Tired of reading the same recommended books from the usual sources? Just think of our bi-weekly What We’re Reading column as your non-committal book club with The FADER and some of your favorite bands and artists. For this installment, we asked atmospheric producer Boothroyd. The Mancunian's debut 12-inch, Idle Hours, is out September 30th on Tri Angle.
A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke by Ronald Reng
Until he passed away, I'll admit I hadn't really heard of the German international goalkeeper Robert Enke. When I heard there was a book being released about his life, I still wasn't that interested, simply because I never really knew the guy, as a player or a man. I am so glad I ignored any previous misgivings or hesitation I had. This is a must-read book, and not just for other depressed goalkeepers who write bad poetry. Don't worry if you didn't know who Enke was, where he came from or who he played for. It's all covered, and in detail too.
Author Robert Reng was a friend and had in-depth access to Enke and his wife Teresa as well as Robert's personal diaries, so you know the author has his facts right and it shows in the style the book's written in. At times, A Life Too Short reads like a work of fiction, flowing seamlessly from chapter to chapter and is never boring or repetitive. Despite dealing with the difficult subject of depression, not once does Reng's writing become morbid or depressing itself. In fact, the book really helped me to understand just how serious the illness is and how horrible it must be for sufferers. Enke certainly had an interesting life and a very interesting career. The chapter that deals with Enke's match during his time at Barcelona, when the Catalan side faced off against the small Spanish minnows Novelda is simply incredible. It is a harrowing piece of writing; you can literally feel Robert coming apart as the match turned in Novelda's favor.
It's not all negative. As Robert experiences the highs that come with being a professional footballer, you feel like you're right there with him the entire time. Enke's years in Lisbon with Benfica come to mind, when he embraced the Portuguese culture around him until he felt right at home. There are just as many highs as there are lows in A Life Too Short. This is a special book and I would recommend it to all readers of sport—football especially. It is easily one of the best biographies I've ever had the pleasure of reading and could quite possibly be the best football title I've read, too.
Fred Dibnah's Industrial Age: A Guide to Britain's Industrial Heritage
If you, like me, want an overview of where to see the remains of Britain's enormous industrial music past, this is a fantastic book. It helps if you've seen Fred Dibnah on television before, because he writes the way he speaks and that can take a bit of getting used to. In places this book is more a collection of disconnected personal memories than facts, but we can be charitable and agree that that just adds to the charm. In some places, however, it would have been nice to have a bit more explanation behind the technical terms used.
At the end of the book there's the Gazetteer, an overview of Britain with maps and places to see. Places mentioned in the book that are also in the Gazetteer are printed in bold. Sadly, though, there's no indication of where so you end up hunting through the Gazetteer to find the correct page. The index isn't much help here; it's fairly incomplete and almost randomly organized. Yet, despite all this, it's a fascinating book. I hope there will be a second edition that expands on the first, and corrects these minor niggles. That'll be worth five stars.