The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup, edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey

Dreamed up ahead of the 2006 World Cup by the duo of Weiland and Wilsey, this collection of 32 essays on that year's qualifiers written by both locals and worldly fans of the game, is a perfect place for those looking to get deeper into the soul of the sport ahead of this year's cup. While not all of the 32 teams are in play this year, this broad survey of the sport by writers like Dave Eggers, James Surowiecki, Nick Hornby, Eric Schlosser, Henning Mankell and Jorge Castaneda is the sort of book you can flip through as you happen to turn on the television and see that there's a match going on between Spain and the Netherlands, as there will be on June 13. "This book is always on my desk," says Vescey.