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2022 Books Completed, Part 1

Arguably a light haul for January, but still off to a better start than last year at this time.

Thoughts below the fold…

The Numbers Game provides convincing evidence that the combination of football’s rare event nature and continous play makes it well nigh impossible to bend to analytics. But really when The Numbers Game was written, it was just the end of the beginning. Many of the characters appearing in Football Hackers make early appearances here as a community of advanced analytics folks start tackling everything from match play to training to transfers. A bit more enjoyable than The Expected Goals Philosophy.

La Roja was my second dip into Spanish football history, after Fear and Loathing in La Liga. This followed the stock playbook of “here’s when the British landed, brought the game, and we move chronologically forward until some momentous national football event.” In this case the story crescendoes at the 2010 World Cup where Spain lifts the trophy. Hat tip to a posession oriented team filled with players from Guardiola’s Barcelona. La Roja did do justice to a wider swath of the Spanish clubs than Fear and Loathing…

Exhalation, as the number of Hugo Award mentions on the Wikipedia page illustrates, is a collection of great speculative fiction short stories. Hard to pick one as best, but the construction and execution of the titular short story is amazing. Chiang is so worth reading because his science fiction is leisurely unhurried, generally void of violence, thought provoking, and reflective of our current selves. Plus it has sentences I wish I had written.

Apropos Elle Driver: “You know, I’ve always liked that word … titular …, so rarely have an opportunity to use it in a sentence”

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