We’ve all been there. There’s seven days to go until Christmas and you’ve barely started with the shopping.
Books can be a great gift option, though, and the holiday season provides us with the time to sit down and enjoy a long read.
As always, the industry is flooded with a wide range of sports options at Christmas time, with, at last count, 643 former members of the Australian cricket team having books out.
It can make choosing the right book for the sports lover in your life seem like a near-impossible task.
But we’ve done the work for you, sifting through the books of 2016 to leave you with five of the best options.
Chris Rogers: Bucking The Trend
Bigger names in cricket released books this year but none were as interesting as Rogers’ effort with writer Daniel Brettig.
It is not only an inspiring tale of persistence, but also a genuine and revealing account of what it takes to play top-level cricket.
The left-handed batsman played in Australia, but also enjoyed an extensive career in the English county system, an experience he reflects on in very fond fashion.
Rogers’ ability to critique himself no doubt helped his cricket. It also makes this book a ripper. Hard to put down.
Ange Postecoglou: Changing The Game
Postecoglou’s reflections on his childhood, his relationship with his father and the South Melbourne Football Club are genuinely fascinating.
It slightly loses its way after that, morphing from autobiography to Postecoglou’s views on several flashpoints in Australian football history and his theories on the game, but remains very interesting.
Despite his standing in the game, Postecoglou doesn’t sugar-coat things and, as a result, football fans will love this.
Michelle Payne: Life As I Know It
This book sets a high standard for the film, telling the story of the jockey’s persistence despite a series of serious injuries.
It also takes the reader inside what is like to grow up in a massive family where racing dominates.
One particularly moving section details Payne’s heartbreaking recollection of her mother’s death – which happened in a car crash that some of Payne’s brothers and sisters survived – and how she used to call for her mum on her verandah.
A real highlight, of course, is her tale of winning the Melbourne Cup on Prince Of Penzance. You don’t need to be a racing fan to like this.
Test Of Character: Confessions Of Cricket Legends
It contains a series of short, interesting interviews with key figures in the game such as Michael Clarke, Muttiah Muralitharan, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Holding, Sir Richard Hadlee, Ian Chappell and Elysse Perry.
You also hear from the likes of John Cleese, Waleed Aly, Kerry O’Keeffe and Mark Taylor, as they share their picks for cricket highlights, lowlights and amusing moments, as well as their thoughts on topical issues in the game.
Wilshire’s skill in getting his interviewees to open up and give answers that aren’t run of the mill shines through.
Adam MacDougall: The 10 Minute Man
MacDougall does not suggest crash diets or rigorous gym programs, instead insisting 10 minutes of exercise a day and improved eating can make a big difference.
The book contains a series of suggested exercises and fitness dos and don’ts, but is centred on a heap of easy-to-cook and tasty recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Even the most-challenged cook should be able to master a few suggestions from the ex-Australia and New South Wales great.