Swimming… Deserves a good book

That’s one of my favourite songs, predominantly because it’s about one of my favourite things – swimming.

I could have made a list of ten words that instantly make me pick up a book (this week’s Top Ten topic, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish) but it seemed like I was repeating what I’d done here. So instead I thought of the one single word that is a sure-fire winner for me. No prizes for guessing what that word is…. But if you haven’t, you ought to go back to the start of this post).


I’ve mentioned my thing for swimming before – here when I was lusting over coffee-table books about pools and here when I outlined why it’s an important part of my life. So rather than list ten individual words that make me read a book, I’ve rounded up ten books with swimming in the title – some I’ve read, some I have in my TBR stack and others are brand new discoveries –

Read –

1. Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton – a remarkable, creative book.

2. Swimming Home by Deborah Levy – a sensational, quick read.

3. Swimming to Elba by Silvia Avallone – this one missed the mark for me but I am keen to hear what others thought.


In my TBR stack –

4. The J. M. Barrie Ladies Swimming Society by Barbara Zitwer – I love this article about the book launch, if only for the quote –

“With the ice-cold boobs of executives and authors flying around and orgiastic shrieking and panting filling the air, I mused to myself: this is a book launch like no other. We felt drunk, reckless and in touch with some elemental humanity, as well as each other’s bottoms.”

5. Pondlife: A Swimmers Journal by A. Alvarez – more British pond swimming, but this time it’s the men’s turn.

6. Swimming at Night by Lucy Clarke – intrigued by the opening line –

“People go travelling for two reasons: because they are searching for something, or they are running from something.”

7. The First Rule of Swimming by Courtney Angela Brkic – is it just me, or do you get totally sucked in by the mention of ‘shocking family secrets’ on a jacket blurb?


New discoveries –

8. The Swimming Pool Season by Rose Tremain – I haven’t read much by Tremain but whenever I have I think “I should read more by her…”

9. The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst – how did I miss this?

10. A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt – I loved this brother’s books and I loved Malachy in his brother’s books, so it stands to reason I’ll love Malachy writing his own book.


14 responses

  1. I like what you did with this week’s TTT! I have yet to read Swimming Home (been eyeing it ever since it was shortlisted for the Man Booker) and I’ve started reading The First Rule of Swimming–can’t wait to see where that story goes 🙂 Am going to have to check out some of these other titles, they look fantastic 😀

  2. I miss swimming so much, it’s one of the oddest aspects of living where I do now. There’s very little water and not many people even know how to swim. I grew up near the beach and actually yearn for it. I will let you know about Swimming to Elba…

  3. I hate swimming (in a pool) but I love your post! I have read none of the books (I have heard of ‘Swimming Home’ and of the Hollinghurst). ‘The First Rule of Swimming’ is one of my next reads.
    Thanks for all these ideas 🙂

  4. As a former swimmer myself, I love where you’ve gone with the Top Ten this week! I will most definitely need to check out a few of these picks. I have an ARC of Swimming at Night that is just begging to be read — the cover is just so pretty! The only related book I can remember reading myself was one by Joanna Hershon titled just ‘Swimming’ — don’t remember much about it, but it was a decent read and I definitely picked it up because of the title! (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/177701.Swimming)

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