Hello everyone and cheer up! It’s international football season, aka the best season!
With the Euro starting tonight and the Copa America on Monday, I’m shifting into intense football fan mode. My books are already side-eyeing me because they know that June won’t be their lucky month either. The plan for the next month is to eat, work, watch the games and sleep (the last one is optional of course- I do have to stay or wake up ungodly hours for the Copa America). I haven’t decided who to cheer for yet, but I’m always cheering against England :).
I’ve been looking for a tag to do in order to celebrate but I could only find one about American football. So, I decided to create my own. I present to you the Football Book Tag!
1. The beautiful game: A book with beautiful design
Football is called the beautiful game and rightfully so if you ask me. It is so much more than a sport and it has inspired beautiful fan cultures around the world. So, for this question, we have to choose a book that is beautifully designed.
I chose to go with this edition of Pride and Pejudice by Jane Austen which comes with nineteen letters from the characters’ correspondence, written and folded by hand. It shows that it is made with lots of care and love and it’s truly gorgeous!
2. Chants, Songs and Anthems: Favourite poem or poetry collection
From the official competition songs to club anthems and chants, the football world is -surprisingly- full of poetry. So, for this question, we have to name a poem or poetry collection we love.
For me, that’s The Monogram by Odysseas Elytis. It is a beautiful love poem and it is my favourite not only by this particular poet but my favourite poem in general. I highly suggest you read it (I believe there’s an english translation available online), it’s very touching.
3. Red Card: A trope you loathe
The red card in football is shown as the ultimate penalty when a player does something against the rules of the game. Said player is then sent away from the field. Which trope would you show a direct red card?
I’d definitely show it to love triangles. I’ve had enough of them, I don’t want to read about or watch a single love triangle ever again. Society has grown past the need for love triangles.
4. National Teams: A book from your country
I have talked about many Greek books on here, so today I’ll mention one I haven’t talked about yet. The Jasmine Isle by Ioanna Karystiani is a modern Greek novel set in the island of Andros that tells the tragic story of Spyros, a sailor, and Orsa. Orsa is forced by her mother and society to marry a man she doesn’t love and watch the man she loves marry her sister. The book, which has been adapted in a beautiful movie Little England, gives an insight to the lives of the wives of sailors and the domestic life on Greek islands in the 30s and 40s.
(the movie is available on youtube for free with english subs)
5. Transfer Season: An author you’d like to see write in a different genre
Transfer season is a stressful period for football fans, since we all have an opinion on which player should transfer to our club. What if we could transfer authors from one genre to another? What transfer would you make?
Personally, I’d like to see Madeline Miller write a fantasy book (Yes, mythology books are a different genre from fantasy because I said so). I love her prose, but I’m not always a fan of the way she portrays Greek mythological figures. So, I’d be interested to read and enjoy her writing in a more “free” fantasy setting.
6. World Cup: Recommend a translated novel
I’ve talked about Dostoyevsky quite a lot, so I’ll turn to a different country for this question and not talk about Crime and Punishment again. Currently I’m all about Italy (thanks, Måneskin!), so I will recommend The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Set in 1937 the book follows Brother William of Baskerville as he arrives at a Benedict abbey to investigate the monchs accused of heresy and ends up investigating seven bizzare deaths instead.
7. Euro 2004: A book that took you by surprise
Obviously, I couldn’t talk about football without mentioning Euro 2004 aka the European championship my national team won against all odds. Greece took the world by surprise that year. What’s a book that had the same effect on you?
For me, that book would be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I had no idea what to expect when I first picked it up and I remember being continuously blown away by it. I hadn’t read anything like it before and it really stuck with me.
8. The Hand of God: A book that employs the deus ex machina trope
In football “the hand of God” refers to this goal scored by Diego Maradona during the Argentina v England quarter finals match of the 1986 World Cup. Maradona scored using his hand and his goal should’ve been disallowed but the referees didn’t have clear view of it. So, it counted and led Argentina to a win. It is one of the most iconic goals ever, so I couldn’t not include a question about it.
For this one, I chose to go with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, because the use of this trope in it is quite interesting. I won’t go into spoilery details, but this is the only book I’ve read where the deus ex machina trope is invoked purposefully (re sponsors) and is actually meaningful for the plot and not a cheap trick on the author’s side.
9. El Clásico, Der Klassiker, Superclásico: Favourite classic novel
In many countries, the biggest football derby is called “The Classic” (In Greece we call it “the mother of all battles” and “the derby of the eternals” because we’re dramatic like that). To honour these fascinating rivalries, I thought I’d choose a book from classic literature.
In literally no one’s surprise, I picked Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is my favourite classic novel and the only one I’ve read (and watched its adaptations) so many times. Truly a classic.
10. Flags, Banners, Chants and Flares: Favourite piece of fan-created book content
Football would be nothing without the fans and the atmosphere they create at every game. Inspired by the loyalty, creativity and dedication shown by football fans, I thought it’d be a great idea to share a piece of art- any kind- created by fans inspired by books.
One of my favourite pieces of fanart I’ve seen recently is this drawing of Wonder Woman inspired by Greek culture. I love all the details the artist has put in it and it’s nice to see your culture actually depicted through a character inspired by it. I just love it!
I mainly created this tag for myself, but I will tag Line @First Line Reader and Naemi @A Book Owl’s Corner, who I know are interested in the sport, each to a different degree (you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, of course). But, anyone who finds this interesting is welcome to do it!
Do you plan on watching any of the upcoming football competitions?
I’d love to hear your opinions on this tag! What would be your answers?