I’ll be the first to admit — I’m not a huge sports fan. I like baseball games, but mainly for the hotdogs, beer and “doing the wave.” I’ve never actually watched a hockey match. And when people refer to Luongo, I just pretend I know who he is. (I’m pretty sure he’s on the Canucks, right?)
But when it comes to the Olympics, I can’t resist that spirit of global community and competition. And luckily for us readers, several recently released novels focus on the art of sport. Here are a few I’d recommend:
Gold, by Chris Cleave
From the bestselling author of Little Bee comes this tale of two friends competing for gold in London. Zoe and Kate are world-class cyclists who have been friends and rivals since their first day of elite training years ago. Now, the two must compete for the one remaining spot on their 2012 Olympics team. In doing so, the women will be tested to their physical, mental and emotional limits.
Running the Rift, by Naomi Benaron
Naomi Benaron’s debut novel follows Rwandan Jean Patrick Nkuba, a Tutsi, from his earliest dreams of becoming his country’s first Olympic medal contender in track, to the moment when he finds himself facing a mob of killers, with no choice but to vault over a wall and run for his life. Benaron interweaves Rwanda’s politics, the beauty of its landscape, and the yearning and dedication of Jean Patrick himself into a tremendously moving story of the country and the character’s unraveling and tentative new beginning.
The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach
College baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.
Swimming, by Nicola Keegan
Keegan takes on death, religion, relationships and coming-of-age in her debut about a rising Olympic swimming star.