In case you’ve head your head buried in a large pile of sand, you will be aware that one of the world’s largest sporting events, the World Cup, starts today in Brazil.
A few of the guys in the Authoramp office are ridiculously excited about this festival of football (or soccer, for our friends in the USA).
The world cup transcends football. People that don’t usually watch football are drawn in and enthralled by the excitement and the spectacle. This year is especially important as it is hosted in it’s spiritual home, Brazil.
This got us doing some research on any good books that have come out this year related to the World Cup and Brazil… and here are our pick of world cup books…
1.Futebol Nation: The Brazilian Way of Life (Bloomsbury).
An updated version of Alex Bellos’s classic.
“No nation has so closely aligned its national identity with playing and watching football as Brazil.
Football is regarded as a thing of joy, its yellow shirts a delightful amalgam of sport and art, entwined with its cultures of music and religion. This is true, but there is another side to the story too. Brazil may now be the sixth largest economy in the world but the corruption of its football authorities is characteristic of its society as a whole.'”
More information is available on Penguin’s site here.
2. ¡GOLAZO! (Quercus)
Uruguayan writer Andreas Campomar examines how football has shaped not only the sporting, but also the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Latin America.
“¡Golazo! recounts the story of Latin American football: the extravagantly talented players; pistol-toting referees; bloody coup d’états; breath-taking goals; invidious conspiracies; strikers with matinee idol looks and a taste for tango dancers; alcoholism; suicide and some of the most exhilarating teams ever to take the field. But it is also gripping social history. Andreas Campomar shows how the sport that started as the eccentric pastime of a few ex-pat cricket players has become a defining force, the architect of national identity and a reflection of the region’s soul. How can you hope to understand this tumultuous and disparate collection of young republics without first understanding the game that has become such a dominant presence in every corner of South American society?”
More info from Quercus here.
3. Futebol: The Brazilian Way Of Life (Bloomsbury)
An insightful, entertaining and informative account of Brazil through the lens of football.
“The Brazilian football team is one of the modern wonders of the world. At its best it exudes a skill, flamboyance and romantic pull like nothing else on earth. Football is how the world sees Brazil and how Brazilians see themselves.”
More info from Bloomsbury here
4. Thirty-One Nil – On the Road With Football’s Outsiders: A World Cup Odyssey (Bloomsbury)
James Montague’s journey to some of the most remote and obscure footballing nations in the world, finding out what the world cup means to them.
“Thirty-One Nil is the story of how footballers from all corners of the globe begin their journey chasing a place at the World Cup Finals. It celebrates the part-time priests, princes and hopeless chancers who dream of making it to Brazil, in defiance of the staggering odds stacked against them. It tells the story of teams who have struggled for their very existence through political and social turmoil, from which they will very occasionally emerge into international stardom.”
More info from Bloomsbury is here.
Finally, this one is especially for our team, England, who have been eliminated from 6 of their last 9 major tournaments after a penalty shootout… not again, surely?
5. Twelve Yards (Bantam Press)
Ben Lyttleton tells the definitive story of spot-kicks: the psychology, mental attitude and art-form required to take them.
“It shouldn’t be that hard, should it? It’s just a matter of placing a ball into a goal measuring eight feet high and eight yards wide, with only a six-foot man able to stop you. Yet the humble penalty kick has produced an inordinate amount of drama, trauma, boundless joy and shattered dreams since its invention in the late 19th century. And it is not just England who have suffered at its hands.”
More info from Bantam is here.
So if you’re looking for a world cup read, or something related to football, Brazil or the world cup, take your pick of the above… Enjoy!