AbeBooks' Reading Copy » sports http://www.abebooks.com/blog AbeBooks book blog Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:53:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Prancercise: The Book by Joanna Rohrback http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/06/04/prancercise-the-book-by-joanna-rohrback/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/06/04/prancercise-the-book-by-joanna-rohrback/#comments Tue, 04 Jun 2013 16:15:34 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19241 Prancercise-book-Joanna-Rohrback

By now, if you are someone who finds themselves mired in internet from time to time, you may well have already experienced the joyous phenomenon that is Prancercise.

If you are yet unfamiliar, let me help you – Prancercise is much what the name implies – a fitness program that combines prancing, sashaying, cantering, trotting and more into one weirdly wonderful regime that most of us would likely be too chicken (horse?) to perform in public. The routine was inspired by horses (neigh, you say!) and pioneered by a woman named Joanna Rohrback in 1989. Prancercise never caught on back then, but a recent dusting off of the program via Youtube (and, if you ask me, a recent resurgence in the fetishization of irony) has helped sendind the video viral.

But what you may not know is that there is a Prancercise book, too, published in 2012 by Rohrback herself (who, I think it’s safe to say, has been prancing in anticipation these past 20+ years).

I actually love it and find it quite mesmerizing. I’m not sure I would ever be able to summon enough chutzpah to publicly prancercise myself, but I love her calming presence and how earnest and sincere she is in her love of prancing. They say the key to sticking to an exercise regime is to find something you really enjoy – seems like Rohrback has done just that, and is sharing with everyone else too. Why walk when you can prance?

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Stories of the Notorious http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/31/stories-of-the-notorious/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2013/05/31/stories-of-the-notorious/#comments Fri, 31 May 2013 18:46:30 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=19231

People have a grim fascination with shocking stories – and the more outrageous, the better. From gambling and gunmen to insider trading and infidelity, we find it difficult to turn away from a spectacle. The publishing industry has always appreciated the value of guilty pleasures, as has the news media. These books about the darker aspects of human life (and death) satisfy morbid curiosity, and many have become collectible.

With that in mind, while attempting to remain within the bounds of good taste, AbeBooks presents books and ephemera showcasing the notorious, infamous and scandalous. Enjoy!

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Rock & Rope: Rare Mountaineering Books http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/17/rock-rope-rare-mountaineering-books/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/09/17/rock-rope-rare-mountaineering-books/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2012 17:47:39 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=17381 I’m not one for adventure, myself. I have come to accept that I am just much more content with my feet on the ground than strapped into a harness, defying gravity in some way. Rollercoasters, skydiving, hang-gliding – these are just not for me. But I admit, I’ve often been drawn to the idea of climbing a mountain. The enormous physical challenge, the solitude, the immersion in nature and the proximity to the heavens – it does hold a real appeal. Fortunately for me, there is a wealth of books about mountain-climbing. Climbers seem compelled to write about their mountaineering experiences – perhaps it is cathartic. There is a vast selection of books about scaling mountains from the past 150 years, including autobiographies, climbing guides, histories, and tales of disaster and success.

We offer several dramatic accounts of Everest, but these rare mountaineering books go much further than the Himalayas.

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36 Remarkable Novels Set in London http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/26/36-remarkable-novels-set-in-london/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/26/36-remarkable-novels-set-in-london/#comments Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:53:02 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16954 Apparently, commercial entities are not allowed to mention the O******* during their promotional work due to copyright issues. So there is a really big sporting event that originated in Greece about to start in London and, to be topical, my colleague Richard has written a feature called A Literary Tour of London where he has showcased some excellent novels set in the city.

This list includes Graham Greene, Muriel Spark, China Miéville, Martin Amis and a host of other writers. Richard tells us a bit about why he chose the books he chose to feature:

“When I first moved to London, one of the first writers I discovered was Nick Hornby. I used to ride the Piccadilly Line while reading Fever Pitch and High Fidelity with the text of the books reflected by the actual locations that I was passing.

This a modern list. I felt Charles Dickens could be given a miss for once. The likes of Will Self, Amis, Monica Ali and Zadie Smith are probably more representative of today’s London.”

See the list. Think we missed a crucial title? Comment and set us straight.

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Really Useful Books: Collectible Almanacs http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/29/really-useful-books-collectible-almanacs/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/29/really-useful-books-collectible-almanacs/#comments Tue, 29 May 2012 17:04:13 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16388 It’s always useful to know about the next holy day, full moon or high tide. Cures for common ailments and crop planting charts are also handy. Almanacs have been printed since 1457 and make for a fascinating book collection.

This selection of rare almanacs stretches from Benjamin Franklin to a sporting reference book still being published today. Don’t rely on your trick knee – get your hands on an almanac, and prepare for what’s coming.

