Book Reviews: Real Sporting Hero

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'Life's Too Short' by Helen Rollason (Coronet, pounds 6.99)

The nation took sports journalist Helen to their hearts when she was diagnosed with advanced colon and liver cancer.

Given three months to live she fought the disease every inch of the way and survived for two years.

She wrote this book towards the end of that time giving details of her life as the first female presenter of Grandstand and her love of sport.

She also talks frankly about the disease, its effects on her life and her fears for her teenage daughter Nikki.

Helen makes it clear that she never set out to be an inspiration and she was no braver than any other person trying to defeat cancer. But despite her protestations, many will be inspired by her optimism and drive to keep going.

With a forward by Desmond Lynam, the book, now available in paperback, also includes testaments from many of her friends and colleagues.

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'When We Were Orphans' by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber and Faber, pounds 16.99)

Ishiguro has the lightest of touches. The occasional word here and the odd observation there create the characters and their faults.

In the same way as his best-selling The Remains of the Day, the lead character of this latest novel has deceived himself. He has created a world which is safe and full of certainties. But life is not like that.

Orphaned when his parents disappeared in pre-war Shanghai, Christopher Banks finally sets off to discover the truth of their whereabouts. …