Required Reading

   

Shopping for Porcupine: A Life in Arctic Alaska
By Seth Kantner
(MILKWEED, $28)

Seth Kantner knows from roughing it: He grew up in a sod igloo. In his new memoir, Kantner (Ordinary Wolves) describes an Alaskan childhood spent trapping wolverines and jigging for grayling with his back-to-the-land parents and, later, on his own. While the natives longed for motors and packaged foods, his parents preferred the last century. Kantner and his brother, he writes, were "the children of changing times on a frontier falling apart."

Rome 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World
By David Maraniss
(SIMON & SCHUSTER, $27)
At the height of the Cold War, Olympians battled not just for medals but for ideological allegiances. At center stage were America's black and female athletes, like boxer Cassius Clay and sprinter Wilma Rudolph, whose performances, argues journalist David Maraniss, helped deflate Soviet claims that U.S. democracy was not egalitarian. Maraniss spices up his blow-by-blow account of the Games with behind-the-scenes intrigue, including the Olympics' first doping scandal. Those hot Roman weeks ushered in the modern era of sports.

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