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10 books to mark

Looking for relief from the World Cup? Here's ten Brazil-related books in which football is notable - almost - for its absence...

1.Brazilian Adventure, by Peter Fleming

A hilarious account of a journey undertaken in 1925 to find one Colonel Fawcett who went missing there several years earlier. The author was the brother of Ian Fleming, creator of 007.

2.The Boys from Brazil, by Ira Levin

South America was a favourite hideout for Nazis on the run. A great, gripping thriller.

3.Brazil, by John Updike

When Tristao Raposo, a black 19-year-old child of the Rio slums, spies Isabel Leme, an 18-year-old white girl at the opposite end of the social spectrum, sparks fly. A rare foray into the world of magical realism by the man who made Rabbit run.

4.In Trouble Again: A Journey Between the Orinoco and the Amazon, by Redmond O'Hanlon

Initially, O'Hanlon could find no one to accompany him on his dangerous journey. Indeed, no one with any sense would go with him to Shepherd's Bush. But is there a more engaging and comically gifted fellow on the page?

5.Black Diamonds and the Blue Brazil, by Ron Ferguson

Sub-titled "a chronicle of coal, Cowdenbeath and football", here's a glimpse of the beautiful game few in Rio will recognise.

6.The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho

Has any book by a Brazilian author been translated into more languages than this allegorical novel about an Andalusian shepherd's journey to Egypt?

7.A Death in Brazil, by Peter Robb

Delving deep into Brazil's slave-tainted, bloodstained past, Robb paints a grim but compelling portrait of a country where the gulf between rich and poor could hardly be more stark.

8.Epitaph of a Small Winner, by Machado De Assis

"I am a deceased writer not in the sense of one who has written and is now deceased, but in the sense of one who has died and is now writing." So begins the posthumous memoir of Braz Cubas, a wealthy 19th-century Brazilian. Unputdownable.

9.A Brazilian Mystic, by R.B. Cunninghame-Graham

The dramatic tale of Antonion Conselheiro, an odd and fanatical ruffian who raised an insurrection in Brazil. Even odder, its author was a founder-member of the National Party of Scotland, a precursor to the SNP.

10. A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh

Set primarily in England between the wars, the bizarre denouement takes place in the Amazon jungle, an ending described, not without reason, "as one of the greatest in literature".

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