The secret of superhuman strength
by Alison Bechdel, Jonathan Cape £ 16.99 / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt $ 24
An astonishing graphic novel / memoir whose precise drawings capture Bechdel’s lifelong quest for transcendence through physical effort: calisthenics, karate, running, spin classes, Nordic skiing, cycling, hiking, yoga, training to “madness” and escalation. Being exhausted allows Bechdel to stop thinking and feeling nothing, while everything else – including the frustrations of being an artist – disappears.
Total dissent: Notes from an uneven playing field
by Howard Bryant, Beacon press $ 14.95
Bryant, a veteran African-American sports journalist, was radicalized by the Trump era in a shameless rage against his own country’s racism. He explores some of the ways racism permeates sport. For example, black sports heroes who seek to be accepted by the general public must renounce solidarity with other blacks, and sometimes even their own blackness itself.
Tell us what you think
What are your favorites from this list – and which books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below
The accidental footballer
by Pat Nevin, Monoray £ 20
Nevin recounts his involuntary working-class journey from Glasgow to playing for Chelsea and Everton in the 1980s and 1990s: just as he loved football, he was more interested in books and independent music than a professional career. He’s such a good observer and storyteller that you forgive him for the occasional smugness. Its footnotes are particularly cheerful.
Summer books 2021
All week FT writers and critics are sharing their favorites. Some highlights are:
Monday: Undertaken by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Wednesday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Thursday: Story by Tony Barber
Friday: Laura Battle Fiction
Saturday: Critics’ Choice
Join our online reading group on Facebook at FT Books Coffee