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Booked! (v. carefully) Selected Writings by Tom Humphries
Published by Townhouse, 2004

Booked! is a collection of the distinctive writings of Ireland’s best-known sportswriter Tom Humphries. The book features pieces from his weekly Locker Room column in the Irish Times, articles he has written on various sporting personalities plus a selection of his writings for Sports Illustrated.

The pieces are arranged in chronological order from March 1993 to September 2003 and include many of the momentous occasions in Irish sport during that time. His infamous column from summer 1996 questioning Michele Smith’s successes in the Olympics is here as is his report of Sonia O’Sullivan’s victory in Sydney. But in addition to the big events, Humphries also covers less well known sporting occasions such as the Iditarod Sled Dog race and the National Coursing Championships.

Humphries goes behind the scenes of these events to show us the real emotion behind the successes and failures. There is an account of a dinner in the Ó hAilpín household, an article on Frank Barrett’s dreams and a look at the private lives of characters such as Jack Charlton, Sean Boylan and Johnny Pilkington.

Although this book is a celebration of sport, much of Humphries’ writing deals with aspects of sport with which he takes issue. He bemoans the commercialism of sport where the ‘Real Fans’ are treated like “bloody paying customers” and the influence of digital TV which is leading to the “denial of sport as a community experience”. He rallies against the exclusivity of rugby and the proliferation of golf courses around Ireland which is turning the country into “one great golfing theme park”. But despite these quibbles, the passion that Humphries has for sport and his belief in the importance of sport in the lives of the ordinary man shines throughout his writings.

At 452 pages, this is not a book for reading at one sitting. Rather the format of the book makes it ideal for dipping into as the moment arises. Even for those with only a passing interest in sport – agree or disagree with the opinions of Tom Humphries - this book is a lively and entertaining read.

‘What makes this book such an enjoyable read is the broad-ranging subject matter. Articles that will raise your spirits, cause you to swear, astonish you and make you laugh. If you don’t like what you’re reading, turn the page and there’s a brand new story waiting for you’
Eoghan Ferrie, Emigrant Online

‘The greatest sportswriter of his generation’
Bill O’Herlihy, The Irish Times

‘The passion that Tom Humphries has for sport, and quality sports journalism, shines through this collection…. The beauty of Humphries’ writing is that he makes you feel part of the event. …An ideal companion over a long journey, or for the ten minutes before the taxi comes. An all-star performance’
Dónal Moriarty, RTE

Tom Humphries is a sportswriter and regular columnist with The Irish Times.
He lives in Dublin.

Tom Humphries is donating all proceeds from this book to the Irish section of Amnesty International.

By the same author:
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