The reissue of George Plimpton's sports books.
I usually don’t pay much attention to reissues, but I make exceptions based on a variety of factors, including the quality of the writer in question, the freshness of the new material, and whether or not the writer of the new foreword or introduction has anything intriguing to add. All of those factors are in play with Little, Brown’s April 26 reissue of George Plimpton’s sports books, including Paper Lion, one of my personal favorites.
I’ve always been a fan ...
Songs that are calls to action
Bob Boilen, the creator and host of NPR Music’s All Songs Considered and founder of the Tiny Desk Concert series, describes his first book, Your Song Changed My Life, as a “story of how a song can be a call to action, to pick up an instrument or a pen, to find your voice, to spill your soul and change your life—and, perhaps, someone else’s.”
In this collection, 35 musicians discuss the songs that altered their lives, in many ...
Trying to understand American violence.
The Way of the Gun
On the heels of three more recent mass shootings—in Kalamazoo, Michigan (6 dead), Glendale, Arizona (5 dead), and Hesston, Kansas (4 dead)—we are forced yet again to confront our relationship with weapons and what I—and millions of others—consider to be woefully inadequate gun laws.
Countless books have explored the history of weapons, guns in particular, and their appeal across generations, many of them written with distinct political agendas in mind (both pro- and anti-gun). On March 22, British journalist ...
An eye-opening book on the housing crisis that often goes unnnoticed.
Matthew Desmond photographed by Michael Kienitz.
Each month, when I pay my mortgage, I experience three distinct thoughts: 1) damn, that principal never seems to go down; 2) I am fortunate to own a nice home with a reasonable mortgage I can afford; 3) I am grateful to be rid of rent payments and the endless hassles that attend tenancy.
While those thoughts haven’t changed over the past years, the third one acquired greater resonance after I finished reading the new book by Harvard University sociologist ...
Books for the true sports fanatic.
Rise and Fire by Shawn Fury.
In February, the sports-focused part of my brain—which is, admittedly, perhaps a bit too pronounced—turns its attention from football to basketball. This month, two new books will assist me in that mental transition.
In Rise and Fire, journalist Shawn Fury digs into the history of basketball to examine the jump shot, noting how, surprisingly, it hasn’t always been a part of the game. However, as our reviewer noted, “the jump shot created offense, and Fury elevates it to yet higher ...
The unique use of history and science forms an accessible book on autism.
Caren Zucker and John Donovan, co-authors of In a Different Key.
Autism: few disorders generate more controversy, misinformation, and heated argument regarding causes, diagnoses, and treatment options. With more than 200,000 cases per year in the United States alone, autism has become a hot-button topic in the medical field. Though dozens of books about autism have been published in the past decade or so, few offer the combination of comprehensive history and context, in addition to coping and caregiving suggestions, that many parents crave.
In the past few months, there ...
The great new nonfiction of 2016
Despite record highs in many parts of the country over the past few weeks, soon it will be time to retreat indoors to ride out the January gloom. For most of the readers of this magazine, that means extended reading time. While January is never the most active publishing month, there are plenty of nonfiction treats for all reading tastes, including these five diverse selections:
The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
In the acclaimed author’s latest, “a great ...
Another celebrity memoir?
Mary-Louise Parker photographed by Tina Turnbow
I must admit, when Mary-Louise Parker’s Dear Mr. You landed on my desk, I groaned audibly. Yet another actor with literary aspirations? Sure, I loved the talented actress’ work in Weeds and other projects, but over the years, I’ve seen far too many mediocre and unnecessary memoirs from entertainers to harbor any hopes for Parker’s book.
So I was pleasantly surprised by this “collection of never-sent literary missives to the men who have most influenced her personal development.” ...