Share on Facebook

10 Books to Read Before the 2016 Olympics

Both the Olympics and Brazil have fascinating histories, and this August, their stories are coming together. We asked the experts at Chapters Indigo to recommend 10 of the best books worth reading in time for the 2016 Olympics.

1 / 10
Read The Games before the 2016 OlympicsPhoto: Chapters

1. The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt

Sportswriter David Goldblatt delivers a stirring account of the biggest sports event in the world, from its 1896 reinvention to the present day-and everything in between. The Games also chronicles the conflicts that changed the event, from women’s rights to the postcolonial world’s fight for recognition. If you want to know more about the event ahead of the 2016 Olympics, you simply must give this a read.

2 / 10
Read The Boys In The Boat in time for the 2016 OlympicsPhoto: Chapters

2. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Looking for some inspiration? Here’s the improbable story of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world (and Adolf Hitler) what rowing really looks like at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories, Brown has created an moving portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary team’s quest for victory.

3 / 10
Read Brazillionaires in time for the 2016 OlympicsPhoto: Chapters

3. Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence and Hope in an American Country by Alex Cuadros

There are several reasons why many have questioned the IOC’s decision to choose Rio de Janeiro as the host city for the 2016 Olympics-and one of them is Brazil’s staggering wealth inequality. In Brazillionaires, journalist Alex Cuadros explores the emerging class of billionaires at the height of the Brazilian boom. Prepare to see a glimpse of Brazil’s most rich and powerful-a microcosm of the world’s top one per cent.

4 / 10
Read For The Glory before the 2016 OlympicsPhoto: Chapters

4. For The Glory: Olympic Legend Eric Liddell’s Journey of Faith and Survival by Duncan Hamilton

Olympic gold medalist Eric Liddell is more than a character from 1981’s Chariots of Fire. While he was a renowned athlete, his true calling was his faith. After his competitive career, Liddell and his family settled in China. When the war with Japan began, he stayed behind to help the desperate Chinese. For the Glory is both an emotional narrative of athletic heroism and a gripping story of faith in the darkest moments.

5 / 10
Read Dancing With The Devil in time for the 2016 OlympicsPhoto: Chapters

5. Dance with the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic Dream by Juliana Barbassa

From Brazilian journalist Juliana Barbassa comes an intimate account of the beautiful and chaotic city of Rio de Janeiro on the brink of the 2016 Olympics. Barbassa recounts the biggest problems of her native city-inflation, drug wars, corrupt leaders and dying neighbourhoods. Rio de Janeiro has always aspired to be a world-renowned city, and Dancing with the Devil in the City of God depicts just hard that mission has been.

6 / 10
Lonely Planet Brazil guidebookPhoto: Chapters

6. Lonely Planet Brazil: Tenth Edition by Lonely Planet

Looking for advice on what to see or skip in the host city for the 2016 Olympics? Look no further than Lonely Planet Brazil. Whether you want to party at Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, get face-to-face with monkeys in the Amazon or swim in the neon blue waters of Bonito, this book’s got you covered.

Check out our countdown of Rio de Janeiro’s top 10 adventures for tourists!

7 / 10
Read Brazil's Dance With The Devil in time for the 2016 OlympicsPhoto: Chapters

7. Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and the Fight for Democracy by Dave Zirin

The people of Brazil rejoiced when they learned that in the span of two years their country would host the world’s two largest sporting events: the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Now, they’re protesting in numbers the country hasn’t seen in decades. Dave Zirin relies on fieldwork from the most dangerous corners of Rio to the halls of power in Washington, D.C., exposing how sports, politics and economy have collided in spectacular fashion.

8 / 10
Olympic and World Records coverPhoto: Chapters

8. Olympic and World Records: Rio 2016 Edition by Keir Radnedge

The 2012 Olympic Games in London attracted a global television audience of 6.7 billion people. This updated edition of Olympic and World Records not only includes the highlights and superstars from the last Summer Games, but also prepares fans for the excitement of Rio 2016. It’s essential reading for anyone who loves the Olympics-the greatest and most revered spectacle in world sport.

9 / 10
The Treasures Of The Olympic GamesPhoto: Chapters

9. The Treasures of the Olympic Games by The Olympic Museum

Revised and updated to include all the events of London 2012, The Treasures of the Olympic Games also looks forward to the 2016 Olympics-the first ever hosted in South America. The book contains more than 200 photographs, copies of rare documents from the museum’s archives and a DVD featuring footage of the most dramatic moments in Olympic history.

10 / 10
The Olympic Games Miscellany Photo: Chapters

10. The Olympic Games Miscellany: Third Edition by John White

Part history book, biography, encyclopedia and almanac, The Olympic Games Miscellany features stories on some of the greatest athletes ever to have taken the Olympic oath. Boasting hundreds of exciting stories from the Games-tales of bravery, misery, joy and despair-chances are your favourites are included. This is a must-read for any true sports fan.

Related features:
5 Underrated Events Worth Watching At The 2016 Olympics
10 Beautiful Reasons To Visit Rio de Janeiro
10 Must-Visit Olympic Cities