Book Beat

by Adam Reger

I’ve lapsed in writing about anything I’ve been reading recently. My bad!

I just picked up (from the fantastic and ever financially imperiled Carnegie Library system) a copy of David Winner’s Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer. I’m quite excited to start reading it, the more so because my interest in the topic—the Netherlands’ idiosyncratic “Total Football” soccer style—has survived the artificially inflated excitement of the World Cup. Yes, this still sounds like an awesome book. The jacket copy indicates that “[t]he cast stretches from anarchists and church painters to rabbis and skinheads to Holland’s beloved soccer players.” Wowza.

Meanwhile, I’m neck-deep in James Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential. Man, it is rad. Read it, if you haven’t. I was hesitant to pick it up, and then to get into it, because I thought, “I’ve seen the movie.” But, two things: 1) I do not even remember the movie, so whatever significant twists there may have been have no bearing on my reading; and 2) As has been mentioned by everyone, forever, the book is far superior to the movie as a general principle. It’s certainly true here. There’s a ton of stuff that never showed up in the movie, tawdry, disturbing stuff. Something I like about Ellroy’s work is that it supports this (not very sophisticated or surprising) theory of mine that the fifties are unfairly smeared for being dull. A Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, The Adventures of Augie March all came out in the fifties. It wasn’t all sock-hops and poodle skirts. Ellroy, a bad-ass even when one factors in his gifts for self-promotion, confirms this.