and Ireland. Mountain biking, road cycling and all sorts of other cycling events are chronicled along the way. Each is written in a lighthearted style designed to bring the reader into the author’s world which is often littered with incident and humour. Within the pages the reader will find a loose ticklist of events to ride, bikes to own and challenges to take on. Each described in the author’s own inimitable style.
And for the MAMIL who has no time to read, but will pop his bike up onto rollers in front of the tv we’ve found two great DVDs to gift.
During the week, they are white-collar professionals with responsible jobs, families and mortgages. Come the weekend, they transform into Lycra-clad super heroes; road warriors on expensive carbon framed bikes traveling in packs and competing with other males for dominance in the group. MAMIL is a feature length documentary that dares to enter this secret world of middle-aged men to uncover the reasons they take to the road. Narrated by Tour de France and cycling commentator, Phil Liggett.
Road To Roubaix is a documentary on the most prestigious one-day cycling race in the world, Paris-Roubaix. First held in 1896, the race is a gruelling contest over 160 miles of narrow, cobbled farm roads in the Picardie and Norde-Pas-de-Calais regions of France with a finish in the historic Roubaix velodrome. Road to Roubaix is a visual narrative of an old-school, bare-knuckle clash of the finest athletes in the world with each other and one of the world’s most unforgiving sporting environments. The filmmakers tell the story of the riders, the fans, the mechanics, and the unpredictable landscape that is the setting for the Paris-Roubaix.
Happy Father’s Day to all of the MAMIL Dads!
Global media has had a field day of late with scandals behind recent book releases. One was a podcast, which was aiming to celebrate US author Roxane Gay, that went horribly wrong – global headline-making wrong.
Another began with a Facebook post share that angered men’s rights activists, and ended with more than 2000 people showing their support to a popular independent bookstore in Brisbane.
Then, unsurprisingly, there was sport and politics…
Hunger by Roxane Gay
The day before this book was to be released Roxane Gay heard the introduction to the Mia Freedman Mamamia podcast in which she was described as “super-morbidly obese” and also made a series of sensational claims about the “planning” that went into accommodating Gay such as “Will she fit into the office lift?”. The following day, Hunger was released amid global headlines about the incident with Mamamia, including from The New York Times, Washington Post and The Guardian, as well as equivalent women’s websites in the US. Gay tweeted: “Today was supposed to be about my new book. That is what I wanted. And then an Australian website made today painful.”
So what is the book about?
In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past -including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life- and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.
With the bracing candour, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved -in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.
Fight Like a Girl by Clementine Ford
One Monday morning, West End’s Avid Reader (an independent bookstore) shared a post by feminist writer Clementine Ford who announced she had signed a contract with her publisher for a new book to be published next year.
The social media post was going smoothly until men’s rights activists started bombarding the Facebook page with one star reviews.
So what is the book about?
Online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere, Clementine Ford is a beacon of hope and inspiration to thousands of Australian women and girls. Her incendiary debut Fight Like A Girl is an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Crucially, it is a call to arms for all women to rediscover the fury that has been suppressed by a society that still considers feminism a threat.
Bomber The Whole Story by Mark Thompson
After 34 years in the game, Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson stepped away from AFL footy following the Essendon drugs scandal but not before the press discussed it every week for over a year.
So what is the book about?
Mark Thompson has had more than his fair share of challenges and dramas in his career. He’s been part of five premierships: three as a player at Essendon where he was coached by the best and two at Geelong where he coached that club’s greatest team of all. He exited the game amid the Essendon supplements scandal with unfinished business. After 34 years ‘at a thousand kilometres an hour’, Thompson has taken the opportunity to reflect on the game that shaped him and to reveal the personal cost of his involvement at the top level. We ride the bumps of the coaches’ box, the boardroom and the press conferences as Mark Thompson handles things his own way. He talks about his mentors, his protégés and contemporaries with insight and candour. And he reveals the development of what became his trademark as a successful coach: building a team from the ground up to play defence-first accountable footy, with kamikaze ball movement, under a teacher-mentor relationship. This is as good a book about football as you’ll get, from a purist who is not interested in the politics of the AFL. His legacy is some of the greatest footy to be played in the modern era. ‘I hate group-think, it’s just not my style. I have never been part of any boy’s club in footy. I have been an independent going right back to my youth . . . I make no apologies for saying what I think. It is my story, after all.’
The Road to Ruin by Niki Savva
From buttock-slapping to pushing the PM’s wife out of the picture, this was the book political junkies have been salivating over and Tony Abbott loyalists had been fearing.
Former Liberal staffer and journalist Niki Savva’s explosive account of the former prime minister’s downfall, Road to Ruin: How Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin Destroyed Their Own Government, made headlines with its revelations about the pair facing affair rumours and the former chief of staff’s temper.
So what is the book about?
In The Road to Ruin , Niki Savva reveals the ruinous behaviour of former prime minister Tony Abbott and his chief of staff, Peta Credlin. Based on her unrivalled access to their colleagues, and devastating first-person accounts of what went on behind the scenes, Savva paints an unforgettable picture of a unique duo who wielded power ruthlessly but not well.