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World Cup of Books



Has the World Cup been distracting you from your reading?  Do you hate or love it? Regardless, let’s use it as an inspiration to read more internationally!  


Cressi has come up with a fiction and non-fiction book for each of the 16 teams that made it through to the knock-out stage.  Sometimes the books are set in the country, sometimes they’re by a local author, sometimes the link is a little more tenuous – but this has been a labour of love!  She's not read all of them but a few of her favourites have crept in.


There's a wide range of genres and interests so we doubt anyone will love all 32 books – let Cressi know what you think and what you would have put on the list instead.


Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky written in 1942, this has a freshness about France in the Second World War, a lightness of touch.    

A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – do we think the struggling writers in Paris in the 1960s were better off then struggling writers are now?


Labyrinths – Jorges Luis Borges – This collection of stories and essays by one of Argentina’s best known writers includes The Library of Babel

The Honorary Consul – Graham Greene is the classic story of an incompetent diplomat in a country he is failing to understand


Football in Sun and Shadow - Eduardo Galeano – ‘an unashamedly emotional history of football’ by a best-selling Uruguayan author.

The invisible mountain by Carolina de Robertis – sweeping story of a mother and her daughter, starting at the turn of the century in Uruguay.


A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson  - Murder mystery set in the Second World War and the 1990s.

Conquerors by Robert Crowley  - A comprehensive history of Portuguese exploration


Futebol Nation – David Goldblatt –  Why are Brazil so enamoured of football?  Read the history of their love for the beautiful game.

Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa – Award-winning Brazilian novelist’s book about a young girl who leaves Brazil and finds a new home in America.


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel  - a magic realist love story with added recipes -a bestseller from the 1990s.

Bandit Roads – Richard Grant – travel writing by a reckless author dicing with the most dangerous regions in Mexico.


Sleeping Arrangements – Madeline Wickham – a summer holiday read about a double-booked Spanish holiday villa – fun and malicious.

The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston – an in-depth meticulously researched account of the Spanish Civil War.


A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – one of my favourite books recently, the gentleman is placed under house arrest in a Moscow hotel after the Revolution.  A beautiful read.

Caught in the Revolution – Helen Rappaport – Foreigners’ accounts of the events of the Revolution.


The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht – this debut novel examines the roles of doctors during the Balkan Wars.

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon – Rebecca West – history or travel writing or journalism or all three,  Yugoslavia during 1937.


Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg – the original Scandi-Noir is also a keen-eyed look at Danish history.

The Year of living Danishly – Helen Russell  - what’s it like living in the happiest nation in the world?


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson – the first in the famous trilogy featuring the unconventional and uncompromising Lisbeth.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson – the latest trend in decluttering with additional planning for helping your relatives after your death.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is partly set in Switzerland but if this feels too tenuous a link – try the Chalet School series instead!

Swiss Watching by Diccon Bewes – I was shocked to discover the trains don’t actually always run on time…


The Lido by Libby Page – what could be more English than a threatened lido?  Set in Brixton the story makes you want to swim outdoors.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston is the staggering true story of Jeremy Thorpe’s private life and his possible involvement in a murder attempt.


The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah  this has made it in as new incarnation of Poirot, Belgium’s most famous son.

King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild – away from the chocolate and the cuddly detectives is a horrific colonial history.


One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez -  the landmark original magic realist novel deeply rooted in the cultural history of Latin America.

Oblivion – Hector Abad Faciolince – a memoir of the author’s father, killed by the right-wing militia, but also a love letter between a son and his father.


The Guest cat by Takashi Hiraide – the cat that adopts and changes a freelance writer in a beautiful little novel

Geisha of Gion: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki – the autobiography of the subject of Memoir of a Geisha speaks for herself.

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