“Who Invented the Bicycle Kick: Soccer’s Greatest Legends and Lore” by Paul Simpson and Uli Hesse (William Morrow, 2014)

Who Invented the Bicycle Kick

There are some books you need to have on your shelf, or coffee table, or at least near at hand for when you need those split-second answers to questions that can quickly lead to shouting matches and the end of friendships. Who Invented the Bicycle Kick is one of those books; in fact once you’re done with this review you should just go get yourself a copy.

Whether you’re an occasional soccer watcher, or a full-on football fanatic, you often wonder when goalkeepers started wearing gloves, who has the weirdest superstitions before a game, why matches last 90 minutes, or who invented the bicycle kick? Paul Simpson, the launch editor for Four Four Two and Uli Hesse, a prevalent writer for ESPN FC, provide the answers and their research. In some cases – such as the eponymous question to the book – there isn’t a definitive answer, so the authors present the most likely candidates and theories.

Whether you intend on reading the book cover to cover, or using the excellent table of contents or thorough index, your questions and wonderings on the subject of soccer will be quickly answered.

Originally written on August 5, 2014 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Who Invented the Bicycle Kick from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Sherlock Holmes Lost Story Unearthed, Angelou Forever, Romance For Beginners & More!


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“The Empty Throne” by Bernard Cornwell (HarperCollins, 2015)

The Empty Throne

In the eighth installment of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales, with King Alfred now gone and buried, readers might think the series would be winding down, but it is quite the opposite. Æthelred, the current ruler of Mercia, lies on his deathbed with no legitimate heir, and an empty throne sits awaiting a new ruler.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg was thought mortally wounded at the end of The Pagan Lord, and now he is still alive, but not necessarily well. His grievous wound is very slowly healing, meanwhile he has to work with his son and men to make sure the church and those in power don’t elect who they want to rule. Uhtred has a powerful leader, Æthelflaed, in mind not just because she is a lover, but also because she is well liked by Mercia and is sister to King Edward of Wessex.

In addition to elect new rulers, Uhtred is also on the hunt for his sword that was taken from him and is purported to be in the hands of Bishop Asser who is somewhere deep in the heart of Wales. And then at some point he’s going to end up in a big battle with some Vikings.

In true Cornwell fashion, The Empty Throne has it all for a gripping historical fiction novel and fans will rejoice while new readers will have no problem getting hooked as the author keeps them clued in to everything going on.

Originally written on January 28, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Empty Throne from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

You might also like . . .

The Pagan Lord  1356  Excalibur  Death of Kings  The Winter King  The Fort

Book News: Far Too Serious Writers, Dr. Seuss Returns, A History of Young Adult Lit & More!


Hope For Borderlands 
The popular independent bookstore has a plan that just might keep their doors open.

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When you’re not feeling particularly proud of your readings habits and how to change that.

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“The Sculptor” by Scott McCloud (First Second, 2015)

Scott McCloud’s new graphic novel door-stopper has a little bit of something for everyone, especially if you’re the creative type. It’s about a relationship . . . and about art and creating . . . and what it means to be successful and remembered . . . and what it means when you die and are forgotten . . . and why we all exist on this little planet in a giant universe and what’s the point of it all. The story is real and emotional and moving; you simply won’t be able to put it down.

David Smith is an artist, a sculptor, who loses himself in his work and really feels he’s going to make it one of these days, but he’s out of money and losing hope pretty fast. After having a conversation with a deceased family member he strikes up a deal with death and is able to create art with his bare hands. Now he feels he can create the art he has wanted to for so long, with no inhibitions, and will finally become the renowned artist he has always wanted to be. But because this is real life, even with a supernatural slant, things still don’t always go his way.

Then there is Meg, a pretty girl who has helped David along when he was destitute and who he is quickly falling in love with, but isn’t sure if she is interested in him. He has also made a promise not to tell her he loves her until she can do the same to him.

