The Global Game: Writers on Soccer, Ed. by John Turnbull, Thom Satterlee, & Alon Raab. (Bison Books) $19.95
A multi-genre anthology of writers writing about soccer—interestingly published in the only nation to call it by that name. Categorized by theme, from Space to Improvisation to Loss, the collection includes essays on Soccer Moms (David Starkey), a poem from 1100s China about soccer predecessor cuju (Ch’ao Yueh-chih, tr. Red Pine), prose on boycotting the World Cup (Hebe de Bonafini & Matilde Sánchez), social learning in Sierra Leone (Paul Richards), and why one writer’s wife in in love with Peter Crouch (Thom Satterlee). Well-edited, it includes work by literary giants like Charles Simic, Ted Hughes, Javier Marías, and Gũnter Grass alongside lesser-known but equally rewarding writers and poets, all brought together by the sport they love. Sorry, Oxford, football—not rowing—might be the most literary sport.
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories, Vol. 2, Ed. by Ivan Brunetti. (Yale UP) $28
Ivan Brunetti’s ecclectic selection of contemporary comics completes Yale’s comics must-have anthology. Beautifully produced, with dust-jacket design by Daniel Clowes, the anthology includes heavy hitters like Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, and R. Crumb, as well as rarer selections, like Mack White’s “The Nudist Nuns of Goat Island,” young favorites like Kevin Huizenga and Anders Nilsen, and a healthy selection of woman-illustrated comics, like Jessica Abel’s work from Artbabe. Brunetti’s selections include both brief excerpts from longer work and complete, short works, assembled in perfect dialogue with one another. Unlike most sequels, this one lives up to the brilliance of its precedent; it succeeds as the best of anthologies do, a meditation on the comics medium by one of its most interesting practitioners.