Why did Borges hate soccer?

June 20, 2014

Some of Borges’ critiques are valid and relevant today. The nationalism generated by football does result in the fanaticism, hatred, racism, and xenophobia displayed by fans all over the world. Also, how the game is used by politicians and dictators for their own self-interest and to support their political objectives.

These are all undeniable realities that are still an ugly part of football.

But even a genius like Borges can be wrong.

The flow and artistry of the game is beautiful and timeless. It is not mind boggling that Borges was not able to understand and recognize the aesthetic wonder that is football.

His own prejudices brought out the blinders.

Soccer is popular,” Jorge Luis Borges observed, “because stupidity is popular.”

At first glance, the Argentine writer’s animus toward “the beautiful game” seems to reflect the attitude of today’s typical soccer hater, whose lazy gibes have almost become a refrain by now: Soccer is boring. There are too many tie scores. I can’t stand the fake injuries.

And it’s true: Borges did call soccer “aesthetically ugly.”

He did say, “Soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.”

Click here for the entire article


7 Soccer Books To Read During The World Cup

June 11, 2014

The start of the World Cup in Brazil is just 24 hours away. The next best thing to watching the games is reading about this great sport.

There are several books on this list that I recommend.

Football Against the Enemy – The first book to analyze the social and political aspects that are connected to football around the world. It paved the way for other books that have been written on the same subject.

Soccer in Sun and Shadow – Full of anecdotes about the players, games, goals, and moments of glory and infamy that are all a part of football’s history.

Fever Pitch – What it means to be a football fan. Brilliantly told in this book.

With the 2014 World Cup commencing this week, there’s never been a better time to delve into the complexities of the world’s game. For more insight into what is (and is not) football, and why so many people care so very much, here are some titles to guide you through the coming month of games:

Click here to read the entire article


On Writing a Life of Coltrane

June 6, 2014

A few years ago I found a used, first-edition hardcover of Dr. Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins’s 1975 book, Coltrane: A Biography, online for $150. I had long admired its feverish, street-pulpy story about the saxophonist John Coltrane, whose powerful music increasingly seemed capable of altering one’s consciousness before he died in 1967, at age forty. Posthumously, the mythology and exaltation of Coltrane, as well as his musical influence, only grew. But by that point, Simpkins had already researched and written Coltrane’s story, expressing an uncompromising, unapologetic black voice rarely found in the annals of jazz before or since.

Click here to read entire article


Eduardo Galeano Disavows His Book ‘The Open Veins’

May 29, 2014

It is really disappointing, terribly disappointing, to read Galeano’s comments regarding the masterful book that he wrote which presents the tragic history of Latin America and the forces responsible for its devastation in a clear and concise narrative.

“The Open Veins of Latin America” is a superb book. It is a book that not only has stood the test of time but continues to be relevant and speaks to the social, economic, and political conditions in Latin America today.

The influence of “Open Veins” on the masses in Latin America and other parts of the world is incalculable.

Is it possible that a writer, as brilliant as Galeano, can forget the power of his own work?

For more than 40 years, Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America” has been the canonical anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist and anti-American text in that region. Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s populist president, even put a copy of the book, which he had called “a monument in our Latin American history,” in President Obama’s hands the first time they met. But now Mr. Galeano, a 73-year-old Uruguayan writer, has disavowed the book, saying that he was not qualified to tackle the subject and that it was badly written. Predictably, his remarks have set off a vigorous regional debate, with the right doing some “we told you so” gloating, and the left clinging to a dogged defensiveness.

“ ‘Open Veins’ tried to be a book of political economy, but I didn’t yet have the necessary training or preparation,” Mr. Galeano said last month while answering questions at a book fair in Brazil, where he was being honored on the 43rd anniversary of the book’s publication. He added: “I wouldn’t be capable of reading this book again; I’d keel over. For me, this prose of the traditional left is extremely leaden, and my physique can’t tolerate it.”

Click here for the entire article


“Invisible Man” banned in North Carolina

September 21, 2013

The idea that a book should be banned is offensive on so many levels and a vulgar attack on humanity.

It continues to happen in the US and every time it does I’m so disgusted and angry that book banning is still considered acceptable and that it is carried out.

In this latest incident it involves none other than Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, one of the greatest novels in American Literature, that deals so powerfully with the issue of race and black identity in American society.

The people responsible for banning Invisible Man have never read the book and will never read the book.

They don’t have the capacity to do so.

And it is not a stretch to point out that the race of the author and race as a central theme in the book are factors in the decision to ban the book.

I certainly hope that this vile act of censorship is overturned.

“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, published in 1952, was banned in Randolph County, N.C., after a mother’s 12-page complaint.

By Carolyn Kellogg

Ralph Ellison’s novel “Invisible Man” has been banned from school libraries in Randolph County, N.C. The book is considered by many to be an masterful novel dealing with race in America.

“I didn’t find any literary value,” said school board member Gary Mason before the board voted 5-2 to ban the book.

Click here to read entire article


John le Carré Interview

September 15, 2013

Conversations with John le Carré

By Philippe Sands

The master novelist discusses spooks, the ‘secret world’, Edward Snowden and Syria with his neighbour Philippe Sands

I am sitting in a sunny and perfectly ordered garden in north London, engaged in tea and conversation with my neighbour David Cornwell, the writer John le Carré. We cover our usual topics (Hampstead, Britain, his books and films, my legal cases), reflecting on the state of the world and his appearance at the Hay Festival earlier this summer, where I had interviewed him. “I do think we live in most extraordinary period of history,” he says now. “The fact that we feel becalmed is the element that is most terrifying, the second-rate quality of leadership, the third-rate quality of parliamentary behaviour.”

Click here for entire article


New JD Salinger biography

August 21, 2013

New biography of JD Salinger to be published this September

Shrouded in secrecy, The Private War of JD Salinger promises new details about the reclusive author’s wartime life

An attempt to piece together the life of the notoriously reclusive Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger, researched over the course of eight years in strict secrecy and including more than 200 interviews, is to be published as a biography on 3 September. A documentary film about the author will be released in the US the same week.

Arriving three years after Salinger’s death at the age of 91, The Private War of JD Salinger promises new insights based on accounts from his “World War II brothers-in-arms, family members, close friends, lovers, classmates, neighbours, editors, publishers, New Yorker colleagues and people with whom he had relationships that were secret even to his own family”, according to a description on Amazon. The author’s literary estate has remained resolutely silent.

Click here to read entire article