Tennis legend Billie Jean King isn’t just a pioneer of women’s tennis, she’s a pioneer for women getting paid. In this freewheeling Ted Talk, she talks about identity, the role of sports in social justice and the famous Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs.
Hold onto your hats, can you believe it is now September? That means it’s Father’s Day on Sunday which makes it that time of year when we all celebrate the father figures in our lives and take time to see, chat, or simply remember them. It’s also traditionally the highest selling month for socks (no idea if that’s actually true but based on my Dad’s sock drawer when we were growing up, it’s probably about 90% true).
If you’re looking to give Dad something a little different this year, we have some great suggestions for you. If you are worried about a gift arriving in time, you could always buy an ebook version for his e-reader, an audio book, send a voucher or simply make sure you’re shopping locally (here’s a reminder of how to shop for books locally here).
Finally, if your family is based in Melbourne, which is currently under Stage 4 restrictions, do take a look at Click for Vic where there are a ton of great local stores that can deliver a gift, food hamper or tasty beverage straight to Dad’s front door.
Here are our picks for the Top Reads for Dad this Father’s Day:
The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you. Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed on 9 November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on the Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country. Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the ‘happiest man on earth’. Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.
The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant
Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant gives us a lavish, deep dive inside the mind of one of the most revered athletes of all time. In the wake of his retirement from professional basketball, Kobe “The Black Mamba” Bryant shared his vast knowledge and understanding of the game and took readers on an unprecedented journey to the core of the legendary “Mamba mentality.” Citing an obligation and an opportunity to teach young players, hardcore fans, and devoted students of the game how to play it “the right way,” The Mamba Mentality takes us inside the mind of one of the most intelligent, analytical, and creative basketball players ever.
Bryant reveals his famously detailed approach and the steps he took to prepare mentally and physically to not just succeed at the game, but to excel. Readers will learn how Bryant studied an opponent, how he channeled his passion for the game, how he played through injuries. They’ll also get fascinating granular detail as he breaks down specific plays and match-ups from throughout his career.
Bryant’s detailed accounts are paired with stunning photographs by the Hall of Fame photographer Andrew D. Bernstein. The combination of Bryant’s narrative and Bernstein’s photos make The Mamba Mentality an unprecedented look behind the curtain at the career of one of the world’s most celebrated and fascinating athletes.
Pops by Michael Chabon
For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son Abraham Chabon, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Possessed with a precocious sense of style, Abe was in his element chatting with designers he idolised and turning a critical eye to the freshest runway looks of the season; Chabon Sr., whose interest in clothing stops at “thrift-shopping for vintage western shirts or Hermès neckties,” sat idly by, staving off yawns and fighting the impulse that the whole thing was a massive waste of time. Despite his own indifference, however, what gradually emerged as Chabon ferried his son to and from fashion shows was a deep respect for his son’s passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. With the GQ story as its centerpiece, and featuring six additional essays plus an introduction, Pops illuminates the meaning, magic, and mysteries of fatherhood as only Michael Chabon can.
Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
Utopia Avenue might be the most improbable British band you’ve never heard of. Emerging from London’s psychedelic scene in 1967, folksinger Elf Holloway, blues bassist Dean Moss, guitar virtuoso Jasper de Zoet and jazz drummer Griff Griffin together created a unique sound, with lyrics that captured their turbulent times. The band produced only two albums in two years, yet their legacy lives on. This is the story of Utopia Avenue’s brief, blazing journey from Soho clubs and draughty ballrooms to the promised land of America, just when the Summer of Love was receding into something much darker – a kaleidoscopic tale of dreams, drugs, love, madness and grief; of stardom’s wobbly ladder and fame’s Faustian pact; and of the collision between idealism and reality as the Sixties drew to a close. Above all, this captivating novel celebrates the power of music to connect across divides, define an era and thrill the soul.
Tea and Scotch with Bradman by Roland Perry
In 1995, journalist and author Roland Perry wrote to Sir Donald Bradman requesting an interview for a biography he was planning of the great cricketer. Surprisingly, the Don agreed. It was the start of a conversation that continued for years, during which the real Bradman shone, not only as a great sportsman but musician, brilliant thinker and humourist with a fondness for tea and a Scotch or two. In Tea and Scotch with Bradman, Perry paints an intimate and revealing portrait of the man many regard as the greatest Australian cricketer of all time.
Catapults and Key Hooks by Geoffrey Fisher
Whether building a bee hotel or an insect house to help your garden’s ecosystem thrive, crafting a catapult, whistle, skipping rope or cup and ball game to give away, or making a key hook or table brush to organise your home, the result of each will be entirely unique while also effortlessly stylish. All basic woodworking techniques are covered, plus Geoffrey Fisher also shows how best to prepare materials, including checking for disease, drying and stripping bark, and gives a detailed guide on your essential tool kit – what to have, how to handle your tools safely and how to maintain everything to the highest standard meaning anyone can pick up Catapults & Key Hooks and dive straight into the world of Geoffrey’s designs.
