What we’re reading: Nazis, football history, and Jack Reacher

In honor of Book Day in Argentina, here’s a look at some of our staff's recent choices

This week's reading selection has a bit of everything. Credit: Pexels

Book Day in Argentina is June 15 and we decided to celebrate it with a rundown of what our staff has been reading lately. One of the many good things about having a diverse workforce is that there’s never a shortage of reading recommendations and, no matter what you might fancy, you’re always bound to find something that piques your curiosity. 

The Real Odessa, by Uki Goñi (Granta UK, 410pages)

A brilliantly-researched exploration of how Perón’s government, Nazis, European war criminals, the Catholic Church, and an ensemble of others collaborated to help Nazis guilty of crimes against humanity escape to impunity in Argentina. 

With more characters than a Russian novel, the book doesn’t shy away from fine detail and is meticulously referenced. Drawing on years of persistent archival work across several countries combined with interviews, the final result is an impressively original book that feels like it could have been a doctoral thesis.

Amy Booth

Oblígame (Make Me), by Lee Child (Blatt & Ríos, 432 pages – published in the U.S. by Delacorte Press and in the UK by Bantam Press)

Lee Child’s awesome hero Jack Reacher — a perfect blend of Sherlock Holmes’ analytical mind and the body and strength of 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger — is back in this 20th book of the franchise, originally published in 2015 and accurately translated by Aldo Giacometti for Blatt & Ríos. 

Oblígame starts as most westerns — and Reacher novels — usually do: with a nomadic, solitary hero getting off a transport somewhere in America, ready to face whatever adventure and/or crime he comes across with. 

This time, what appears to be a country-set whodunit turns into a modern deep web tech thriller that unfolds in the form of a dry, almost emotionless deductive investigation across the U.S. to find a missing private detective who disappeared in the middle of a tiny rural town.

Agustín Mango

The Immortals: The Season My Milan Team Reinvented Football, by Arrigo Sacchi with Luigi Garlando (Black Page Press, 196 pages)

The Immortals is a first hand account by legendary football coach Arrigo Sacchi of his career, in particular of his stint at the helm of Italian giants AC Milan between 1987 and 1991. Although Sacchi doesn’t spare us his fair share of rose-tinted glasses, the book is a great first hand account of the inner workings of a team that went on to win two European Cup titles, Berlusconi madness included. 

While those who watched the team will see this book as a trip down memory lane, young football fans will find a deep dive into the period, and Sacchi’s analysis and commentary make it really come alive. I also recommend watching the games he focuses on as the story progresses, as it helps flesh out the commentary even further. Excellent read for football die-hards and casual fans alike.

Fernando Romero Núñez

Erasure, by Percival Everett (Graywolf Press, 272 pages)

Thelonious “Monk” Ellison is an African-American literature professor and novelist who his peers perceive as “not black enough.” The dense and complex books he writes deal with the likes of French semiologist Roland Barthes or Greek philosopher Aristophanes. Meanwhile, another author gets famous by writing an exploitative “ghetto book.” 

So Monk decides to write his own as a parody. I won’t reveal anything else, plot-wise. The novel’s structure is experimental: short poems and texts by Monk and his “parody novel” are included in full. Erasure deals with a variety of topics — universal themes like love, family, and death, as well as more contemporary ones, such as being African American in the United States, the literary market, and the notion of author. 

Erasure is clever, funny, sad, contemplative, and scathing. Director Cord Jefferson adapted it into the Oscar-nominated movie American Fiction, which is not a bad film by any means. Still, I’d like to finish this recommendation on a rather unoriginal, pedantic note — the book is better.

Facundo Iglesia 

La Berkins, una combatiente de frontera, by Josefina Fernández (Sudamericana, 252 pages)

Lohana Berkins, the “Commander of Butterflies,” was a travesti activist and a champion in the fight for Argentina’s 2012 Gender Identity Law, among many other things. She passed away in 2016 but the LGBTQIA+ community repeatedly quotes her words that continue to inspire — “The love that they denied us is our drive to change the world.” 

Given her presence in my community, I wanted to read more about her and was recommended this biography, which is essentially a series of transcribed conversations between the author and Berkins, who passed away before it could be finished. It’s a fantastic insight into their thoughts and discussions within the community but I wouldn’t recommend it to someone looking for “Lohana Berkins 101”: some prior knowledge is required.

Valen Iricibar

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