Games On: A Pre-Olympics Book Tour of Britain

Games On: A Pre-Olympics Book Tour of Britain

The 2012 Olympics kick off in London on July 27, 2012. Whether you’re a massive track and field fan, or simply someone who likes a little synchronized swimming every now and again, it’s worth looking into the city playing host this year. Enter this guided tour for travelers (armchair and otherwise) to help navigate the best of British culture.

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    1. Frommer’s London 2012

    Don’t leave home without it. From the Eye and the Tate Modern to the Thames and the Palace, this guide has every site you’ll want to see and many more you won’t have time to visit. Keep banking those frequent flyer miles…

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    2. Beckham

    Great Britain will bring together an Olympic soccer team for the first time since 1960, and David Beckham may well be a part of the squad. His 2003 autobiography, co-written with Tom Watt, tells how the East End boy grew up to be a star for storied Manchester United, marry Posh Spice and become one of the world’s most famous celebrities. It does not, unfortunately, detail how to bend it like the superstar.

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    3. No Limits

    American swimming darling Michael Phelps took home eight gold medals from the 2008 Beijing Games, bringing his total over two Olympiads to 14 gold and two bronze. He hopes to add to that total in London. In “No Limits,” Phelps writes about his humble beginnings, becoming an Olympic hero and the trials and tribulations that accompany success.

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    4. One Day in September

    Delve into one of the Olympics’ most tragic stories with this detailed account of the Munich attacks. The author tracks the Palestinian terrorists who kidnapped 11 Israeli athletes and coaches during the 1972 Summer Olympics, while exploring what motivated them, how the world reacted and how the fallout still affects us to this day.

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    5. Among the Thugs

    Bill Buford spent months getting to know England’s soccer hooligans, drinking with them, traveling with them to away matches and generally rabble-rousing with them. He started out in pursuit of a story but, as he quickly discovers and admits, he might have gone too far. “Among the Thugs” offers a unique look into rabid fandom in Britain.

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    6. Oliver Twist

    To understand the present, one must sometimes look to the past. Enter Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” set in 19th century London. The main character experiences the horrors of growing up alone in a big city, but manages to come through with the help of a few friends and his not insignificant wit.

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    7. White Teeth

    Zadie Smith’s critically-lauded novel weaves together racial tension, economic strife, emotional growth, and all set against a backdrop of contemporary London. The author uses old friends Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal to tackle the big subjects: war, family, heroism and faith in this story about modern, multicultural life.


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