Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've been reading some good stuff lately. Here's what:

1. Brooklyn, Colm Toibin: This was on Newsweek's "What to Read Now" list, or somesuch hogwash. I fell for it. And am glad I did. Toibin's prose is sparse and exquisite. His tale of a young woman -- caught between the quiet rituals of her Irish hometown and the bustling rhythms of post-WWII Brooklyn -- never hits a false note. Shit like this makes me think I should just give up trying to write.

2. The Beckham Experiment, Grant Wahl: I pretty much said what I wanted to say about this over at du Nord. But here's the essential point: this is the best book ever written about soccer in the U.S. It's meticulously reported, provocative and often hilarious.

3. Indignation, Philip Roth: I've read more books by Roth than any other author except George Pelecanos. And I've only churned through about a third of his oeuvre. The old man is an absolute beast. My favorite Roth works ("The Human Stain," "Sabbath's Theater") are scabrously funny and a bit distasteful. Indignation is a bruising polemic about midwest piety, religious hypocrisy and academic intolerance narrated by a misplaced Newark jew (what else?) who also happens to be dead.

4. The Damned Utd, David Peace: Speaking of scabrously funny, Peace's novel certainly fits the bill. His fictional psychological profile of Brian Clough during his disastrous 44-day spell as the coach of Leeds United is a rip-snorting read. Peace takes you deep into the psychological bowels of Clough's crippling insecurity and paranoia. It's also a terrific portrait of top-drawer football in mid-70s England: the crappy grounds, the smoke-filled buses, the terrace fights, the table volatility. It makes you pine a bit for the days when more than four teams had a realistic shot at winning the league each year.


Blogger pecochran said...

"Dude, you were in the garden?"

I found that part hilarious.

2:38 PM  

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