October 6, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books

Super Thursday: Battle of the Heavyweight Books

This Thursday (8th October) is what’s known as ‘Super Thursday’, with more than 500 new titles being published in a single day – more than twice the average for a publication day. That’s a hell of a lot of books to choose from.

So, who are the main contenders this year? Which books will take the Super Thursday crown? Here are some of the heavyweights who’ll be battling it out…

The comedian…

Steve Coogan, Easily Distracted: Alan Partridge’s alter ego tells his story. This video of him interviewing himself is well worth a watch. Century, £20

Coogan

The explorer…

Bill Bryson, The Road to Little Dribbling: Good old Bill travels along ‘the Bryson Line’, from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath, by way of places that many people never get to at all. Should be as excellent as all his other books are. Doubleday, £20

bryson

The football manager…

Jose Mourinho, Mourinho: The first ever book from the Chelsea supremo, with photos from throughout his incredible career. Headline, £20

mourinho

The DJ…

Chris Evans, Call the Midlife: More stories from the new Jeremy Clarkson, as he battles with a midlife crisis. W&N, £20

evans

The film star…

Nick Frost, Truths, Half Truths and Little White Lies: One of our best-loved TV and film stars tells stories from his career. Probably with a foreword from Simon Pegg. Hodder & Stoughton, £20

Frost

The chef…

James Martin, Sweet: The cheery Yorkshire Pudding presents a collection of desserts to tickle your little tastebuds. Quadrille Publishing Ltd, £20

James Martin

The storyteller…

Robert Harris, Dictator: Politics, corruption, drama, backstabbing. No, not Prime Ministers Question’s, but a new historical epic from Mr Harris. Hutchinson, £20

Dictator

The Tom Jones…

Tom Jones, Over the Top and Back: Six decades of stories from the Welsh legend. Don’t worry, it probably won’t dwell too much on The Voice. Michael Joseph, £20

tom jones

That’s just a few of the big names with books out this Thursday, but there are literally hundreds more. This year’s Books are My Bag campaign, celebrating independent bookshops, launches on Super Thursday and can help you find your perfect read. Give them a follow on Twitter @booksaremybag.

September 24, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books, Sport

Rugby World Cup reading: Bomb by Adam Jones

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup up and running, now’s the perfect time to invest in some rugger-related reading materials. We’ve got an exclusive extract from Bomb, the autobiography of Wales legend Adam Jones, talking about his first World Cup experience back in 2003…

We flew down under more in hope than expectation, but it was exciting. They love their sport out there, and to take part in a World Cup in such a sports-obsessed country was something I was relishing. It was quite the start to my test career.

Scott Johnson is as Australian as they come, and wanted us to embrace the culture and history of the place. He’d arranged for a famous Australian to speak to us prior to every game. First up was Andrew Johns, the Rugby League player regarded by many as the best ever. People of a certain generation in Wales consider Rugby League to be the sport of the devil, as we lost a golden generation of players to the code during Rugby Union’s amateur era. But it’s always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and I was one of the few who knew who Johns was. Our analyst, Alun Carter, had put together a video montage of him which was played before his talk, and that left our boys in no doubt as to the scope of his talent.

He was a little dwt of a bloke, but didn’t take any prisoners on the field. Johnno’s idea was that we’d get a sense of the level of professionalism adopted by the League boys, and that some of it would rub off. But Andrew wasn’t exactly on message. He’d played in a few State of Origin series – where Queensland and New South Wales play each other. It’s a massive deal in Australia. The stadiums are always packed, and the TV viewing figures are off the scale. Gareth Llewellyn asked a question about prepara- tion, because they’re effectively scratch sides pulled together according to their ‘state of origin’. Andrew explained that they basically get together and go on the piss. They’ll meet on a Sunday night and go out drinking. Then they meet up on Monday morning and go on an all-day drinking session. On the Tuesday, they’ll be too hungover to do anything other than run through a few moves. And then on Wednesday they play the game.

