Saturday, May 27, 2006

World Cup Reading

In addition to all of the great links Lynda (who is still out of commission today) listed in her last post, as well as the June issue of National Geographic that Eric helpfully mentioned in the comments, I'd like to steer your attention to two new books that I've been reading in preparation for the World Cup.

The World Cup: The Complete History by Terry Crouch has recently been reissued and it's a hefty (almost 600 pages!) tome of facts, history, and game analysis. Not the most page-turning, entertaining read--strictly for the soccer wonks out there--but I'm digging it nonetheless.

Much more satisfying in terms of readability and amusement, there is The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup, edited by Matt Weiland--who is the deputy editor of Granta--and Sean Wilsey--author of the memoir Oh the Glory of It All and editor at large of Mcsweeney's. The anthology features thirty-two writers (Nick Hornby, Aleksandar Hemon, Henning Mankell, Tim Parks, Eric Schlosser, and Dave Eggers among others) taking on the thirty-two countries competing in the greatest of all sporting events. A fantastic, eccentric, impressionistic primer for the games and I can't recommend it highly enough. Sure, there's bound to be essays that don't work for you or simply not be to your taste, but I found it enlightening, informative, and even poignant at times. Most importantly, though, it's all put together with passion. Galeano, who sadly couldn't be part of the project due to reasons best explained in the preface, should be proud.

And lastly, I should mention that the new issue of World Soccer magazine has hit the stands and it's a special edition featuring extensive coverage of the teams heading to Germany. There are interviews with all of the coaches, notable players, short overviews of each of the players who made it to their respective provisional squads, and plenty of commentary by plenty of experts. Essential stuff.

Now, if there was someway to fast-forward two weeks to the games . . . .

1 comment:

Lynda said...

Wish Ireland had made it in too, so they could've included a contribution from Roddy Doyle. I loved his piece in My Favorite Year about Ireland in the 1990 Cup. He's got a great voice himself and such a fantastic ear for the way people talk.