Don’t really want to veer off into politics, so will just say that I pretty much agree with you.
I read it and it does have some amusing and interesting passages but I thought it lacked cohesion and was a collection of items strung together. It didn’t really hold my attention and I’m afraid I sent to Oxfam!
That’s a fair comment. It definitely felt more of a collection of anecdotes and cultural facts - but I actually learnt a surprising amount from it.
So far this is the best book on football that I have ever read. The author pulls no punches and has great attention to detail. Much is focussed on Cruyff and Messi, but the author works in their contributions to the club in a very structured way.
If you want to understand why England fails to win competitions then read this book.
Sticking with the football theme I’d highly recommend The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by the American writer Joe McGinniss. In the mid-1990s McGinniss embedded himself with the Castel di Sangro football team, who had made an improbable rise through the ranks of Italian football to reach Serie B. He lived in the local town (popn 7,000) for a season, attending team talks, board meetings and sometimes offering advice to the team coach! Things didn’t end well, the club was relegated amid accusations of match-fixing. But it’s a fascinating story and a brilliantly written book.
thanks Tom, I will get a copy!
My pick for greatest ever football book is this:
(not FIFA endorsed)
If anyone is interested, this book is available on Amazon Kindle for 99p (today only, I think). Got my copy!
Any fans of both Haruki Murakami and Sir Terry Pratchett in the community? If so this might amuse you:
I’m am currently reading Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase (and loving it) and I came across the below passage which made me laugh out loud.
The “world”—the word always makes me think of a tortoise and elephants tirelessly supporting a gigantic disc. The elephants have no knowledge of the tortoise’s role, the tortoise unable to see what the elephants are doing. And neither is the least aware of the world on their backs.
Wow, I thought, Murakami must have read Pratchett! But then I did a bit of digging. First thing I found was that A Wild Sheep Chase was published in 1982 and the first Discworld novel was published in 1983! There was a sort of prototype to Discworld called Strata published in 1981 but although that had a discworld the elephant/turtle myth was only mentioned as an aside.
A little more digging reveals a (possibly mistaken) tortoise/elephant/world myth predating both authors by rather a long time: World Turtle - Wikipedia . In some ways this is even more remarkable; two authors on opposite sides of the world both latched onto the same rather obscure world myth within a couple of years of each other. Though Pratchett clearly ran a little further with it!
I sometimes love the rabbit holes you can go down on the internet!
Read everything I could get my hands on in my 20s. Then I stopped. No real reason. After that, I read one more book by him - the non-fiction one about running. His recent books remain unread at home. I must be unconsciously waiting for that Nobel prize announcement that never comes.
I started with 1Q84, loved it, and then Kafka on the Shore which I loved at least as much and so decided to start working through his works in chronological order of which the current one is number 3. Very interesting to see how he’s developed as an author!
I have taken a very similar approach to a couple of other authors; Roberto Bolano is one.
I’m currently a third of the way through First Person Singular - and enjoying the stories.
I’m currently reading the late Steven Spurrier’s A Life in Wine. I’m mostly enjoying it - he was a brilliant raconteur, and a true maverick, but the socialist part of me finds certain bits - e.g. tales of moving money to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes, and countless Bertie Wooster type meals - a bit grating. Still, no doubt the man had an amazing life in wine, for sure.
The self-published edition or the academie-du-vin one?
The Kindle edition.
There’s around 100 pages difference between the original and the revised edition. I never managed to finish mine.
Massive fan! I’ve got 20-odd on my kindle all read.
Well, I’ve no idea why you never managed to finish yours, but I am joining you in not-finishing-the-book… I had high expectations A Life in Wine, but somewhere mid-way it seemed to have turned into a list of restaurants and illustrious bottles Mr Spurrier had the pleasure to enjoy. I was pleased to read he had such fab bottles and food, but a riveting read it ain’t…