standing Westerly Library

The Summer Olympics are finally beginning this Friday, a full year after their intended start date of July 24, 2020. Suffice to say, both athletes and fans are more than ready for the action to begin. The games are held in Tokyo this year, and while no in-person spectators will be allowed, all of the events will stream live between July 23 and Aug. 8. I’ve come up with a list of some of the best sports-related books available through the library and our Ocean State Libraries consortium to get you in the mood.

For those of you interested in the social and cultural history of the Olympics, acclaimed sportswriter David Goldblatt published a fantastic book in 2016 (just prior to the last summer Olympics) entitled “The Games: A Global History of the Olympics”. For something a bit lighter (both in tone and heftiness), take a look at “Total Olympics: Every Obscure, Hilarious, Dramatic, and Inspiring Tale Worth Knowing” by Jeremy Fuchs, a gratifying compilation of pictures, stories, and “did you know” facts that is sure to please.

There are many reasons we are drawn to the Olympics: our innate competitiveness as human beings, our pride in watching athletes from our country compete, and, not least, for the inspiring stories and performances. If this sounds like you, there are a few books that you may also enjoy: “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice” by Deborah Riley Draper and Travis Thrasher is a powerful story of 18 African American athletes who competed in the 1936 games, held in Nazi Germany. The book is actually a companion piece to the 2016 documentary of the same name, which is available through our consortium, or digitally through the Hoopla app. A similar story is “Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown about the American rowing team who competed in the same 1936 games.

Even if you’re not interested in sports, there are plenty of great memoirs and biographies of athletes that are sure to inspire. Gold medalist (and now household name) Simone Biles penned a book about her life in 2016, called “Courage to Soar,” which details her difficult upbringing and long road to the top of her sport. More recently, American soccer star Megan Rapinoe released her own New York Times bestselling memoir “One Life,” and only last month NBA star Chris Bosh shared his story in “Letters to a Young Athlete.” All of these (and MUCH more) are available with through the OSL consortium with your library card.

Top requested books

1. “The Last Thing He Told Me” by Laura Dave

2. “Golden Girl” by Elin Hilderbrand

3. “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah

4. “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5. “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig

6. “The Madness of Crowds” by Louise Penny

7. “The Maidens” by Alex Michaelides

8. “People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry

9. “The Cellist” by Daniel Silva

10. “The President’s Daughter” by James Patterson

Top requested DVDs

1. “Nobody”

2. “Wrath of Man”

3. “The Truffle Hunters”

4. “Palm Springs”

5. “French Exit”

6. “Godzilla vs. Kong”

7. “Unforgotten Season 4”

8. “Artemis Fowl”

9. “Blithe Spirit”

10. “The Courier”

This week

MONDAY — 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Maker Mondays Summer Reading Program – Grab a new fun craft for kids to take home and enjoy. Stop by while supplies last; 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Teen Take and Make – Come grab a craft project from the Teen Space! Available while supplies last. One per teen please; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Summer Reading Crafternoon To-Go – This week, we’re making feather inspired yarn earrings. Pick up your kit in Reference while supplies last; 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Free Summer Lunches – Anyone under 18 can join us for a takeaway lunch, no income limits or registration required. This program is offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lunches are available Monday through Friday.

TUESDAY — 9-10 a.m., Yoga in the Park with Chelsea Hauck – Join us every Tuesday for a beginner-friendly yoga practice on the YMCA side of the park. Please bring a yoga mat, a towel, a water bottle; 10-10:30 a.m., Virtual Children’s Yoga (Ages 3-12) – Join us on Zoom for a fun children’s yoga class to introduce kids to poses, sequences, and mindfulness. Preregistration is required; 1-4 p.m., Community Resource Advocate – Our volunteer Community Resource Advocate is available via email to help connect you with local services/resources. Email her at; 3-3:45 p.m., Teen Involvement – Interested in making a change in your community? Join us in a discussion of what’s going on in the world and what you can do to help! Email to register; 5:30-7:30 Knit and Crochet Club – The Knit and Crochet Group is meeting weekly upstairs in Reference!

WEDNESDAY — 9:30-10:00 a.m., Essentrics Stretch in the Park – This 30 minute workout will elongate and strengthen all the muscles chains in the body. Bring a mat, bath towel, and water; 12:30-2 p.m., Virtual Tech Social – Join us on Zoom for help with your tech questions. Preregistration is required; 1-1:30 p.m., Music and Movement (ages infant-5) – Join us on Zoom to sing, dance and move your bodies! Preregistration is required.

THURSDAY — 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Friends Pop-up Book Sale – Join the Friends for their Summer Pop-up Book Sale! Please note they will accept cash or check only; 4-4:45 p.m., Teen Book Club (Virtual) – Join the teen librarians for book discussions, recommendations, and creative writing tips! Registration is required; 5:30-6:30 p.m., Virtual Author Talk w/ Kristin Harmel – Join us on Zoom to hear Harmel talk about her book “The Forest of Vanishing Stars”. One attendee will be chosen at random to win a swag bag, including a signed copy of Hamel’s book “The Book of Lost Names”. Program in partnership with Savoy Bookshop; 6:30-8 p.m., Stage Door Theater Presents Love Letters by A.R. Gurney – Enjoy a new performance in Wilcox Park. This play will run through Sunday, July 25th.

FRIDAY — 10-10:20 a.m., Kids Facebook Live Storytime – Join our Children’s Room staff, as each week, we do a short storytime through Facebook Live. Participants can go to the library Facebook Page and click on the ‘Live’ tab at the top.

SATURDAY — 9 a.m.-12 p.m., URI Master Gardener Kiosk – Get research-based answers to all of your gardening questions, and have your soil tested for free; 10-11:30 a.m., Walking Tour of Wilcox Park | Native Flowers and Trees – During this tour you will learn about the value of natives, and see the native perennials and trees in Wilcox Park. Please meet on the Esplanade at the side entrance of the library.

Cassie Skobrak is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.

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