This week's bestsellers in sports books


1 - Playfair Cricket Annual 2012

Editor: Ian Marshall
Published by: Headline

The classic pocket companion to the English cricket season, the 65th edition of Playfair reviews England's triumphant 2011 home Test series against Sri Lanka and India, as well as their matches against India and Pakistan on tour this winter. The book is packed with essential information to follow events on the field, with unrivalled up-to-the-minute statistical detail on all first-class players registered in the UK at the time of press, plus fixture lists for the coming season.

2 - Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2012

Editor: Lawrence Booth
Published by: John Wisden & Co Ltd

First published in 1864 and probably the world’s most famous sports book, Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has been in the hands for the first time of Lawrence Booth, the Daily Mail and former Guardian cricket writer who is its 16th editor.  The 149th edition contains everything its readers have come to expect -- coverage of every first-class game in every cricket nation, reports and scorecards for all Tests and ODIs, the Cricketers of the Year awards and some of the finest cricket writing, its trenchant tone set by the Notes by the Editor.

3 - The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods

Author: Hank Haney
Published by: Crown Archetypes

Hank Haney was swing coach to Tiger Woods for six years until their relationship broke down acrimoniously in 2010.  During those years the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships only to fall from grace over a series of scandals in his personal life.  Haney had the chance to observe Woods in nearly every circumstance: at tournaments, on the practice range, over meals, with his wife, Elin, and relaxing with friends.  This is his candid account of what he saw.

4 - Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Author: Christopher McDougall
Published by: Profile Books

How an American former war correspondent with a love of running discovered a remote Mexican tribe, the Tarahumara, whose frugal, healthy diet was undermined somewhat by a love of grain alcohol but who achieved longevity through running extreme distances, barefoot, without the need for training schedules or recovery regimes.  He finds them to be capable of running as fast and as far as the best prepared, most finely tuned marathon runners of the developed world and dreams of seeing them compete in the ‘greatest race’ of the title.

5 - A Life Without Limits

Author: Chrissie Wellington
Published by: Constable

Chrissie Wellington, a former civil servant and hobbyist jogger, a complex character whose insecurities as a young woman led her to develop eating disorders, ran her first marathon 10 years ago and surprised herself by completing the course in three hours and eight minutes.  She tells a gripping and deeply human story of how ultimately she quit her job to train full time as a triathlete, became world champion within a year and is currently Ironman Triathlon world champion, the fastest on the planet for an event that comprises a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run.

6 - The Big Fight: My Story

Author: Sugar Ray Leonard
Published by: Ebury Press

Eight-times world boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard may have been almost peerless in the ring, losing only three of his 40 professional fights as he saw off the challenges of Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler among others. But a troubled life outside the ropes that saw him sexually abused as a child led ultimately into the dark roads of drink and drug addiction and the biggest of all his big fights.  This is the story of his rise, fall and redemption.

7 - Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike

Author: William Fotheringham
Published by: Yellow Jersey

It says something about Eddy Merckx that Lance Armstrong, who won the Tour de France a record seven times, amassed fewer than a hundred career victories compared with 445 by the obsessive Belgian in professional races alone. His career brought outstanding success but also personal tragedy, horrific injury and a doping controversy, and masked a surprising level of insecurity. William Fotheringham, the Guardian cycling writer, speaks to those who watched and knew Merckx to produce the definitive biography.

8 - Barca: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World

Author: Graham Hunter
Published by: Back Page Press

You might have thought that by now the full story of the world’s best football team must have been told but Spain-based British journalist Graham Hunter was so thorough in his research that he revealed things that even die-hard fans of the Blaugrana didn’t know. Hunter traces the story back from the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley to discover the people and events that played a part in the creation of a team that had its beginnings in the late 1980s, when Johan Cruyff was their coach, and offers some brilliant insights into the mind of the current coach, the extraordinary Pep Guardiola.

9 - Running with the Kenyans

Author:  Adharanand Finn
Published by:  Faber and Faber

Ever since the Mexico Olympics of 1968, when the athletes of Kenya claimed an unprecedented nine medals, the sporting world has been eager to learn the secrets that seemed to set the runners of one African nation apart from the rest, and turned the likes of Kipchoge Keino and Naftali Temu into legends of the track.  Adharanand Finn, a freelance writer and running enthusiast, moved his family to Iten, a small high-altitude town in the Rift Valley that has become a mecca for long-distance runners. Finn ran side by side with Olympic champions and barefoot schoolchildren.  This beautifully written book reveals what he learned about Kenya’s runners and their country.

10 - Strong Woman: Ambition, Grit and a Great Pair of Heels

Author: Karren Brady
Published by: Collins

Karren Brady did not become Britain’s best-known businesswoman by being a pussycat and her autobiography reveals she had a hard-nosed streak even when she was a child.  When she entered the world of work, it enabled her to form the partnership with David Sullivan that led her to become managing director of Birmingham City at the age of 23. Lord Sugar, with whom she worked on TV show The Apprentice says: ‘Karren’s story will be an inspiration to women everywhere.’

As listed by amazon.co.uk on April 16, 2012

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