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The Gringo Champion

Author: Aura Xilonen

Language: English

Summary: The award-winning debut novel by young Mexican author Aura Xilonen, The Gringo Champion is a thrillingly inventive story about crossing borders that the Los Angeles Review of Books called “one of the must-read books of 2017.”

Liborio has to leave Mexico, a land that has taught him little more than a keen instinct for survival. He crosses the Rio Bravo, like so many others, to reach “the promised land.” And in a barrio like any other, in some gringo city, this illegal immigrant tells his story.

As Liborio narrates his memories we discover a childhood scarred by malnutrition and abandonment, adolescence lived with a sense of having nothing to lose. In his new home, he finds a job at a bookstore. He falls in love with a woman so intensely that his fantasies of her verge on obsession. And, finally, he finds himself on a path that just might save him: he becomes a boxer.

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Born to run: my story

Author: Cathy Freeman

Language: English

Summary: “Hi guys, ever since I was little I only had one dream – to win a gold medal at the Olympics. When I was twenty-seven years old, my dream came true. I’ll never forget that night at the Sydney 2000 Games – as I crossed the finish line, it was as if the whole of Australia was cheering for me. Sometimes I still wonder how it happened.

When I was growing up, I felt no different to anyone else. I loved having fun with my brothers, sleeping over at nanna’s and going horse riding with my dad. But I especially loved to run. With the help of my family, coaches and teachers, I became the best female 400-metre runner in the world. I hope you enjoy my story, and that it inspires you to chase after your dreams too!” (from the blurb)

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Splash!: 10,000 Years of Swimming

Author: Howard Means

Language: English

Summary: From man’s first recorded dip into what’s now the driest spot on earth to the splashing, sparkling pool party in your backyard, humans have been getting wet for 10,000 years. And for most of modern history, swimming has caused a ripple that touches us all–the heroes and the ordinary folk; the real and the mythic.

Splash! dives into Egypt, winds through ancient Greece and Rome, flows mostly underground through the Dark and Middle Ages (at least in Europe), and then reemerges in the wake of the Renaissance before taking its final lap at today’s Olympic games. Along the way, it kicks away the idea that swimming is just about moving through water, about speed or great feats of aquatic endurance, and shows you how much more it can be. Its history offers a multi-tiered tour through religion, fashion, architecture, sanitation and public health, colonialism, segregation and integration, sexism, sexiness, guts, glory, and much, much more.

Unique and compelling, Splash! sweeps across the whole of humankind’s swimming history–and just like jumping into a pool on a hot summer’s day, it has fun along the way.

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Outcasts United: an American town, a refugee team, and one woman’s quest to make a difference

Author: Warren St. John

Language: English

Summary: The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town.

Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement centre in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colours playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.

Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach. Warren St. John documents the lives of a diverse group of young people as they miraculously coalesce into a band of brothers, while also drawing a fascinating portrait of a fading American town struggling to accommodate its new arrivals. At the centre of the story is fiery Coach Luma, who relentlessly drives her players to success on the soccer field while holding together their lives—and the lives of their families—in the face of a series of daunting challenges.

This fast-paced chronicle of a single season is a complex and inspiring tale of a small town becoming a global community—and an account of the ingenious and complicated ways we create a home in a changing world.

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At Home: A Short History of Private Life

Author: Bill Bryson

Language: English

Summary: In At Home, Bill Bryson applies the same irrepressible curiosity, irresistible wit, stylish prose and masterful storytelling that made A Short History of Nearly Everything one of the most lauded books of the last decade, and delivers one of the most entertaining and illuminating books ever written about the history of the way we live.

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Mother Land

Author: Leah Franqui

Language: English

Summary: When Rachel Meyer, a thirtysomething foodie from New York, agrees to move to Mumbai with her Indian-born husband, Dhruv, she knows some culture shock is inevitable. Blessed with a curious mind and an independent spirit, Rachel is determined to learn her way around the hot, noisy, seemingly infinite metropolis she now calls home. 

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