We love a good, challenging BookBingoNW2021 category! Case in point? Read a book – fiction or non-fiction – set in an Olympic Host City! Since the revival of the Modern Olympics in1896, the Games have been held in over forty different cities and towns around the world. Here are books featuring some of these far-flung locales.
The Rise of Athens, by Anthony Everitt. ATHENS, 1896. Presents a magisterial account of how Athens became the world’s most influential civilization, and how it helped establish the foundations of today’s world.
Vanessa and her Sister, by Priya Parmar. LONDON, 1908. This historical novel examines the adult lives of sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell circa 1900, focusing on the controversial and popular circle of the Bloomsbury Group.
Jazz Moon, by Joe Okonwo. PARIS, 1924. Ben Charles and his wife Angeline take part of the Harlem Renaissance scene in the 1920s. Ben finds himself drawn to Paris due to the influence of trumpeter Baby Back Johnston.
Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, by Deborah Riley Draper. BERLIN, 1936. Describes the inspiring story of 18 African Americans who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics despite the racism at home and abroad.
The Witch Hunter, by Max Seeck. HELSINKI, 1952 (1940). Investigating the grisly murder of a best-selling horror author’s wife, Jessica Niemi uncovers clues implicating a circle of dark witchcraft fanatics.
Adua, by Igiaba Scego. ROME, 1960. Adua, an immigrant from Somalia to Italy, has lived in Rome for nearly forty years, but now she must decide whether to make the journey home, and how to take charge of her own story and build a future.
The Master Key, by Masaka Togawa. TOKYO, 1964. The theft of the master key terrifies the elderly ladies living in an old apartment building in Tokyo and leads to the discovery of a child’s body buried in the basement.
Horizontal Vertigo, by Juan Villoro. MEXICO CITY, 1968. A history and tour of Mexico City from the Aztec period to today, and how fear of earthquakes led Mexicans to build their capital city outward rather than upward.
The Rat Catcher’s Olympics, by Colin Cotteril. MOSCOW, 1980. When the boycotting of the 1980 Olympic games gives the Democratic People’s Republic of Laos its first chance to compete, Dr. Siri Paiboun finagles the job of medical overseer only to uncover signs that one of the athletes may be an assassin.
The Girl Who Wasn’t There, by Vincent Zandri. LAKE PLACID, 1980. Sidney O’Keefe just wants to spend a peaceful weekend alone with his wife and daughter in the vacation paradise of Lake Placid, New York. Then his daughter goes missing.
But that’s just the beginning: check out this full chronological list of books set in Olympic Host Cities in our catalog – or share your own ideas in the comments!
If you haven’t yet, you can download your Bingo card and find some of our curated lists and related articles at our Book Bingo page, and find our Spanish-language Bingo card and lists here! Still looking for ideas? Don’t forget you can ask for a personalized reading list from Your Next 5 Books! Book bingo is presented in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures.
~ Posted by David W