Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Something Must Break

I've been listening to Joy Division's "Still" a lot in the car lately (it's not a cry for help!), featuring the song "Something Must Break" -- a song that, given my long reluctance to accept JD, I still associate more with Jawbox. Which may cost me some points in the long run.

Anyway, I know misheard lyrics are about the lowest form of humor, but until I bothered to look it up, I thought the line "If we were immortal" was "If we were in law school."

Which I found kind of a curious thing to put in a song.

* * *

While in London, I (as I have before) found myself pretty captivated by the soccer coverage. I don't follow the sport, and aside from a few names (Rooney, Beckham ... um, Pele?) I don't really know any of the players, but it just all seems so dramatic and fascinating. Backstabbing, feuding players, attempts to lure guys from rival teams, and so on.

It struck me while I was there that as the world's most popular sport (I think), there's probably all sorts of great soccer literature out there that I haven't read. But looking at the shelves in one shop, it was all "The George Best Story" or "Manchester United: A Team, A Dream" or whatever. I didn't spot a potential "Ball Four" among them. So I ask you, readers who are soccer fans (and I know there's a couple, Sauer) -- are there any great soccer books out there, that will appeal to the casual fan who likes good readin'? Here's what I've read:

"Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby -- pretty fun

"How Soccer Explains the World" by Franklin Foer -- kind of interesting, but he overreaches in trying to make his thesis fit

"Among the Thugs" by Bill Buford -- ok, didn't live up to the hype

"The Miracle of Castel di Sangro" by Joe McGinniss -- one of the crappiest books I've ever read, though kind of unintentionally funny when the author gets offended because the team's coach doesn't take his advice

...and, uh, that's it. I think. I just ordered "Ajax: the Dutch, the War" by Simon Kuper (which has prompted amazon.com to recommend every crappy soccer biography out there), but any other ideas?


Brushback said...

Despite the fact that this is entirely awesome, I've never been able to hack Joy Division for any longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Nanuk of the North said...

The only soccer-oriented book I've ever read is called "Putting the Boot In" by Dan Kavanagh (who is in fact Julian Barnes writing under the name Dan Kavanagh.)

Here's a link:

I fear I may have given that book away in one of my mad de-cluttering moods.

gsdgsd13 said...

That video is pretty great.

Oddly, I've never read Julian Barnes (under his name or anyone else's). I've got one of his books (the name escapes me) somewhere on one of my unread stacks, but haven't got to it yet...

vakfan said...

The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty by Peter Handke. Great reading.

gsdgsd13 said...

Cool, I'll check around and see if that's available in the U.S.

sauersan said...

i liked Fever Pitch, but it wasn't the mind-blower i was expecting it to be (i was hoping for High Fidelity-like awesomeness but about footy; it's still a good read, though).

funny that you didn't like Miracle of Castel di Sangro; i liked it quite a bit, but more for the behind-the-scenes aspect of the team and Italian culture, specifically in the South where the chip on their shoulder is huge.

let me know if a great book about soccer ever comes to print; if it's not anytime soon, then maybe you and i need to co-write one. which means we'll have to do a lot of research, which involves drinking a lot of great beers whilst in Europe to see a lot of great matches.