Sports journalism can be a tricky thing. Trying to convey the essence and verve of sporting events can suck enthusiasm from the writer, but the passion that Tom Humphries has for sport, and quality sports journalism, shines through this collection of his features and 'Locker Room' articles printed in The Irish Times and other publications since 1993.
Be it Winter Olympics figure skating, All-Ireland Finals, World Cups or Camogie matches, Humphries writes in a refreshingly candid and accessible manner. He draws the reader in to the emotion of the event, promoting the simple pleasure the sport provides despite its often cynical and commercial nature today.
The beauty of Humphries' writing is that he makes you feel part of the event. At the dinner table with the Ó hAilpín family, on the side of Everest in a blizzard, waiting for a bitterly disappointed Sonia, you are there. You nod in agreement to his ramblings on Stadium Ireland. You vehemently argue with his approach to Michelle de Bruin. You sympathise with him on the plight of his beloved Leeds United, and you laugh at his antics at the Winter Olympics. It's like having a barstool conversation with a book.
The nature of 'BOOKED!' means the reader might dip in and out, reading selected passages and perhaps skipping others due to the less than popular nature of the topic. Don't. You could miss seeing John Lenihan run up Carrauntoohil. Or Steve Bradbury avoiding the carnage for Olympic glory. Or the trials and tribulations of a work-a-day sports hack.
An ideal companion over a long journey, or for the ten minutes before the taxi comes. And with the royalties going to Amnesty International a good cause gets a leg up. An All-Star performance.