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Books (and Movies) for the World Cup

by on July 1, 2014

With the onset of summer, there are things we all look forward to; the sun, beach, barbeques, and—every four years–the World Cup. From June 12 – July 13, 2014, the world will get to enjoy plenty of fútbol (or “soccer” as we persistently call it in the States).  I played for about ten years, and while I was never good at it, it remains my favorite sport. Having a parent from Chile also ensured I grew up with it. The June 18th issue of American Libraries Direct contained an interesting article for a “World Cup reading list.” Edd McCracken’s list includes various titles on the most popular sport on the planet. Some are How Football Explains the World by Franklin Foer, Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, and Futebol: the Brazilian Way of Life by Alex Bellos.[1] Creating this kind of reading list can appeal to library patrons who are looking for some fun summer reading, or just want to learn about something new. Inspired by McCracken’s idea, here are a few more books for the soccer fans you know:

  1. Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer (2014) by George Vecsey
    In engaging travelogue style, summarizes the last eight World Cups from the author’s point of view.
  2. Why Soccer Matters(2014) by Pele
    The greatest soccer player (ever!) shares his vision of what soccer can do for the world.
  3. Soccernomics (2009) by Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski
    Analyses the game and why certain teams lose, and predicts which teams will lead the pack in the future.
  4. For the Love of Soccer! (2010) by Pele
    For 9-12 year olds, this book details Pele’s love for the game and his rise to fame.

And for your summer movie list, try these films:

  1. Bend it Like Beckham (2003)
    This popular movie is great for the whole family, and follows a London girl torn between cultural tradition and her dreams of soccer stardom.
  2. Pelada (2010)
    This inspiring documentary follows two former soccer players and their travels around the world detailing how soccer is played among every nationality and walk of life.

Hopefully these titles and films will help connect your patrons with some entertaining and unique reads. Enjoy! Or should I say, “Goooooooooooooooool!”


Edd McCracken, “The World Cup Reading List – The Best Books About Soccer,” Book Riot, June 11, 2014 .

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