Challenging the misconception that professional athletes would rather reach for an X-Box controller than a good book, Bath Rugby has joined up with Waterstones on Milsom Street to bring you its players' Top 10 Summer Reads.
Bath Rugby's sports science staff have long been advising players to forego the gadgets in favour of a paperback – mainly at night, when the electrical rays from a smartphone screen can disrupt sleep patterns and physical recovery – hence why the squad are now complementing lifting heavy weights with reading weighty tomes.
If you asked the international trio of Dave Attwood, David Wilson and Rob Webber, they'll tell you that they like nothing more than delving into a good book to help them relax. This is especially true now that the squad is in the midst of one of the hardest stages of the rugby calendar: the dreaded pre-season.
As such, a group of players visited their local Waterstones on Milsom Street to select some books for the summer – and showed themselves to have varying tastes in literature. Far from heading straight to the sports section, as one might expect, their choices ranged from musical autobiography to contemporary history.
"It was really enjoyable coming into the store and browsing today, because I love getting lost in a good book," said Attwood, a Philosophy and Physics graduate from Bristol University, who faced the All Blacks in England's three-Test series in New Zealand this summer. "There are lots of enthusiastic readers at Bath, which is probably reflected in the books we've chosen as our Summer Reads."
The Club has emphasised the importance of literacy and reading throughout the year, and on Friday 29th August Bath Rugby will be hosting a comic book workshop in its Clubhouse as part of the city's Telegraph Children's Literature Festival. This follows a recent visit by captain Stuart Hooper and Gavin Henson to a nursery in Bradford on Avon to celebrate International Children's Book Day.
"It is always fantastic, and not uncommon, to see the Bath Rugby guys in our book shop," said Leon Thomas, Senior Bookseller at Waterstones. "Not only does it counter pre-conceived notions of sportsmen not reading, but it shows the younger generation that reading is important to everybody and can provide an incredible route of escape. It is also fantastic for the people of Bath, who are big rugby supporters, to see what their team is reading. It creates a nice sense of community."
Bath Rugby Supporters can join in the literary fun by sharing their Summer Reads with us through the hashtag #summerreads. You can also win all 10 books signed by the players and a family ticket to our opening home game of the season against London Welsh on Saturday 13th September. All you need to do is tell us, through Facebook or Twitter (using the #summerreads hashtag) which literary figure Stuart Hooper most reminds you of and why!
Bath Rugby's Top 10 Summer Reads:
The Magician's Guild by Trudi Canavan (Dave Attwood)
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (Nathan Catt)
Bounce by Matthew Syed (George Ford)
Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis (Gavin Henson)
Salt, Sweat, Tears: The Men Who Rowed Oceans by Adam Rackley (Stuart Hooper)
JFK's Last Hundred Days: An Intimate Portrait of a Great President by Thurston Clarke (Paul James)
Legacy: 15 Lessons in Leadership by James Kerr (Guy Mercer)
The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle (Anthony Watson)
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (Rob Webber)
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (David Wilson)