Book Pairings for Olympic Sports
When you're watching the most fit people on the planet compete for love and glory in Rio, you need a good book to really help you settle into the couch.
And just as with fine wines and meals, you need the right book to pair with the right sport! Here are some book pairings for the top three most popular and the bottom three least popular events, as determined by the IOC.
Most Popular Events
Nimble and quick and complex; short, fragmented fiction that makes you think.
- Little Girls in Pretty Boxes by Joan Ryan
- So Much for That Winter by Dorthe Nors
- Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
Powerful, methodical works of nonfiction that show persistence pays off.
- Swim: Why We Love the Water by Lynn Sherr
- Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
- No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal
Athletics (a.k.a. Track & Field)
Linked short stories, all different but with a thread of commonality.
- Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
- Beasts and Children by Amy Parker
- Triburbia by Karl Taro Greenfeld
Least Popular Events
Graphic novels for adults: Cool books that don’t get nearly enough attention.
- On the Jump of the Ancient Pentathlon by John Mouratidis
- Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughn
- Chew by John Layman
Long classics that take patience and hard work.
- On Golf: The Game, the Players, and a Personal History of Obsession by Timothy O'Grady
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
Offbeat science fiction in a world that plays by its own rules.
- Odd-Shaped Balls: Mischief-Makers, Miscreants and Mad-Hatters of Rugby by John Scally
- Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
- The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.
Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!