McCloud is clearly pulling a lot from past real-life experiences with The Sculptor to create a story that any reader and follow and related to and be moved by. It is art in many forms that whisks you away and never lets you go.

Originally written on January 10, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Sculptor from Bookshop Santa Cruz, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Best Library Hotels, Franco Travels To 11/22/63, Pairing a Cup With A Tome & More!


Butcher News
Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files, will be publishing a new urban fantasy series in fall 2015.

11/22/63 James Franco has now been cast in the adaptation of Stephen King’s time-travel novel 11/22/63.

New Fantasy From Michael J. Sullivan
The self-published author of the Riyria Chronicles has just had his new fantasy series picked up by Del Rey with plans to publish the first book in the New Empires series, Rhune, in summer 2016.

[read more . . .]

GUEST POST: Looking Back on Arthur C. Clarke’s Predictions

Born almost 100 years ago, Arthur C. Clarke showed an interest in space travel and futuristic ideas from a very early age, which later manifested into predictions that captivated the general public. He began writing science fiction as a teenager, and his works became immensely popular as his career progressed, culminating with the 1964 screenplay 2001: A Space Odyssey, largely considered his most popular work. Throughout his career, Arthur C. Clarke made many futuristic predictions about life and technology, an astounding number of which have come true and are now considered essential to life in the 21st century.

In a 1964 BBC interview titled “Horizon,” Clarke admitted that it was difficult and virtually impossible to accurately predict the future, but that any prediction that did not seem astounding could not possibly be true. He went on to predict that, by the year 2000, communication satellites (what we now call satellite internet) would make it possible for people to communicate instantaneously, regardless of their distance or exact location. He believed telecommunication would make travel and commuting unnecessary for business, except for cases of pleasure, and might even allow a doctor in England to perform surgery on a patient in New Zealand.

Clarke also predicted that this global telecommunication would be highlighted by receiving and transmitting devices that would be so minute every person could carry one in their pocket and believed that one day everyone would be reachable anywhere in the world by simply dialing a sequence of numbers (sound familiar yet?). Clarke even predicted that with global positioning systems, no one would ever need to be lost again. He felt that one day all this information, and more, would be instantaneously available at anyone’s fingertips.

Clarke went on to predict the invention of the replicator, which would be able to produce a copy of anything almost instantaneously. This is especially chilling given the recent rise of 3D printing and how prominent it is becoming as a major technological breakthrough. Today, 3D printers are allowing people to download and print hundreds of thousands of items, ranging from very simple to extremely complex – like food.

Clarke believed that one day artificial intelligence would surpass biological intelligence. Although he believed that organic evolution may be nearing its end, inorganic evolution would rise thousands of times more rapidly than anything produced biologically. He predicted the invention of a machine that would directly record information to the brain, allowing users to learn languages overnight, become skilled laborers in an instant, or relive forgotten memories from long ago. Although this has not yet come to pass, many scientists now believe that the rise of artificial intelligence will be something humanity must deal with within the next generation.

With regard to space travel, Clarke believed that people could be cryogenically frozen in order to travel long distances in space. He was adamant that one day man would be capable of terraforming Mars, and eventually colonize new planets to the point that humans would no longer need need to live in isolated habitats.

Clarke admitted and emphasized the inability of anyone to make completely accurate predictions about the future, and many of his own predictions have not yet come to pass, including super chimpanzees or men colonizing the moon. However, given how many of his predictions have been true, one can only wonder how many of his “failed” predictions are simply on the edge of the horizon. The first human stepping foot on Mars could be only a few years away, and his predictions of terraforming may not be far behind. However viewed, his technological foresight is undeniable and the accuracy of his predictions can only be viewed in the light of the future.

Kate Voss

You might also like these other guest posts from Kate Voss:

Top 5 Ray Bradbury Books

Wizard of Oz Spinoffs

Movies for Bookworms

Top Five Novels That Make Great Holiday Gifts