We could see Hansen and Horey sinking into their seats. They’d spent so long instilling a sense of discipline into us, and trying to transform the culture of the Welsh changing room. And here was this uber-professional Rugby League guy telling us they prepared for the biggest matches of their season by going on a two-day bender! Probably not the kind of inspirational message the Welsh management were hoping for.

We played Canada first, in Melbourne. As much as a loose-head prop can be called a talisman, Rod Snow was theirs. We knew him well from his days at Newport, and we knew if we put a few big hits on him early, it would dent the morale of the team as a whole. We’d noticed during our analysis that he stood out in the wide channels a lot as ball carrier, which is very unusual for a big prop. Steve Hansen challenged the boys to see who could make the biggest hit on him. Robin McBryde accepted the gauntlet and absolutely smoked him early on.

It set the tone for a comfortable victory, and we were up and running.

Bomb: My Autobiography by Adam Jones is out now in hardback and ebook

bomb

 Other rugby books for the World Cup season…

  • My Autobiography by Dan Carter – out this November, this is the story of a country boy who went on to become rugby’s world superstar
  • Carry Me Home by Ben Cohen – a very deep and personal story, with Cohen discussing how he put all of the anger and pain from his father’s death into his rugby
  • Jonny: My Autobiography by Jonny Wilkinson – a classic read from a few years ago, with the World Cup hero telling all about his career (including that drop goal in 2003)

August 27, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books, Books, Sport

Where Am I? Phil Tufnell’s cultural favourites

With his hilarious autobiography Where Am I? out now, cricket legend and all-round hero Phil Tufnell picks his cultural highlights…

BOOK

Well, it’s a bit cheeky but I’ll have to say one of my own! I won’t push it too far and say my new one, though! I really enjoyed doing Tuffers’ Cricket Tales a few years ago as it really made me laugh out loud when I was writing it.

BAND/MUSICIAN

I like loads of different stuff so it’s a bit hard to pick. I like loads of genres and music from different eras, but if I was going to pick just one band I’d go for someone like the Black Eyed Peas.

SONG

It’s got to be my wedding dance song, the classic ‘I Love You Baby’. It’s a belter that one, a proper dancefloor filler!

ARTIST

I get to see lots of art with the work I do, and I do like to do a bit of painting myself. But for a favourite artist I’d go for someone a bit more modern, like a Banksy. Graffiti style – bit of spray paint, bit of stencil – I’ve got a few bits and pieces of that on my walls at home.

FILM

It’s got to be the classic Pulp Fiction. Great soundtrack too.

FOOD

No question about it, nothing else will do for me. Roast dinner. I could have one every day of the week. Beef. Pork. Bit of crackling. All of that, and all the trimmings. Got to have roast potatoes too. Fish and chips not far behind, though.

DRINK

If I’m going to go down the pub for a roast dinner, I’ll have to have a nice real ale with it. I love trying new ones, and all the different flavours they come up with. You can’t go wrong with a Doom Bar though.

HOLIDAY DESTINATION OR PLACE

I’ve been all over the world with my cricket – Australia, New Zealand, India – but I’d probably say somewhere in the Caribbean. Maybe Barbados, as we had some great times over there. Or maybe Ibiza actually. The quiet side of the island, mind – I’m getting on a bit now!

SPORT/TEAM

My favourite team would be The Arsenal. My Dad was a massive Arsenal fan, so I was born and bred that way. But then there’s also Middlesex for the cricket, as I played there for 20-odd years. For Arsenal though, I think we’ll do quite well this season. We always finish strong, so we’ll get 4th at least!

Where Am I? is out now in hardback and ebook

where-am-i-tweetcard-5

August 17, 2015, Posted by Richard in Books, Mr Book

The journey of Mr Book: Literary Agents

We all love books, especially our little mascot, Mr Book. But how do they come to be? And who are the people who play a key role in getting books on shelves?

Following on from our piece by Fishbowl author Bradley Somer, today we’re continuing our look at a book’s journey to publication by asking…

What is a literary agent? And what do literary agents actually do?

To answer this, we spoke to Jamie Cowen, director at the Ampersand Agency, to tell us a little about his job. Over to Jamie…

A big pile of submissions can provoke a number of emotions in a literary agent: horror, despair, an urgent need to make a cup of tea.

