A Loeb Classical...

On a recent trip to SA and B&N at North Star Mall, I picked up my usual soccer magazines: 442, CHAMPIONS; yet another bollocking anthology of so-so rough drafts The Magical Christmas Cat, and a major waste of time entitled A Loeb Classical Library Reader. 

Big commercial book stores like B&N and Borders specialize in paperbacks.  They cater to the lowest common denominator of print buyers. If it keeps them in business, fine.  But once in a while, can’t they take the high road? I’ve been assembling my Loeb Library of Greek and Latin classics wish list for a while.  There’s a lot of them.  And they’re a bit pricey, but with good reason.  The series is beautifully designed — green for Greek classics and red for Latin classics.  They’ve even got a new series, done up in gorgeous royal blue, of Renaissance classics.  They’re just GOR-geous!  But are they anywhere to be seen in the land of Danielle Steele and Nicholas Sparks? Pffft!  You’re more likely to find an entire shelf up front devoted to shiny new copies of Grooming Toenails for Dummies than a beautiful, hardcover collection of Aristotle’s lectures to his son (Nichomachean Ethics — just in case you thought I was just kidding).  

So leaning sideways reading paperback titles on the Philosophy shelves, I found the itsy-bitsy ALCLR.  Awwww…It’s so petite and cute.  And petite.  How amazingly clever of the powers that be at Loeb to condense a thousand years of wisdom into a book the size of a veal cutlet.  Truly, if it was any thinner, it would only have one side.  It’s a thinner book than Thoughts About Great Opera by Don Rickles.  It’s insulting how compact it is.  It’s lovingly ensconced in my purse.  Next time I’m stuck at a light or in traffic, or in line at the slowest McDonald’s in South Texas, I have something to help me pass the tedious moments.

Some years back, maybe about 5 or 6, B&N had the entire collection of Loeb classics for sale. The display shelves were set up between a bargain shelf and the magazine section.  I was there for almost two hours. No one looked at the books except to be careful to not knock them down as they went for the magazines or cut-rate cookbooks.  Sigh… I picked up several to look them over and got very excited that they were a combination of English and Latin or English and Greek.  I don’t read Greek, but I caught the bug to learn.  And I’ve slowly been picking up Latin from various sources.  (Did you know, there are advocates for dissing Latin as a course of study?  Their reasoning is that it’s inconsequential in this age of texting and IM-ing.  May Zeus and Thoth get these cretins in a cage match and let the smackdown begin!)  I regret not buying any of them. I only had enough for my soccer magazine at the time.  Have never seen them in any of the stores since.


Oi. It’s no simcha when my favorite authors collaborate for an anthology, especially when most of the stories are lacking and there’s only one that sounds like a polished story.  So far, out of all the Lora Leigh anthologies I’ve bought, hers are usually the only stories that sound professionally finished.  By that I mean, the story sounds complete. It has good details and sufficient character development.  When romance readers love an author, they LOOOVVVE an author and they want something constantly.  A voracious lot, them.  Collections are, I think, for those hungry fans.  To placate them until the next big novel comes out.  It certainly seems that way with Leigh. 

TMCC has a beautiful cover: the cat is adorable and preternaturally fluffy; the snowball is lovely; the colors are rich and vivid.  The stories inside, like rolls of LifeSavers(R), are sweet.  The ones by Singh, McCarthy, and Winstead Jones are mildly romantic, worthy of a Silhouette Desire.  Sweet Dreams by Winstead Jones is the most novel-like of the four.  The dream sequences are like short stories within a short story.  That’s fantastic.  Of course I bought the book because of Christmas Heat — Noble Chavin’s story.  He’s a breed enforcer that got shot during the end of DAWN’S AWAKENING in the big party scene towards the end of the book.  In some of the breed books, Leigh has a character mention that the breeds chose their own names, for example, Mercury Warrant, Lawe Justice.  ‘TF!  I’d love for her to put in some exposition on how they choose their names. 


  • THE MAGICAL CHRISTMAS CAT  (Noble Chavin, leopard)
  • SHIFTER (Saban Broussard, jaguar)
  • HOT SPELL (Tarek Jordan, lion)
  • RESCUE ME (Macey March, Elite Ops)
  • HONK IF YOU LOVE REAL MEN (Reno Chavez, Elite Ops)

There might be others, but those are the ones I have.


Product Image                          Product Image



442 is available through Haymarket Publishing, as is CHAMPIONS, I think.  442 has an online magazine and CHAMPIONS is accessible through www.uefa.com — which is a fantastic site.  UEFA Champions League is becoming bigger than the World Cup.  Let’s face it, in the world of soccer, Europe is king.  It totters and trips and makes an arrogant ass of itself most of the time.  Players from Africa and Eastern Europe are usurping places usually reserved for natives (center forwards — the glory boys).  Americans(!!!), coming from a country whose policy is to let everyone in, are excelling in Europe at goalkeeping — keeping everything out!  What massive irony.  But at the end of the day, Europe is finishing school.  It’s the trenches.  It’s college prep.  It’s the corporate HQ of everything soccer.  If you can make it there…

442 is more general.  It’s about mostly English soccer, but includes a supplement with score stats for all major soccer-playing countries.  I love this magazine because it often has articles that are super hilarious.  Even some of the pictures are kind of funny.  Extreme close-ups of major figures.  Like so close you can count their pores and stubble hairs. At the back of the magazine, they always have a famous figure pick their First XI and subs.  They interview celebrities and get their take on the game.  Robert Plant reminiscing about Wolverhampton.  The guy that plays Baldrick on BLACKADDER talking about his team.  Joe Elliott from Def Leppard on Sheffield Wednesday vs Sheffield Utd.  Players answer questions.  Just tons of good stuff.  Top humor writing as well.

When I first started buying the mag in 1998, just after France98 where I fell in major crush with Michael Owen, it was an import that cost $4.95.  Now, ten years later, it’s $9.50.  I stopped buying it monthly and just concentrated on key points in the year: season opener issue with supplement, awards nomination/winners issues, whenever a hot player was on the cover, like Michael Owen or Raul.  CHAMPIONS is $9.50, too.  442 is monthly and CHAMPIONS is 6 times a year.  Considering that jocks are not readers as a rule, both magazines are reading-intensive — long articles in teensy print, like Vanity Fair.  If I have a chance to buy both together, then I’m done.  One caveat: the back of 442 contains a lot of pornographic screen images for purchase for cell phones. Also, you can order back issues, subscribe, and shop for soccer boots.

  1. World Soccer Daily — amazing soccer podcast out of Los Angeles.  Must have iTunes to subscribe.
  2. Fox Football Fone-In — Monday nights on Fox Soccer Channel. 7:00 CST
  3. The Fiver — Massively hilarious writing about soccer. Sarcastic, total piss-take take on the game and it’s players.


The Fiver


Champions Cover




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