Monday, 25 June 2012

Racing Through the Dark: The fall and rise of David Millar

Racing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David MillarRacing Through the Dark: The Fall and Rise of David Millar by David Millar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A well-written inside view of doping culture in professional cycling. Also, the book provides a look into the life and mindset of a professional athlete. Millar admits:

[B]eing a professional athlete's partner or relative is not easy because we live very selfish, goal-oriented lives.

Although we're often at home, we are rarely actually there,
our heads being wrapped up in whatever our next sporting objective may be. At times the self-absorption is taken to the point of obsession. Life boils down to the cycle of racing, training, eating, resting, dieting.

And if one of those functions isn't going well, the subsequent
neurosis leads to misery. The smallest issues can become the most important things in life and reality slips away.

As revealing as the book is, I can help but feel that it's being told with some restraint. But this book isn't a sensationalist finger-pointing tell-all. David Millar wants to change the culture of sport by sharing his personal descent and survival.

I would highly recommend this book for sports fans, even those who "don't like to read". Even at nearly 350 pages, the narrative flows quickly, the structure is clear, and the story is compelling.

With renewed doping accusations swirling around Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France starting this week, Racing Through the Dark is compulsory pre-race reading.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Sisters Brothers

The Sisters BrothersThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Sisters Brothers: A Defense

I was reluctant to read The Sisters Brothers for a long time. It was getting mixed reviews and being nominated for so many damn awards. Not a good sign. However, I bought (and read) the book because I was attending the Stephen Leacock Medal presentation, which The Sisters Brothers had won.

The book has been criticized as not having a story, for having too much senseless violence, and for its weird, anachronistic language and characters. Because of all these reasons, I loved the book.

Please read my complete review here:

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Black Tights: Women, Sport and Sexuality

Black Tights: Women Sport and SexualityBlack Tights: Women Sport and Sexuality by Laura Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Via second-wave feminist analysis, Laura Robinson examines the struggles women face in sport. Black Tights is a well-researched, well-written book.

Robinson looks at the following issues:
1. Denying the Whole Woman: patriarchy/sexism, funding, sex testing, homophobia
2. Exploiting the Whole Woman: representation in the media, , sexual abuse, eating disorders, sponsorships
3. Restoring the Whole Woman: the struggle for talented girls playing on boys’ teams; the Scandinavian example

For examples from the book, see quotes in my progress updates.

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