2012 Bison Books paperback edition

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh, Canada!

Goody, a book race! Click here -- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Summer Sports Showdown -- and vote, under Track & Field, for NATIVE AMERICAN SON. Vote every day, if you want, until the end of the 2012 Games on August 12. We're going for the gold. 
     If you want more Things Canadian, check out this fine piece on Thorpe and the book from Jeff Blair at the Toronto Globe & Mail.
     Canadians are smarter as well as funnier...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

After London

Robert Frew LTD, Antiquarian Books, Maps & Prints

Well, the Thorpe (duplicate) medals never made it to London after all. Turns out they were classified as museum artifacts and, thus, were too complicated to ship across the ocean. 
     No problem. London was terrific, even in the rain. Maybe especially in the rain, because it forced us inside, into places like the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Imperial War Museum (see John Singer Sargent's HUGE - 20 feet long - disturbing WWI painting "Gassed, 1919"), the tiny Finborough Theater (above a handy wine bar & you'll be the only tourists in the 30-person audience), the Bloomsbury Coffee House, Liberty's, St. Paul's and on and on. All I wanted to do was walk the streets of this city I have loved all my life and that's just about all I did.
     One rainy afternoon we exited the V&A and ducked out of the downpour into this tiny book and print shop across the street (see photo above). We didn't leave for at least an hour and only then because it was closing. 
     There was plenty of amazing and expensive stuff to marvel at. But there were also bins of affordable things, such as the charming print of a delicate little bird and another of a happy-looking lion that we took away with us. 
     So, if you're going to London for the 2012 Games and want a change of pace from sports, make your way to 8 Thurloe Place, SW7 and take away a real souvenir of English life and history.
     And, yes, I did watch 84 Charing Cross Road, which I'd never seen, as soon as I got back home. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

London Bound

A duplicate of the gold medals won by Thorpe at the 1912 Games

The 2012 London Olympics kick off July 27. It's going to be huge. The BBC has been all over me and anybody else connected with the history of the modern Olympic movement for at least the past twelve months. They are so psyched over there that I decided I would jump the gun and get a preview glimpse. 
     So I'm flying over the pond -- as old timers love to say, as if we're all camping out in a summer colony -- tomorrow. I'll be there from July 10-15. Just enough to have fun and check out the new stadium -- and to avoid the crowds.
     What interests me anyway is the history of sports -- how games started, why the mania, the passion. Thorpe astonished the world 100 years ago this summer and look at all that has happened since. Look where sports are now: the common passion of our time. We've come a long way. And, I argue in my biography of Thorpe, a certain intensity of feeling about athletes and their performance began with him, in Stockholm, that long century ago.
     Thorpe's two (duplicate) medals (see the biography for the full story) for the classic pentathlon and the decathlon are supposed to be on display at the USA House in London (aka the Royal College of Art in Kensington). I'm going to check that out and will report back...