The World Cup ended three days ago, and my hangover was much less severe than I was expecting (although I miss the excuse to go out for near-daily coffees). But, there's something about packing that much emotion and focus into four weeks of sport that doesn't allow you to just walk away. So when I stumbled upon Words Without Border' Around the World in 32 (or so) Books I realized how badly I needed a little bridge like that to bring me from World Cup reality back to everyday.
Then, I started wondering how well my reading reflects the international scope of the world's game, and the result, I'm afraid to say, is woefully. So far this year, I have read books by authors from Canada, the U.S., England, Australia and Poland. I'm not sure it really gives me any extra points that one of these books was actually about soccer. Looking over last year's list I can add Japan and Iran to the tally. On Books Under Skin, I have recommended books by authors from Canada, the U.S., Australia, England, France, Belgium and Iran.
I must say, until I did a survey I had no idea how narrowly I was reading. I mean, I read widely in terms of genre, topic, style, length, etc., but when it comes to the nationalities of the authors I'm reading, there isn't much depth. Obviously, you could only ever read books from Canada, the U.S. and England and never run out of material, but that isn't the point. Other countries and cultures have a lot to offer in terms of style, perspective and wordplay. Some books I can read in their original language (well, French books anyway), but the art of translation is interesting in and of itself, and reading a book translated from another language adds an extra layer to the story.
So, in World Cup spirit, I am going to try and spend the next four years reading more widely, in the hopes of making my own bracket of books when the time comes. But, four years is a while away yet, so in the meantime I'll work on reading for the Euros, which will be in Poland and the Ukraine in two years.
Soccer and reading may not have any obvious correlation other than, of course, the importance of goals.
Image used a photo of the FIFA World Cup