But also excitement. After all, without authors writing books, and submitting them to agents, we would merely be useless hangers-on, spending our time eating nice lunches and holidaying in Tuscany. Indeed, there are many who would argue that this is the case even with the submissions.

There are many things that can draw my eye to a submission. Ultimately though, what I look for is writing that – in some way – I fall in love with, and that makes me want to read more. It’s difficult to put a finger on precisely what that means, as it is of course different for every book that I read, submission or not.

To put this another way, I have no idea what I am looking for until I read it.

When I do find that elusive something in a submission that puts me on the edge of my seat, the really exciting part of my job begins. I’ll immediately ask to read the whole thing, and – assuming it matches up to the quality of the sample – will begin the process of pitching the author in the hope of taking them on. This will usually involve a meeting, where both I and the prospective client will dig around a bit in the hope of finding out what makes the other person tick.

At that meeting, I will want to find out a number of things. Where did the book come from? Is it a life’s-work, ten-year labour of love or the result of a Nanowrimo-style four-week Pro Plus-fuelled blitz? What other ideas does the author have? Is this the start of a series, or a stand-alone? Do they work full-time? Could they write a book a year? These, among other questions, will help me build a picture of who the author is and what kind of prospect they are as a client.

The author will also have questions for me. (Frankly, I’d be worried if they didn’t.) What do I love about the book? What would I do were I to edit it? To whom would I consider selling it, and why? I prepare accordingly, usually making a bunch of notes to ensure I leave as good an impression as possible.

Let’s assume that the responses are encouraging, and the meeting goes well. The author accepts my offer! Hurrah! Champagne! Celebration! Then the really hard work starts.

I typically do one big structural edit on the books I take on, although this will change depending on the state of the manuscript. Regardless, having been an editor in a previous life I try to make sure I’m adding as much as I can at this stage, as not to do so would seem a waste of experience and skills.

I very much regard the editing process as a discussion – I will have strong feelings about where the book needs to go and what it needs to be, but nobody knows a book, and what is right for it, better than the author. A back-and-forth conversation will therefore commence, the result of which will – hopefully – be a tighter and better-presented manuscript.

While the edit is ongoing I will typically be ‘pre-selling’ the book to the editors I think it is best suited to. This bit is crucial: understanding what each editor, and imprint, is specifically looking for, what their taste is and what their list is lacking is a vital part of an agent’s role. Gaining this insight takes a colossal* (*reasonable) amount of hard work** (**lunches), and will inform the shortlist of editors I choose to pick up the phone to. In these conversations I’ll mention that I have something coming up that I think they will be interested in, and will give them a short pitch on what I think are the book’s strengths. I’ll then judge from their responses whether or not they will be a recipient of the finished script.

Once the book is edited and in good shape, I’ll decide on my final list of editors to send to, then send it out accompanied by a description of the story and high points, some comparisons for a steer, plus a few key details: rights that are on offer, whether the book is on ‘general submission’ (i.e. being sent to a number of editors simultaneously), what the author has planned by way of further writing and similar.

A period of hand-wringing, finger-crossing and sleepless nights then ensues while editors read and assess the book. Naturally though, they all love it and call within days to express huge excitement and offer vast sums for the privilege of publishing my latest client.

In the event that I receive multiple offers, my job is to clarify, as far as possible, how they differ: what the editors are like, what their lists are made up of, previous successes (and failures) and what the author could expect from the publisher should they pick them. I will always give a recommendation as to which option to pick, although ultimately the author has to make that call – after this stage, their relationship with the editor becomes the most important in their writing life.

So. The author makes a decision, and the deal is done. Hurrah! Champagne! (Prosecco if it’s HarperCollins.) Then, for the author, the hard work begins all over again. And as for me, it’s back to the submissions. Pop the kettle on, will you…

Jamie Cowen is a Director at The Ampersand Agency, specialising in sci-fi, fantasy, horror, YA fiction, crime and thrillers. He has worked in publishing for 13 years. 

