Football: Twenty years on from the 1992 publication of Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch you might assume there wouldn't be any football subjects remaining to write a half-decent book about.
It is true there's a lot of dross - I avoid almost all ghost-written player biographies like the plague, and the Hornbyesque diary of a season/lifetime has been mostly done to death.
But there's also enough fine writers, some new, some vintage, to provide a literary sparkle to writing about the game.
Jimmy Burns's unauthorised biography of Maradona was one of the standout books that helped define the new football writing.
His latest, La Roja, maintains his exceptionally high standards as a football writer, detailing the cultural and social context from which the Spanish team has emerged as world and European champions, arguably the finest national team ever.
Spanish club sides aren't bad either, though domestically La Liga is dominated by just two teams (sound familiar?). Richard Fitzpatrick's El Clasico provides a superlative explanation of what the Barcelona v Real Madrid rivalry represents on and off the pitch.
At home the biggest story of the year was Manchester City's ending of their own years of hurt - in their case 44 seasons since winning the league.
The finest investigative sports journalist working in the British media is without much doubt David Conn who also happens to be a long-suffering City Fan.
His book Richer than God manages to combine quite brilliantly a tribute to all that his club have achieved while unravelling how the super-wealthy owners are a major part of all that is wrong with football today.
A hugely insightful and opinionated commentary on the modern game has also been written by an anonymous top-flight player, I Am The Secret Footballer.
Almost every topic is covered from inside the dressing room - no culprits named, though, which makes for a well-informed guessing game.
"Against Mod£rn Football" has been the T-shirted manifesto of Philosophy Football pretty much from our start back in 1994.
Loudly declaring that football isn't what it used to be can sometimes descend into a conservative nostalgia.
This isn't something you could accuse Duncan Hamilton of, author of the powerfully evocative memoir The Footballer Who Could Fly.
A multi-award winner for his sports writing, Hamilton in his latest book traces the reasons why under the influence of his father he first became a football fan, and what the sharing of their passion taught him about family, masculinity and community.
An entirely different take on football's evolution is provided by Gavin Mortimer's innovative A History of Football in 100 Objects.
Taking the format of Neil MacGregor's hugely popular TV series and book A History of the World in 100 Objects, Mortimer provides a richly original account of the game's past, present and future without letting the quirkiness of the format get in the way of the interesting facts he expertly uncovers.
In the late 1980s a wave of football fanzines appeared. They were the space where an emergent movement of fandom developed ideas, insights and hopes of a better game.
Few if any of those ideals have survived the commercialised onslaught that the Premiership became but that doesn't mean they don't remain in the corners of almost every club support.
Changes in publishing technology have meant that most of these voices have gravitated to websites, blogs and Twitter.
Dig around and the imagination and commitment that once characterised the fanzine movement can still be found online.
Among the best of the new, new football writing is found at In Bed With Maradona and the best of their articles, features and essays have been compiled into a book, In Bed With Maradona: The First Two Years.
The do-it-yourself maxim remains unchanged, the quality unbounded. But one gripe - why are the authors almost exclusively male?
Football is framed by its masculinity. To my mind that is one of the limitations to the game that any new writing should be challenging, not reproducing.
A splendidly alternative tale is recorded in Freedom through Football. Founded in 1992, Bristol's Eaton Cowboys and Cowgirls are punk footballers who have not only built a true community club in their native city but also travelled to Mexico, LA and Palestine to spread the internationalist word of football for change.
It's truly inspiring and a testament to what the game at its best can become.
An entirely different tale of football's potential is beautifully told by Anthony Clavane in his brilliantly titled Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?
The 2011-12 season was one when the cause of anti-racism took a few steps backwards and there's not much sign of the furore disappearing.
In contrast Clavane's remarkable book describes how football helped provide Britain's immigrant Jewish community with an early basis for organising, forming an identity, strengthening their cause for representation in their own right and connecting with host communities and organisations too.
Superbly written, it is a story largely hidden from history. In their different ways it could also be told as a tale of football in the Asian, African, Chinese, east European and other migrant communities who have organised around football in a similar way.
In discovering this history we learn not only something about football but about ourselves too. The perfect combination for a good read about the game.
That's an eclectic line-up to suit those who have an inclination not just to ask about the scoreline but the meaning of football too.
Wishing for six points over the Christmas period may be a forlorn hope for most but with a selection of these reads stuffed in your stocking the journey home may at least bring some of that fabled seasonal comfort and joy.
• Mark Perryman is co-founder of the self-styled "sporting outfitters of intellectual distinction" Philosophy Football.
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