I've always been a huge fan of the Olympics. The ceremony, the athleticism, the romantic idea that every four years the world comes together. If you're gearing up for this year's Olympic Games in Rio, here are some top picks to check out.
In The Games: A Global History Of The Olympics, David Goldblatt gives a comprehensive view of over a hundred years of Olympic Games. He goes beyond history and medal counts to discuss political tensions and international conflicts that have played out in the games, as well as the hard-won changing attitudes about race, ethnicity and gender, and the start of the Paralympics.
The Three-year Swim Club by Julie Checkoway is the true and inspiring story of a grammar school teacher in Maui who took a group of poor Hawaiian children and coached them into Olympic swimmers. You'll be rooting for them as their dream is delayed—twice—because world events of the 1940s caused the games to be canceled, and holding your breath for them to succeed. Besides, who doesn't love an underdog?
Gymnastics is my favorite event at the Summer Olympics. I'm a total sucker for watching tiny humans propel themselves into the air and perform tricks that take my breath away. In The End of the Perfect 10, Dvora Meyers charts the evolution of gymnastics from Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10 in 1976 to the current open-ended system whose endless possibility Simone Biles is poised to demonstrate in Rio.
Who's your favorite Olympian? Let us know in the comments.