The Literary Olympian

There is a general sense in the minds of many people about the type of person that is an avid reader or book collector.  The stereotype of a quiet, socially awkward, glasses-wearing shut-in is perpetuated by movies, television shows, and even our beloved books.  In fact, just examine the connotations that the word “bookish” evokes.

I would absolutely describe myself as bookish.  I read a lot, I work with books, my closet is full of overflowing bookshelves instead of clothes, and I’m not exactly the paragon of physical fitness, to put it mildly.  Therefore, when I start talking excitedly about sports and athletes, it can be surprising to people who view me through the stereotypical lens of a bookish nerd.  After all, don’t book nerds all hate their natural school-yard enemies, the dreaded jock?  Don’t book nerds disdain nonintellectual pursuits like sweating and competing?  Why would someone who enjoys classic literature or science fiction fandom be interested in SPORTS, of all things?

Well, all I can say is that people are not one dimensional and do not fit into only one category.  Personally, I like to combine my hobbies.  The relevant example here is my love of hockey and my love of books, which translates into a growing collection of books about hockey.  And, to smoothly segue to the main point of this post, books about Olympic hockey.  The Olympics are coming to a close soon, and it has been a fun ride.  The US women’s team plays Canada tonight for the gold medal game, while the men’s team was sadly eliminated by Czechia.  Go Team USA!

Every Olympics, Winter and Summer, sees a new flurry of books written about it.  Biographies, tell-all scandals, histories of the games, behind-the-scenes reporting… a veritable smorgasbord of feasts for the sports book collector to satiate their appetite with.  But this website is devoted to the older fare, the finely aged wines of this particular niche genre, and boy do we have a lovely offering for people like myself who drool over Olympic books.

In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, the Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles.  A book by Hugh Harlan called “History of the Olympic Games Ancient and Modern” was printed up for these, the Xth modern Olympic games.  It wasn’t anything special, really, mostly just a souvenir book to read in the stands while waiting for the races to start.  But one intrepid spectator sought out 15 athletes of the games and got signatures from them.  These athletes were competing in various sports like field hockey, shooting, and boxing, and from all sorts of countries, including India, Japan, France, and Mexico.  This is a rare collectible item for a book collector who is also a sports enthusiast and it is newly listed on the website under our Sports category.  May the best collector win!

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