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Swimming Studies by [Shapton, Leanne]
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Swimming Studies Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 21938 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399158170
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press; Reprint edition (July 5, 2012)
  • Publication Date: July 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0072NWK88
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Swimming Studies" is Shapton's memoir of her life as young swimmer training for Olympic trials, her continued fascination with water and bodies in water, and her eventual turn toward art. She's brave and honest, and her descriptions transport - you feel the squeeze of a bathing cap, the atmosphere in a bus full of young athletes on their way to a competition, the chlorinated air of swimming pools, her elation, and her exhaustion.

Her book isn't a sport memoir so much as a meditation on her journey (often a watery one), as Shapton figures out how her former swimming life inspires her life as an artist. I came to this book not as a swimmer, but as an artist, and it resonated when Shapton quoted "The Nuts and Bolts of Psychology for Swimmers," by Keith Bell. He writes about training discipline, the nonnegotiable commitment to practice. Words that apply equally to working on a creative project, once you have set a goal: "It doesn't make much sense to have to decide whether to take each individual step in a trip you have already decided to make."

I love Shapton's watercolor portraits of fellow swimmers, rectangles of pool water, and gallery of vintage swimsuits - in both digital and paper forms (our family ended up with both versions, and it was fun to compare the illustrations) - the book is a treasure!
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Format: Hardcover
There's something elusive, unsatisfying about this book - it doesn't have the absolutely lovely finality of Roger Deakin's Waterlog for instance - but that feeling of lack, of something missing is also what the book is about. Much recommended, though I regretted buying the book on Kindle - there are a lot of images that really don't translate to the small black-and-white screen.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book - enjoyed seeing the inside of the world of competitive swimming. I also enjoyed her collection of vintage swimsuits and swimming locations. I would have given this 5 stars, but her artwork section was not at the same level as the rest of the book. Perhaps it was better in print (I read on Kindle Fire).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't disagree with the criticism of this book, there are moments when one wonders why someone wrote it and why someone (especially if that someone is oneself) is reading it. The entire concept seems not only a bit arrogant, but the sort of pet project only a writer who's not exactly worried about making ends meet gets to take on, like a Carly Simon children's book. So this review is about what makes a book which fails the usual metrics great anyway, at least to me.

Here we go; 1) It's physically beautiful to look at inside and out (take that Kindle users - ha!). The cover construction and design is not only nice, it hints at aquatics in its color, and that subtlety matches the writing, it makes sense the author is an illustrator because there is a cohesion among otherwise separate concepts - the color of experiences, emotions in the form of surroundings. 2) The spare writing is deceptively complex. Novels-in-Three-Lines comes to mind as these 5 and 6 word sentences shake entire scenarios from the reader's subconscious. The book starts with a couple shocking lines about our relationship with water - no more questions about the reason for a swimming book after that! 3) Those girls in high school, whether they're athletes or musicians or drag-racers, who lived outside teenage life were the ones we were all really fascinated by, right? They seemed inaccessible, maybe even absent, but we knew their worlds were full of SOMETHING and never really stopped wondering what it was - here's the answer at last. 4) It's self indulgent and disjointed because the thoughts and lives of teenagers are self indulgent and disjointed.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed how this book! This really spoke to me because this is how I feel about my own sport, rowing. Since I began training everything in my life has been altered because I have discovered that I am more powerful than I thought and I have become even more driven to succeed. My rowing days are always in the back of my mind, especially when i'm near a body of water that is row-able. Another thing about this book that really spoke to me was the fact that this book is about someone who is really good at something, who wants to be great. This is something that I have really run into in my life with my academic work, as well as my athletic training. A quote that I really liked was saying that being special is made up of doing a not special thing a million times. Like one lap of a pool isn't special in itself, but to be a 'special' swimmer you must swim a million laps. The same thing applies to crew. I really saw a lot of similarities between the two sports.

One thing I didn't like about the book were how it was so fragmented like memories. This made is very realistic because that's how we think of our lives instead of a concrete autobiography, but it made the story of the author's life difficult to follow. I didn't get a true sense of where she was when in moments of time due to all of the snippets.
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