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!
They say sport is a universal language: it bridges divides between race, religion and culture. The ability to achieve a goal through skill, persistence and team work is lauded in many modern societies. Here are our collection of new sporting titles to satiate the most fervent sporting fan.
The Game: A Collection of the best AFL Stories, edited by Dennis Cometti
If there is someone equipped to write about the best AFL stories (both on and off the field) over the past 10 years, it’s Dennis Cometti. As one of the most respected sports broadcasters in Australian history, Cometti and writers such as Greg Baum, Caroline Wilson, Martin Flanagan, Rohan Connolly, Emma Quayle and Jake Niall examine the characters, moments and champions that have impacted the game in modern history.
The Greatest – My Own Story by Muhammad Ali
The life and recent passing of boxing great Muhammad Ali has had an impact on sporting and non-sporting fans alike. However, while we all witnessed the glory of ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’ or ‘The Thrilla in Manila’ , only Muhammad Ali knew his life as he lived it. The Greatest is Ali’s own story. For six years he worked, traveled and talked with Richard Durham, a writer with a stunning talent, and the result is mesmerizing in its brilliance, drama, humanity and sheer entertainment.
My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey
“The fight is yours to win”. This is The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller. An Olympic medalist in Judo and #2 ranked UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey had a difficult path to glory. A childhood marked with speech problems and loss, she pushed her mind and body to the limit in pursuit of victory. My Fight/Your Fight is about showing us all how we can turn our limitations into opportunities. An inspiring read.
This Road I Ride by Juliana Buhring
In December 2012, Juliana Buhring became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by bicycle. With only a few months of training and little sponsorship, support, or money she left from Naples on 23 July 2012. 18,060 miles, 152 days, 4 continents, 19 countries, 29 punctures, 4 breakdowns, 6 mountains, 1 desert and a cyclone later, she made it back just days before Christmas with a Guinness World Record, proving that anyone can achieve the extraordinary. Discover a story of adventure, blood, sweat and gears.
Life As I Know It by Michelle Payne
First put on a horse at age four and at 5 declaring she would win the Melbourne cup, Michelle Payne is no overnight success story. Riding into history as the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup, she and her 100-to-1 local horse Prince of Penzance took the international racing world by surprise. Michelle’s story is about hope triumphing over
adversity, and how resilience and character made a winner.
What happened at Essendon, what happened at Cronulla, is only part of the story. From the basement office of a suburban football club to the seedy corners of Peptide Alley to the polished corridors of Parliament House, The Straight Dope is an inside account of the politics, greed and personal feuds which fuelled an extraordinary saga. Clubs and coaches determined to win, a sports scientist who doesn’t play by the rules, a generation of footballers held hostage by scandal and injected with who knows what, sport administrators hell bent on control, an anti-doping authority out of its depth, an unpopular government that just wants it to enda for two tumultuous seasons this was the biggest game in Australia.
Many of the world’s great writers have been drawn to writing about sport. They make for great reads: high drama, human tension, effort, payoff, win or lose. Here are our top 5 recommended reads for classic sports action:
Beyond a Boundary by CLR James
In C. L. R. James’s classic Beyond a Boundary, the sport is cricket and the scene is the colonial West Indies. Always eloquent and provocative, James–the “black Plato,” (as coined by the London Times)–shows us how, in the rituals of performance and conflict on the field, we are watching not just prowess but politics and psychology at play. Part memoir of a boyhood in a black colony (by one of the founding fathers of African nationalism), part passionate celebration of an unusual and unexpected game, Beyond a Boundary raises, in a warm and witty voice, serious questions about race, class, politics, and the facts of colonial oppression. Originally published in England in 1963 and in the United States twenty years later (Pantheon, 1983), this second American edition brings back into print this prophetic statement on race and sport in society.
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
A famous account of growing up to be a fanatical football supporter. Told through a series of match reports, FEVER PITCH has enjoyed enormous critical and commercial success since it was first published in 1992. It has helped to create a new kind of sports writing, and established Hornby as one of the finest writers of his generation.
Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team & A Dream by H G Bissinger
Return once again to the enduring account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa — the most successful high school football team in Texas history.
King of the World by David Remnick
Explores the transformation of a young boxer into an internationally renowned athlete, mythic hero, American icon, and central figure in the twentieth century’s social, cultural, and racial conflicts
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Follows Peekay, a white British boy in South Africa during World War II, between the ages of five and eleven, as he survives an abusive boarding school and goes on to succeed in life and in the boxing ring.