August 11, 2015, Posted by Mr Book in Books

The journey of Mr Book: the Author

We all love books, especially our little mascot, Mr Book. But how do they come to be? And who are the people who play a key role in getting books on shelves?

In the first in a new series, we look at Mr Book’s journey, from an idea in a writer’s head, right through to publication. We’re kicking off by asking…

How does an author go about getting published?

Bradley Somer, author of the ace new novel Fishbowl, explains how he got published…

My first novel, Imperfections, is not really my first novel. I had finished a previous manuscript and sent it around to a dozen(ish) agents in North America. I think one or two responded with a customary “thanks but no thanks” letter. Looking back at the manuscript now, it was more than a fair response. At the time though, I pushed on and represented myself by sending the manuscript to twenty(ish) publishers, large and small. The responses were slightly more numerous, equally polite and unanimously negative. It’s always a long wait for a response as both agents and publishers (the few that are still accepting unsolicited manuscripts) are swamped with submissions. So while I waited, I kept writing.

Then, an email came my way from the editor at Nightwood Editions, an independent literary press in Canada. It was respectfully abrupt; he liked the manuscript but it needed a lot of work. This was followed by a long list of insightful comments and suggestions to improve the piece. By this time, I fully recognized that original manuscript was in need of a lot of work and this email confirmed it. So, I suggested that they consider the new book I had just finished, and a year later Imperfections was published. While I waited for that book to come out, I kept writing.

Finding an Agent

There’s always more to learn about the craft of writing. I try to attend writing conferences and workshops as much as I can. It was at one of these conferences I was introduced to my agent, Jill Marr, by a good friend (and fellow author who was a fan of Imperfections) who had signed with her a year before. I was still largely oblivious to the business side of the writing process and was busily finishing up my next manuscript.

The introduction was casual, a drink and a chat, and Jill asked for a copy of Imperfections to read. I gave her one and she read it on her flight back to San Diego. A few days later I received an offer of representation. Around that time I was finishing up Fishbowl.

The Editing Process

I love the process of taking a rough work of fiction and refining it, making it stronger through collaborative input. I don’t typically let a work go until I’m satisfied that I can’t make it any better, from conceptual to line edits. This involves extensive personal and peer reviewing.

In the case of Fishbowl, I got the manuscript to a point that I thought it was perfect, then I sent it to Jill who kindly reminded me it wasn’t perfect, and offered her great input. After a few rounds of review with Jill, she began shopping the manuscript around. It received multiple offers in North America and world rights were sold to St. Martin’s Press.

Then it was in the hands of the talented Silissa Kenny, an editor at St. Martin’s. Again, there was an overarching round of high level edits to strengthen the conceptual and thematic points, another round with two other editors, and then several treatments with copy editors and proofreaders, all asking questions and posing concerns with everything from grand plot points to the necessity of certain punctuation marks (… to what the difference between a parkade and a parking garage is). It would be easy to get defensive during these reviews but it’s easier to see how each round of questions, suggestions and reviews makes a manuscript stronger and more polished. While this was going on, the book sold in several regions and translations.

This process took a few years, from start to finish, and the whole time I kept writing.

FISHBOWL

Fishbowl by Bradley Somer is out now in hardback and ebook

August 10, 2015, Posted by Mr Book in Books

Book extract: Waiting For Doggo by Mark B. Mills

We were big fans of Waiting For Doggo by Mark B. Mills when it was published in hardback last year. Now, with the paperback about to hit bookshops, we’ve got an exclusive look at chapter one…

Dear Daniel,

God, that sounds so formal. I don’t mean it like that, or maybe I do. As with a lot of things, I’m not sure any more/ anymore (which one is it? I know you’d know). Shit, I’d start this letter again, but I’ve done that three times already and I’m late for my flight.

I’m going away, a long way away. I can’t tell you where. Part of me wants to but there’s no point because I don’t know how long I’ll be there. Anyway, it’s better like this. That’s crap, of course. What I mean is it’s better for me like this, not for you, although I know you’ll cope because you’re strong and sensible and slightly cold-hearted.

