Sherr sends a sweet valentine, with enough background to keep it interesting, to a love that has never let her down.

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SWIM

WHY WE LOVE THE WATER

A collection of swimming traditions and anecdotes wrapped in a celebration of the pleasures involved.

Former ABC News correspondent Sherr (Outside the Box: My Unscripted Life of Love, Loss, and Television News, 2008, etc.) is a lifelong swimmer, and her passion for the act, from a lazy bobbing in gentle waves to a hard push across the Hellespont (aka the Dardanelles)—her story of which is tracked at intervals throughout the narrative—issues from each of these pages. Even when her comments are at their most random—e.g., “Swimming…allows you to dream big dreams”—her enthusiasm propels the book forward. That enthusiasm bleeds over into her history of swimming, which has a gratifyingly great sweep. Sherr moves from the deep past, when immersing oneself was only typical during wartime, to Leander and Lord Byron making their own Hellespont dash, to Benjamin Franklin (who wrote, “I thought it likely, that if I were to remain in England and open a Swimming School, I might get a good deal of Money”), to the coming of spandex. With a breezy touch, the author chronicles the evolution of public bathing, in the process revealing the disdain with which some purists view swimming pools: “Swimming under a roof to me is like big game hunting in a zoo. All legitimate fascination goes,” said Annette Kellerman, one of swimming’s grand dames. Sherr also explores the application of physics on competitive swimming and on miracle fibers in the latest swimsuits. From start to finish, she searches for the essence of why swimming has touched so many, be it Oliver Sacks (“I never knew anything so powerfully, so healthily euphoriant”) or Chairman Mao (“Do you swim? Water is a good thing”).

Sherr sends a sweet valentine, with enough background to keep it interesting, to a love that has never let her down.

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61039-046-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich...

PERSIMMON WIND

A MARTIAL ARTIST'S JOURNEY IN JAPAN

A reflective and entertaining journey through Japan, as the author seeks to reconnect with his martial arts sensei.

Lowry is a student of koryu (not to be confused with kendo), a style of Japanese classical swordsmanship. Koryu is a medieval art, like Noh and the tea ceremony, a style of combat born on the battlefield–but more importantly, it’s a way to address the world (though an esoteric one: Lowry may well be the only American practicing the art in the United States). Indeed, present-day practitioners refrain from exercising its fatal possibilities. Lowry’s sensei left the U.S. to return to Japan, urging Lowry to follow. Though his life headed in a different direction, he never forgot his training–when the time was ripe, he journeyed to Japan to join his sensei. The narrative revolves around this pivotal decision, and it provides a warm center from which the author expounds on such topics as the glories of a Japanese bath; the evolution of the Samurai caste; the peculiarities of Japanese landscape architecture; the elements of proper sandal-tying; the custom of the premarital shenanigans called yobai; and the teachings of mikkyo Buddhism. He also includes the vital story of the sword–what it reveals about Japanese life and technology, social structure and aesthetic values, etiquette, apprenticeship and the process of education. Lowry’s seriousness lends an earnest cast to the proceedings, but he’s not without a sense of humor–commenting upon his accomplished slurping of noodles, a friend’s wife notes, “He really sucks!”

A broad and deep look at Japan’s medieval referents, and a capable illustration of a martial art form steeped in rich tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2005

ISBN: 1-890536-10-5

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2010

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A book that will help everyone feel good at the end of the sporting day.

THE RUDY IN YOU

A GUIDE TO BUILDING TEAMWORK, FAIR PLAY, AND GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP FOR YOUNG ATHLETES, PARENTS, AND COACHES

An uplifting guide to sportsmanship. The subtitle says it all.

Using the example of Ruettiger, whose experience as a Notre Dame football walk-on inspired the 1994 film, Rudy, the authors rail against disrespectful behavior in sports, at any level. They argue that kids, parents and coaches are part of a matrix that can either create a joyful youth sports environment, or a nasty stew of overweening pride, gross expectations and antisocial behavior. With an old school bluntness, they plainly state how participants should act: Kids should have a clear sense of what they want to do, develop strategies for achieving their goals, listen and learn, show respect to all, cultivate a strong work ethic, be positive and helpful and trustworthy, and finally, be patient. Parents should be involved, too, but should always "remember to be the adults. Let the kids be kids." This means not projecting your own aspirations onto your children, while encouraging self-esteem and confidence. Coaches must know their sport (even if they are only volunteers), exemplify personal excellence, challenge the kids, earn their trust, be open to feedback and get everyone involved. The authors’ straightforward advice may seem obvious, but Phillips, Leddy and Ruettiger go further, providing solid examples of how to put these principles into practice. And for all the character building, they also appreciate that kids just want to have fun.

A book that will help everyone feel good at the end of the sporting day.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2005

ISBN: 1-58348-764-6

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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