The sporting autobiography is often about the motivation, the sacrifice and the drive that it takes to succeed at such high levels of professional sport. We have included 5 of our favourites, including some controversial characters:
Keane: The Autobiography by Roy Keane
Roy Keane, captain of Manchester United and the Irish national team, was born in Cork in 1971. He signed for Manchester United from Nottingham Forest in 1993. In 2000 he was awarded the PFA Player of the Year 2000. His footballing intelligence and fierce determination helped Ireland to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. But his passion has sometimes given rise to the wrong kind of headlines. His commitment to winning has led to violent confrontation on the pitch and controversy off it.
Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi
A candid memoir by the tennis champion includes coverage of his Grand Slam wins, establishment of a charitable foundation for underprivileged children and marriage to Stefanie Graf.
Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey by Mark Webber
In the exhilarating, high-stakes world of Formula One, only the fastest make it to the top. And no one knows this better than Australian Formula One legend Mark Webber. His career in F1 stretched for an incredible eleven years, seeing him garner thirteen poll positions, earn forty-two podiums and win nine races including the crown jewel of F1, the Monaco Grand prix, twice. But there’s more than F1 to the story of the boy from Queanbeyan. In this candid book, Webber divulges the personal struggles that formed his Aussie grit character and reveals for the first time what really went down at Red Bull and the truth behind his rivalry with teammate Sebastian Vettel. From his near career-ending injury in 2008, his breakthrough ‘not bad for a number two driver’ win in 2009 to the ‘Multi 21’ controversy of 2011 and his new beginning with Porsche and the challenge of Le Mans 2014, Mark Webber pulls no punches in this captivating, personal story.
Surf for your Life by Mick Fanning
Two-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning may only be twenty-eight, but he’s already experienced more than most of us ever will. How does it feel to lose a brother? Win a world title? Rip your hamstring muscle clean off the bone? Weave through a zippering Superbank barrel for twenty to thirty seconds or paddle over the ledge at places like Pipeline and Teahupo’o?
KP: The Autobiography by Kevin Pieterson
The fascinating life story of professional cricketer Kevin Pietersen, MBE, from his childhood in South Africa to his recent experiences as one of the leading lights in the world of international cricket. Kevin was dropped from the England squad in February of this year, seemingly calling time on an international career that began nearly ten years earlier.
There are lots of different types of dads: the sporty, the thrill seeker, and the foodie (amongst others). Whatever type of dad your dad is, we have the book for him. Here are our top 5 picks for Father’s Day:
The New Dad
Your baby’s first word will be . . . “Dada!” Right? Everyone knows that fathers wage a secret campaign to ensure that their babies’ first word is “Dada!” But how does it work? One of the most popular entertainers in the world and NBC’s The Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon, shows you how.
From the mythical heart of Greece to the fruits of the Black Sea coast; from Croatian and Albanian flavours to the spices and aromas of Turkey and beyond – the cuisine of the Eastern Mediterranean is a vibrant melting pot brimming with character. Accompanying the major BBC Two series, Rick Stein: From Venice to Istanbul includes over 100 spectacular recipes discovered by Rick during his travels in the region.
The Thrill Seeker:
The world’s bestselling thriller writer teams up with Australia’s bestselling crime writer for the latest action-packed instalment of the PRIVATE series.
Even for Private Investigations, the world’s top detective agency, it’s tough to find a man who doesn’t exist . . .Craig Gisto has promised Eliza Moss that his elite team at Private Sydney will investigate the disappearance of her father. After all, as the CEO of a high-profile research company, Eric Moss shouldn’t be difficult to find. Except it’s not just the man who’s gone missing, all evidence he ever existed has vanished too. And there are powerful figures pulling the strings who want Moss to stay ‘lost’. But when a woman is found brutally murdered and a baby is missing, Private is suddenly drawn into another frantic search. And this is a case Craig has to throw everything into, because he may well be responsible for sending the killer straight to the victim’s door . . .
The Sporting Fan:
A portrait of Michael Long, the man who changed the AFL. In 1995, Aboriginal footballer Michael Long gave the AFL its ‘Mandela moment’. He quietly revolutionised Australian sport by refusing to let a racial insult pass during the Anzac Day match between Essendon and Collingwood. When the majority white football public backed a black man against a white institution (the AFL), the culture of the game flipped and the AFL became a leader in Australian race relations.
The Quirky Dad:
The director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin presents a collection of uproarious and intimate conversations with some of today’s most popular comedians, drawing on his teenage radio hosting days to include pieces from the early years, in a book that includes interviews with such names as Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Sandra Bernhard.