We’ll talk properly soon, when I’m feeling up to it, which I’m not right now, obviously, or I wouldn’t be running away to Austral— Oops! (Joke. You see, I haven’t lost my sense of humour like you told me the other night.) Okay, not funny under the circumstances. I can see you standing at the table reading this. I’m sorry, my dear darling Daniel. I’m a coward. At least I’ve learned that about myself. And I’m sorry about Doggo. That’s totally my fault. God knows what I was thinking. What was I thinking? That he would make a difference, even heal us. You’ll hate that word, like you hate it when I talk about journeys and energies and, yes, angels.

The thing is, I DO believe in them. And you don’t. Is that what this is really about? Maybe. I used to love your polite tolerance, the sceptical smile in your eyes, but now it pisses me off. It looks cynical and superior to me now, like you think you have all the answers. Well, you don’t. Who does? Maybe that’s what you have to learn about yourself, like I’ve learned that I’m a coward. Maybe I can only be with a man who believes in angels. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean I’ve run away with Brendon. Brendon’s a prick. I’d take you over him any day (and if that’s not a compliment, what is, right!?). No, I’m on my own, travelling light, following my nose. There’s no one else, just me and you-know-who – the ‘One Who Must Not Be Named’, as you jokingly call him. I know you think he’s a figment of my warped imagination, but I believe he’s here with me right now, watching over me, and you can’t deny that that feeling is real (even if you are right about angels, which you aren’t!).

Take Doggo back. Something tells me you’re going to get this job and you can’t leave him shut up in the flat all day. It wouldn’t be fair on him, and it’s not like the two of you have hit it off. Is he there right now, peering up at you with those weird eyes of his? I swear he looked at me with a kind of contempt when I was packing my suitcase before, like he knew what I was doing. Of course he didn’t, he’s just a dog, a small, ugly dog. No, not exactly ugly, but you know what I mean – not overloaded with good looks, poor thing. I think I must have felt sorry for him when I first saw him. I feel bad about messing with his life, but at least he’s had a change of scene, a short holiday. I would have taken him back myself but there wasn’t time. You see, I haven’t been planning this thing, it just came to me very suddenly. I saw what I had to do and I’m doing it.

Am I making the biggest mistake of my life? I don’t think so. I think we got to a place where we were about to make a decision that would have been wrong for us, definitely wrong for me, and probably for you too. Don’t hate me, Daniel. You’ll feel humiliated, of course, but it could be worse. It’s not like I’m leaving you standing at that altar, plus everyone will damn me as a bitch, which will make it easier for you. Please don’t try and find me, and there’s no point in calling me now because I’ll be in the air by the time you read this.

Love and light

Clara XXXXXXXXX

PS I’ve just read this through and I realise I haven’t made myself clear. It’s over between us, at least for now, which I suspect means for ever, but who knows? Never say never, right? I need to feel open to other opportunities (yes, okay, other men). I can’t stop you doing what you want to do, but if you sleep with Polly I’ll kill you. She’s young, vulnerable and in awe of you, but she’s also my baby sister, so ‘non toccare’, as they say in Italy (reminds me of that gift shop in Lucca where you bought me a horrid china figurine of the Virgin Mary because you thought it looked like my father in drag). X

I lay the letter carefully on the table with a trembling hand. Cold-hearted? Really? Cynical and superior?

I never felt superior. It was our little game. We worked out the rules together. Astrology, past lives, guardian angels, whatever it was, Clara fell hard and I applied the brakes. We agreed to differ and we laughed along together because what we had was bigger than any of it. What we had was love. We agreed on that. She can’t just change the rules and get on a plane and disappear after four years. It’s my life too.

I want to be angry but it won’t come. Stung by the accusa­tions levelled against me, I’m also numbed by a cold, creeping sensation that I may in fact be guilty as charged.

I glance down at my feet. Doggo was there before; he’s now on the sofa. He knows he’s not allowed on the sofa, but he doesn’t seem too worried about my reaction. In fact he’s not even looking at me. His chin is on his paws and he’s staring intently out of the window, as though the passing clouds hold the key to some metaphysical conundrum he’s wrestling with.

