Friday, 14 October 2011

What I'm Reading - 14/10/11

With the always dull international break just about over and regular football back this weekend, I've had nothing at all to blog about these past couple of weeks. In the meantime I've being doing a spot of reading and have recently started the excellent A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke. We got a few copies in at work about two weeks ago and flicking through the pages and reading the odd extract, I immediately felt like picking this up. A Life Too Short has been long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and should easily make the shortlist. Since I'll no doubt be creating a display at work to highlight the books in contention for this year's award I felt it only suitable that I actually read at least one of the books involved.

Now I'm only about five chapters in, around the time when Robert joined Benfica, but I can confidently say this is one of the best sporting biographies I have ever read. Author Robert Reng has done an incredible job retelling Robert's life story; his style of writing makes for a compelling read and it feels like reading a work of fiction at times because the book reads so well. During my browse to see if I wanted to buy the book, I read a few pages of the chapter where Reng recounts Enke's infamous time at Barcelona and it was so captivating, like you were watching the game itself, that I knew then I wanted to it. The majority of football fans that pay attention to the news know who Robert Enke is; the German goalkeeper who sadly took his own life roughly two years ago. When I heard a book was being released about his often complicated life I wasn't really that interested. Apart from knowing who he was, I had never watched Enke play and knew next to nothing about his career. Hell, my knowledge of German football is limited to say the least. However this book still appealed to me enormously; how can a man who had so much, the fame, the money, the adoration of the fans, take his own life? What level of torment and mental torture can force a man to see no other resolution apart from suicide? 

I have barely scratched the surface of this book but its already shaping up to be a fascinating read. I recommend this to all football fans, whether you knew who Enke was or not. It will certainly make you think twice about the criticism modern footballers receive every game and whether the media and fans should be so merciless in their opinions of a player's performance. Guardian writer Amy Lawrence wrote a superb piece about the impact Enke's death and Reng's book could possibly have on football today.

I can't wait to get back to reading it. Everyone connected with football should read this book, it's that good.

Thanks for reading.

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