Saturday, February 26, 2011

6. The Imperfectionists

By Tom Rachman (269 pp)

Hannah was reading this when she visited and she liked it so I grabbed a copy when we went to the bookstore. It's another one of those linked stories novels and is set at an international newspaper located in Rome. I mostly liked it. The writing and characterization are fantastic. I thought some of the stories unraveled a bit and a couple of the characters were unforgivably pitiful. Overall, I recommend.

A favorite line: Nobody throws anything away here; nobody knows whose job that is.

There was also a good rant about misuse of the world "literally."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

5. Soccernomics

By Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski (306 pp)

This book came out in 2009 and it uses statistics to talk about soccer. Most of it is super interesting but since the point of the the book is use of statistics, they sometimes talk so much about statistics my face melted. It's easy to skim over those parts. I wish I'd taken better notes as I went along so I could point out some of my favorite bits. They talk about soccer all over the world. They talk about the business side of soccer but also the game like penalty kick data. They talk about the US and soccer v. the NFL. They talk about why so many of the world's top players grew up in extreme poverty. I guess a better way of phrasing it would be to explain why such poor kids were able to grow up into great soccer players. Because they had nothing else to do so by the time they were teenagers they'd already logged in the hours and hours of practice to develop their skills. Recommended for soccer nerds.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

4. Soccer Made Simple: A Spectator's Guide

By Ominsky, Dave and Harari, P.J. (127 pp)

This book was put together for the 1994 World Cup. I didn't realize that until I got it home. It's kind of funny. The guide says that as a condition of awarding the 1994 World Cup to the U.S., FIFA made them promise to start a professional soccer league. Major League Soccer didn't even exist yet. This is just a really basic book about how soccer works. The rules of the game, how the World Cup works and soccer personalities. I'm probably the first person to check it out in eons.