‘Doggo.’

He doesn’t turn, but then again it’s not a name he has ever answered to, possibly because he knows it’s not really a name, just something we’re calling him until we’ve decided what we’re really going to call him.

We’ve tried everything – we’ve even trawled through websites of baby names, but somehow none of them fitted. For a while we thought ‘Eustace’ might be the answer. It didn’t even last a day. According to Wikipedia, St Eustace was a Roman general who converted to Christianity only to suffer a grim catalogue of torments and misfortunes which included being roasted alive, along with his sons, inside a bronze statue of a bull. You had to hand it to the Emperor Hadrian: he not only knew how to build a wall, he had a dark imagination when it came to disposing of his enemies. St Eustace, I now know, is the patron saint of firefighters (the ones who failed to put out the flames that cooked him) and, more generally, anyone facing adversity.

‘Eustace,’ I say. ‘I’m facing adversity.’

Doggo cocks his ear, just the one, the left one, but it’s little more than a momentary twitch. His eyes remain fixed on the scudding clouds.

I pull my mobile from my pocket. I know her number is stored in it because we communicated about the surprise birthday party for Clara back in April. She works as a coordi­nator for a children’s activities company and seems to spend most of her time white-water rafting in Wales. What with it being the school holidays, I’m expecting to leave a message.

She answers on the fourth ring. ‘Daniel . . . . . .’

Just one word, but it carries in it an enticing mix of pleasure, surprise and anticipation.

‘Hey, Polly.’ Another twitch of Doggo’s ear, the right one this time. ‘How’s it going?’

Clara only has herself to blame, I tell myself, almost believing it. The thought would never have occurred to me if she hadn’t brought it up.

‘Great,’ chirps Polly. ‘Working like a dog.’

I look at Doggo welded to the sofa, almost at one with it, and I wonder where on earth that phrase came from.

Waiting For Doggo by Mark B. Mills is published 13 August in paperback, and the ebook is out now. Grab a copy here. It’s great.

doggo3d

August 7, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books

Reading Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books for the first time

Tom has just finished reading Stieg Larsson’s Millennium books for the the very first time. Here’s what he made of the mega-selling series…

I’m not proud to admit it, but I completely ignored Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With… series the first time round. To be perfectly honest, I’m not quite sure why.

I mean, it was (and still is) a global phenomenon. Eighty million copies sold worldwide. A huge film and TV series, plus a US version starring James Bond. A superb parody in New Yorker.

But with a new book in the series on its way, I realised it was time to put down my Palm Tungsten T3, make a few open sandwiches and Billy’s Pan Pizzas, and then get cracking my way through the first three books. And I’m bloody glad I did.

Even when the third book becomes a bit of a legal minefield (no spoilers in case you haven’t read them), packed with characters with very similar names, it’s still utterly captivating. It takes a very special writer, and indeed a very special cast of characters, to make you want to read three (pretty hefty) volumes, one after another. But the world that Mr Larsson created sucks you in and just doesn’t let go.

The best bits are always when Lisbeth Salander, the pierced, tattooed, kick-ass computer hacker heroine, and Mikael Blomkvist (aka Kalle Bastard Blomkvist), the cynical and somewhat jaded journalist, appear on the page together. Although this happens far too infrequently, particularly in books two and three, it makes it all the more special when they do.

And now the duo are back in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. Of course, Stieg sadly died back in 2004, before the books came to global attention. Picking up the mantle is David Lagercrantz, the Swedish journalist and author perhaps best known, until now, for writing footballing genius/nutter Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s excellent autobiography, I Am Zlatan.

Plot details are being kept closely guarded, but it’s fair to say there’s quite a bit of controversy about the book even being published in the first place. Of course, there will always be readers who don’t want to see someone else take control of Blomkvist, Salander, Berger and co, and we understand those fears. However, from Sherlock Holmes to James Bond, via another legendary figure in crime fiction, Hercule Poirot (brought back last year by the brilliant Sophie Hannah), the literary world is full of famous characters who have been written by other authors very successfully. Another cool thing is that any profit the Stieg Larsson estate makes from the new book will be donated to the anti-racism magazine Expo, of which Larsson was co-founder and editor-in-chief from 1995 until his death.

