Wednesday, March 30, 2011

10. The Native Star

by M.K. Hobson (387 pp.)

I'm on track to read 40 books this year. That's not terrible but I still wish I finished more. I'm trying.

I love the set-up for this book. It's magic and witches/warlocks in 1876 California. There are horses and trains and lumbermen. The protagonist is an everyday witch from a small settlement. Magic goes wrong and pretty soon there are all sorts of unsavory characters trying to find her. Very fun book.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

9. Unlucky

by Dave Ungrady (207 pp.)

This book is about a soccer team's first year in D3 of the USISL. I'm copying that off the back of the book because I'm not even sure what that means. My big takeaway was: Wow, some guys really want to play soccer. For some of the guys, they hope this will be a jump-off point to bigger things. Some guys seem to be happy just to play for the team. Some guys have issues of one kind or another and just end up here. There was no pay, poor organization and a lot of uncertainty. And they lost a lot. This was in 1998. Looks like the club has done great. That would have been tough to predict from their first season. It's tough to resist the urge to put all those names into a search engine and see where they ended up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

8. I Capture the Castle

by Dodie Smith (343 pp.)

I wish I'd read this book when I was 17. Then, I bet I would have found it flawless. Sadly, I bring my aged wisdom and experience so I found our charming narrator a bit of a doofus. A doofus in the way that we all are when we're 17.

This book was originally published in 1948. It's about a 17 year old girl named Cassandra who has a wacky and extremely dysfunctional family and lives in poverty in England until some rich guys move into the manor next door. Then it becomes about boys and bagging a husband for the pretty older sister.

The narrator is wonderful. The characterization fantastic. Great setting. It's definitely worth reading.

Friday, March 4, 2011

7. How Soccer Explains The World

By Franklin Foer (252 pp).

First of all, this book has the widest margins I've ever seen in a trade paperback. Every time I opened it I remembered writing book reports in grade school where they had to be at least 4 pages long. My writing (we used handwriting in those days) and the margins would get bigger and bigger as the report went on so I could make sure I filled the space.

Second, I don't know if I'd be as annoyed if the book had a different title. I don't think this book shows how soccer explains the world. Well, now that I look at the cover there is a subtitle that calls this an {unlikely} theory of globalization. Joke's on me!

The book isn't terrible. I enjoyed most of it. I thought the author tried too hard to convince the reader that he's badass hanging out with gangsters, hooligans and thugs. But there are interesting inside bits about how Brazilian and Italian soccer works within those countries, violence associated with the sport and fan culture. Worth a look for soccer fans.