Brilliant Orange

Winner, David. Brilliant Orange: the Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer. New York: Overlook Press,2002.

Reason read: Holland celebrates its tulips in May with a big festival.

I didn’t know anything about dutch football (soccer) before reading this book. I have to admit I was a little worried I would be bored because, to be honest, I didn’t know anything about soccer period. It’s a sport I never played as a kid or watched as an adult.*

*As an aside, I just watched a documentary on Serbia soccer. Call me crazy but I don’t think the Dutch have anything on the Serbs when it comes to fanaticism.

ESPN had it right when they said on the back cover of Brilliant Orange, “you like soccer, you don’t like soccer, it doesn’t matter.” It’s true. Hate, indifference, like or love. No matter which way, this is an enjoyable read. Winner definitely knows his material and isn’t dry in his delivery. He could write about the science of flies on fly paper and I would probably browse it. Be prepared to learn a lot about soccer/football. Be pleasantly surprised by everything else you learn. Among other things, Winner compares soccer to ballet in its artistry. He makes comparisons to politics. He sees similarities with architecture, society, humanity.
Interesting points to mention – a paranormal expert thought the Dutch football team always lost because there was a problem with the team color of orange. Another “expert” blamed it on a deep seeded mistrust of authority so they couldn’t obey the refs.

Quotes to quote, “To play in a beautiful attacking way has become the Eleventh Commandment for the Dutch” (p 145),

Author fact: Winner likes soccer. He also wrote about the history of English soccer.

Book trivia: It would have been really cool to have pictures of the football teams or at least one of the sport’s hero, Johan Cruyff.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust to Go in the cheesy chapter called “Hollandays” (p 96).


May I Read

I never recapped April nor predicted May. For the first time ever, April books are still being read. To be fair, the Lyndon Johnson series started in February so technically these leftovers are not specific either April nor May.

April was an oddball month in that my reading was all on the fly. I trained for another half marathon and that took a lot of my time. Not nearly as much as the full mara, but still…

Here are the Challenge books finished in April:

  • King Lear – Shakespeare (not scheduled)
  • Guernica – Van Hensbergen (not scheduled)
  • Grand Tour – Tim Moore
  • Green Thoughts – Eleanor Perenyi
  • Alice in Sunderland – Bryan Talbot
  • Considerable Town – M F K Fisher
  • Don’t Eat This Book – Morgan Spurlock

Here are the just for fun books:

  • Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – John Gottman
  • Spark Joy – Marie Kondo (not scheduled)

Here’s what on tap for May:

For the Early Review program through LibraryThing:

  • All the Rage by Martin Moran

To celebrate May:

  • Brilliant Orange: the Neurotic Genius of Dutch Soccer by David Winner ~ in honor of the tulip festival in Holland
  • Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt ~ in honor of Just ‘Cause and their 60-mile walk (although this year it’s in June).
  • Jordan: Past & Present: Petra, Jerash & Amman by E. Borgia ~ in honor of Jordan gaining independence in the month of May
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandre Solzhenitsyn ~ in honor of Russia’s Victory Day (may 9th, 1945)
  • Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill ~ to celebrate Laos Rocket Day (already read – this took me less than a day)
  • Chosen, the by Chaim Potok ~ in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month (AB – already read)
  • Map of Another Town by MFK Fisher ~ to finished the Two Towns book started in April
  • Master of the Senate by Robert Caro ~ to finished the series started in February in honor of Presidents’ Day.