We won’t be able to judge the new book until it’s published, but no matter what happens, the original trilogy will always be one of the greatest, most original crime fiction series of all time. Fingers crossed that The Girl in the Spider’s Web adds to this legacy. I think it will.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is published in hardback and ebook on 27 August 2015

Girl in the Spider's Web FINAL COVER IMAGE

August 4, 2015, Posted by Tom in Books, Books, Sport

9 great sport books for autumn 2015

Not that we want to wish away summer (“summer”) or anything, but it’s time to start looking ahead to autumn. ‘Why?’, we hear you cry. Well, because that’s the time of the year where loads of great sport books come out.

There’s still a while to go for most of these, but who cares? Here are some of the big sport books for autumn 2015 that we’re already looking forward to…

sam

Big Sam: My Autobiography by Sam Allardyce

When it comes to legendary old-school Premiership managers, they don’t come much bigger (quite literally) than Big Sam Allardyce. From 20 years as a player and over 25 as a coach and a manager, this rollicking memoir should be as honest and hard-hitting as the man himself.
Hardback, 8th October, Headline, £20

 

Mourinho by Jose Mourinho

And on the opposite end of the management scale, the Chelsea boss tells his story via the medium of photography in this ‘visually sumptuous celebration’ of his incredible career. It’s the very first official book from Jose, so should be an essential purchase for Chelsea fans.
Hardback, 6th October, Headline, £20

 

geraint

The World of Cycling According to G by Geraint Thomas

Double Olympic gold medallist. Multiple world champion. Team Sky hero. When it comes to cycling, few people are as qualified to celebrate life on two wheels as Mr Thomas. And that’s exactly what he does in this funny, informative book. Top stuff.
Hardback, 29th October, Quercus, £20

 

webber

Aussie Grit: My Formula One Journey by Mark Webber

If you like watching very fast cars been driven round tracks across the globe, then you’ll love this autobiography from the legendary Australian driver. Hopefully he’ll dish some dirt on his former teammate/biggest rival, Seb Vettel, too.
Hardback, 10th September, Macmillan, £20

 

adam jones

Bomb by Adam Jones

It’s the Rugby World Cup this autumn, and one man the Welsh team will be missing is the cult hero and all-round legend Adam Jones. This is his story, going from being a normal bloke laying paving slabs in Swansea through to becoming one of only six Welshmen who’ve won three Grand Slams. Great hair too.
Hardback, 10th September, Headline £20

 

My Autobiography by Dan Carter

Another rugby legend, but this time from the other side of the planet. Dan is acknowledged as the greatest fly-half to have played international rugby and a veteran of over 100 Test matches for the All Blacks. This is him looking back on his career to date and reflecting on his unflinching loyalty to the famous black jersey. Go on, give it a TRY.
Hardback, 12th November, Headline, £20

 

Commitment by Didier Drogba

Remember when Didier Drogba scored that decisive penalty to win the Champions League for Chelsea? Awesome stuff. This autobiography from the footballing legend promises to be packed with reflections on incredible moments such as that. He’s also a genuinely good egg, having helped thousands through the Didier Drogba Foundation. Nice work, Dids.
Hardback, 5th November, Hodder & Stoughton, £20

 

Steve

My Story by Steven Gerrard

Another football legend, but this time it’s one without a collection of Premier League winner’s medals (sorry Liverpool fans, we’re just teasing). But seriously, Stevie G has dragged Liverpool and England out of many a tight spot over the years, and will go down as one of the greatest English midfielders of all time. As he starts his new adventure in the MLS, it’s a good time to reflect on his legendary career.
Hardback, 24th September, Penguin, £20

 

tuffers

Where Am I? by Phil Tufnell

Last, but certainly not least – a bit of Tuffers! The cricket/Strictly/celebrities in the jungle legend hasn’t had the most conventional career, to put it mildly. His autobiography is genuinely very funny and shows just why he’s a national treasure. God bless you, Phil.
Hardback, 27th August, Headline, £20

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