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RSH Book Club: See which sports books made our rail reading squad

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With the world’s biggest sporting event heading to the capital this summer, it’s time to get your train reading list in shape too.

Read on to find out which books made it into the final round of our top rail reads this month. And don’t forget to check out our journey planner for cheap train tickets before you travel.

1. Up Pohnpei – Paul Watson

Up Pohnpei tells the unlikely story of two flatmates who decided to become international football coaches. Football journalist Paul Watson – brother of comedian Mark Watson – and film student Matthew Conrad decided to contact the world’s lowest ranked team, Pohnpei, and offer to coach them.

Initially, the Pohnpei Soccer Association thought their email was a joke, but eventually they agreed and Paul and Mark flew out to the tiny island in the West Pacific to live out their boyhood dreams. Although Pohnpei had officially had a soccer team since 1985, it had never won a game. And when the pair arrived on the island, they realised they didn’t even have any players.

Matt Conrad’s also in the process of making a film based on their experiences. Check the official website for the movie, the planned title for which is “The Soccermen”, for the latest news, and take a look at the video to find out more about “Up Pohnpei”.

2. Merckx: Half Man Half Bike – William Fotheringham

This recently released biography of Eddy “the Cannibal” Merckx – five-time Tour de France winner, triple World Champion and three-time Giros d’Italia winner – has received rave reviews in the press and online review sites.

William Fotheringham traces Merckx’s life from his humble beginnings as a son of a Brussels grocer and his battles against the unfair and corrupt world of cycling in the 1960s to his astonishing wins and dramatic crashes, providing the reader with insights into his personality and the reasons for his determination and success.

3. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods – Hank Haney

This controversial tell-all book about one of the world’s most famous golfers hit the headlines in March 2012. Its author, Hank Haney, worked for Tiger Woods as his swing coach for six years and the title reflects Haney’s opinion that Tiger’s major flaw as a golfer was his fear of what he calls ‘the big miss’ – a terrible shot that could ruin his round.

Haney’s book blends details of his coaching tactics and analysis of Tiger’s game with gossip and tales about the world champion’s private life and personality traits – and some of the revelations contained in it resulted in Tiger’s management launched a scathing attack on Haney, whilst other critics accused him of breaching player / coach confidentiality.

If you want to know what all the fuss is about, pick up a copy of this fascinating new book to read on your next train journey.

4. Formula 1: All the Races – Roger Smith

If you’re an F1 fan – or just want to know more about the history of this high-adrenaline sport – this book will make the perfect travelling companion on your next train trip.

It provides a comprehensive record of every World Championship that’s taken place between 1950 and 2011, detailing the key events of each of the 858 races from qualifying through to the race finish. Although it’s larger than your average train read, it’s well worth making room in your luggage for this detailed and informative book.

5. Rafa: My Story – Rafael Nadal & John Carlin

This autobiography of former World No. 1 tennis player Rafael Nadal came out in 2011, but it’s still featuring in the best-selling sporting books lists. It’s the perfect choice for tennis fans who want to know more about the Spanish star and find out what has driven him to become the player he is.

The book features sections of first-person narrative, in which Rafa talks about his childhood in Majorca, his relationship with his Uncle Toni, who coached him when he was a boy and his feelings about tennis, and provides detailed accounts of key matches in his career. It also includes a number of third-person essays, each providing details on a different aspect of Rafa’s career or personality.

Which sports book would you give the gold medal for best train-read to? Tweet or Facebook us and let us know.

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