Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer
by George Vecsey
Henry Holt, 2014. 290 pages. Nonfiction
Never too late, nor to early, to prepare for this year's World Cup which begins in a few week's time by reading a fine and funny book about "the beautiful game." Vecsey grew up in Queens and his high school didn't have a football team so he played soccer, but not very well. But he taught himself the the game by watching, and then writing about it - eight World Cups worth, as well as multiple matches on and off the telly. Vecsey's narrative describes great plays, like Landon Donovan to Jozy Altidore to Clint Dempsey to Landon Donovan through the goal's mouth in South Africa's 2010 Cup. Or Brandi Chastain's left-footed penalty kick that brought the Women's World Cup victory to the United States. If you already like soccer, what a terrific little book this is to confirm your affection. If you don't know soccer, this is a great place to start in preparation for seeing what there will be to see next month in Brazil.