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Bruce Lee and the Bond Girl: Vintage Self-Defense Books http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/24/bruce-lee-and-the-bond-girl-vintage-self-defense-books/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/24/bruce-lee-and-the-bond-girl-vintage-self-defense-books/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 19:25:44 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16327 There are truly some fantastic vintage book gems out there, in some unexpected places. What about self-defence (or self-defense, depending which side of the pond you call home)? People have, sadly, always attacked one another like big creeps, and there have been books written for ages on how to protect yourself from those creeps. But differences in design and style between yesterday and today have made these books, which are probably just as valuable a resource today, an absolute dream for collectors. One is an original 1963 book by Bruce Lee (yes, that Bruce Lee), and there are many other gorgeous vintage self-defense books:

But the greatest has to be the one by Honor Blackman. If you don’t know who Honor Blackman is, she’s a remarkable woman. She was Cathy Gale in The Avengers in the early 1960s and she was one of the greatest of all Bond girls as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger in 1964. Blackman was an icon of the 1960s and, like most folks who become famous, she brought out a book at the height of her celebrity.

In 1965, Andre Deutsch published Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence and it’s a remarkable piece of 1960s girl power. See Honor slam some villain into the hay, see Honor deal with some creep in stripey Speedos on the beach, see Honor bust the arm of some bloke who touches her up on a park bench, see Honor dish out some old school violence to a drunk in the Dog and Duck.

Ladies – you don’t need pepper spray, you need this book, which is filled with useful judo techniques and self defence moves. Honor was no fraud and developed her judo skills at London’s Budokwai dojo for her TV and movie roles. All that attention to fitness served her well, Honor Blackman is still acting today – not bad for a lady born in 1925. And Honor Blackman’s Book of Self-Defence has become a cult classic and rather scarce.

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AbeBooks Review: The Blind Side and Moneyball by Michael Lewis http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/24/abebooks-review-the-blind-side-and-moneyball-by-michael-lewis/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/05/24/abebooks-review-the-blind-side-and-moneyball-by-michael-lewis/#comments Thu, 24 May 2012 16:27:54 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=16322 Enjoy my colleague Richard’s review of The Blind Side and Moneyball, both by Michael Lewis – the writing is interesting enough to keep even a non-sports fan interested.

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Ed Smith’s Luck http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/28/ed-smiths-luck/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/28/ed-smiths-luck/#comments Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:41:55 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=15583 I’m probably going to have to read some of Ed Smith’s books sooner rather than later. The Guardian reviews his latest book, Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters – a key element for anyone who has made a living in professional sport.

One of Smith’s aims is to challenge the view popularised by writers such as Malcolm Gladwell that what really makes the difference to success is practice and hard work. Smith thinks that downplays the good fortune of those who have the genetic and social advantages to be able to undertake the hard work. This is true enough, but the comparison with Gladwell highlights what’s really wrong with this book. Partly it’s a sense that the genre is starting to cannibalise itself. There is a world of fascinating material out there on luck written by philosophers, novelists, historians – but Smith’s frame of reference is primarily pop psychology books of the past few years. The main problem, though, is that people like Gladwell do it so much better.

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Nick Hornby says ticket prices are ruining football http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/05/nick-hornby-says-ticket-prices-are-ruining-football/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/03/05/nick-hornby-says-ticket-prices-are-ruining-football/#comments Mon, 05 Mar 2012 17:23:33 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=15347 Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch is 20 years old but the author is disillusioned with the game of football (that’s soccer to my North American cousins). He argues the clubs are pricing themselves into oblivion with such high ticket costs, reports The Guardian.

In Fever Pitched: Twenty Years On, to be broadcast on Radio 4 tomorrow afternoon, Hornby recalls that in the 1970s he paid 15p to join the crowd in the north stand at Highbury, Arsenal’s former ground in north London. Cheap tickets meant Hornby was able to feed his addiction, but now he questions whether this weekly football fix is still possible.

“You can’t do that any more,” Hornby tells the programme’s presenter, John Wilson, the son of Arsenal goalkeeper Bob. “My impression is that most kids go now [to football matches] as they would go to the theatre, a treat, something they would see three or four times a year.”

Hornby is correct. You don’t get much for 15 pence these days. Fever Pitch was the first serious book I read about sport, ignoring all the annuals, yearbooks and diaries of famous sportsmen I’d read up to that point. My obsession with sports books continues – right now, I’m reading We are The Damned United by Phil Rostron. The 1970s was not a boring decade if you loved sports.

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Muhammad Ali’s Legendary Trainer Angelo Dundee Dies at 90 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/02/02/muhammad-alis-legendary-trainer-angelo-dundee-dies-at-90/ http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2012/02/02/muhammad-alis-legendary-trainer-angelo-dundee-dies-at-90/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:47:43 +0000 http://www.abebooks.com/blog/?p=15059 Boxing Legend Angelo Dundee, who trained Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman and countless other champions, died yesterday.

If the rumors are true, the first words Ali ever spoke to Dundee, upon meeting him for the first time, were:

“My Name is Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. I’m the Golden Gloves champion of Louisville, Kentucky. I won the Pan American Games a month ago and I’m going to win the Olympics, and I want to talk to you.”

Dundee was with Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, for almost all of his early fights. He toured around the world with Ali, and became known as the best man to have in your corner during a fight.

He died of complications from a blood clot on Wednesday, February 1st, at age 90. But not before he attended Ali’s 70th birthday party, the month before, and caught up.

If you’d like to learn more about the career of Muhammad Ali, including his work and friendship with Angelo Dundee, the Taschen book Greatest of All Time (GOAT) is an unforgettable tribute, full of countless facts, anecdotes, articles, essays and some truly jaw-dropping photographs.

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