Yesterday my friend Yakut emailed me the article “Federer as Religious Experience” by David Foster Wallace, which appeared in the New York Times’ Play Magazine on August 20, 2006 (available here). Wallace penned an immaculate piece on Roger Federer, who also happens to be my favorite tennis player these days. As per his custom, Wallace resorts to 17 footnotes, provides detailed accounts of what he terms “Federer Moments” from the Nadal v. Federer Wimbledon Final of 2006, comments – in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, of course – on the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and the tournament’s rules. It is a great ode to Federer, and contains a healthy rebuke of Nadal – who happens to be my least favorite pro these days. If you’re a tennis – and DFW – fan, enjoyed his essays in Consider the Lobster, and do not have the guts to restart Infinite Jest just yet, but would like to continue reading some brilliant prose, you should definitely check it out.
In the past year or so, I’ve read the following books about boxing: Nick Tosches’s The Devil and Sonny Liston, a stylized history of the troubled former champion; Norman Mailer’s document of the 1975 Muhammad Ali/George Foreman battle, The Fight; Mark Kriegel’s The Good Son, a biography of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini; and Undisputed Truth, Mike Tyson’s maddening but compelling autobiography. I’ve supplemented those with a heavy dose of magazine articles, including Sports Illustrated profiles of Deontay Wilder, Gennady Golovkin, Don King, and Al Haymon, pieces in New York and The New Yorker about the Floyd Mayweather–Manny Pacquiao fiasco, and classics by Gay Talese and W.C. Heinz.
All of this would suggest that I’m a boxing fan, one of those old-timey cigar-chewers eager to overlook the sport’s myriad problems and mainstream insignificance in order to enjoy its brutal purity. But despite boxing’s outsize presence in my reading, I’m not particularly interested in it. I’ve watched perhaps an hour’s worth of the sport in the past 12 months, mostly in a flipping-channels sort of way. As it turns out, I’m not a boxing fan; I’m a fan of reading about it.
This has happened to me with other sports, to varying degrees. I read about baseball far more than I watch it; at one point this summer, I forewent live Mets games in favor of The Bad Guys Won, Jeff Pearlman’s account of the team’s debauched ’86 World Series run. I recently read Scott Raab’s pre-Cavs-return evisceration of LeBron James, The Whore of Akron, but I’ve watched about 15 minutes of James’s actual career. Nicholas Dawidoff’s Collision Low Crossers, a deep inside look at the 2011 New York Jets, is coming up fast in my queue. I haven’t watched a Jets game since Boomer Esiason was the team’s quarterback.
This sort of effete, keeping-my-gloves-on distance is somewhat disconcerting to me. As a child, I read about sports just as I do now; among the first books I read cover-to-cover were Outrageous!, Charles Barkley’s autobiography (in which he famously claimed to have been misquoted,) and Say Hey!, the autobiography of Willie Mays. The difference — aside from my having outgrown exclamation-pointed, ghostwritten autobiographies — was that my interest in such books was an outgrowth of my overall sports fanaticism; it was an equal branch on the tree. I read about Barkley because I played basketball after school and watched NBA games on weekends. Despite a few obvious differences — I was a skinny, contact-shy 11-year-old from suburban New Jersey; he was a 250-pound wrecking ball from central Alabama — my desire to read his book was more physical than intellectual. I loved what he did on the court, I wished that I could play like him, and I saw Outrageous! as a chance to spend some time with the man. It was all of a piece.
Twenty-odd years later, only the reading remains. I recently read Pistol, Kriegel’s excellent biography of doomed basketball legend Pete Maravich, for the opposite reason that I once read Outrageous! I had never seen a second of a Maravich game, had never sought out his grainy YouTube clips. I was attracted to his story, his fashionably damned character arc: father-crafted kid prodigy, collegiate megastar, oft-injured pro, reclusive retiree, early heart attack victim. Take away the droopy socks and the LSU jersey and he could have been a figure in a Richard Yates novel. I once used to read sports books because I admired their subjects; now, it seems, I read them because I admire their narrative — the more harrowing the better.
So why read these books at all? Why not stick with Yates — or, for that matter, any novelist or nonfiction writer — if all I’m after is the story? I think the answer, as is increasingly the case, lies in my mortality. I’ll be 37 in a couple of weeks — not old, of course, but getting slightly grayer, growing indisputably creakier — with a hazy sense of the end of things, way off down the road. I shouldn’t arrive there any time soon (at least I hope I don’t), but, like a faraway city on the bottom of a roadside mileage sign, its distance is no excuse to ignore the fact of it.
As a chronically exhausted, train-commuting, kitchen-cleaning husband and father, I have neither the time, energy, nor desire to sit on the couch for two hours and watch a Grizzlies-Raptors game. Life might not be too short for such things, but it’s not as long as it used to be. Sports books have become my replacement for those hours on the couch. They take the most interesting aspects of a sport — for instance, baseball’s longest game, immortalized in Dan Barry’s wonderful Bottom of the 33rd — and let the irrelevancies fall away, like Civil War accounts that skip over the minor battles. The books allow me to experience the games without having to experience all the games.
As children, we watch those games to vicariously experience triumph and defeat, and in the process learn that we will experience both — usually more of the latter — throughout the course of our lives. When I was 12, the Giants won Super Bowl XXV on Scott Norwood’s errant field goal, and as I screamed with joy, I couldn’t help but think about the weight on the kicker’s shoulders. ABC’s cameras caught him as he shuffled off the field, blankly miserable, and the image stopped my whooping and made me want to cry. Football, as strange as it seems, was offering a lesson in empathy.
I absorbed plenty of such lessons through years of watching sports, and many more from playing them. But I’m pushing 40, and I’ve pretty much learned all I’m going to learn about empathy, say, or perseverance, from men in uniforms. And although I still love to see a well-turned double play, a darting touchdown run, or a well-thrown jab, I’d just as soon wait a few years — when the best moments and contests have been ranked and distilled — and read about them. I’ll lie down on the couch with the new book, relaxing after another tiring day. My lifelong love for sports will feel undiminished. The TV, hanging on the wall in the corner of the room, will be off.
Image Credit: Flickr/Generation Bass.
When it comes to baseball, the mind is unreliable and selective in what it remembers. Games and seasons blend into to one another and most second basemen or relief pitchers fade from view forever soon after they leave the diamond for good. Old teams and players live on only as lines of statistics in massive baseball encyclopedias or deep historical databases. Lost, too, are the millions of moments that make up every game. But Roger Angell has been quite good, over the years, at capturing those moments and preserving them as though in amber. And so, in reading his collection of baseball pieces that span more than forty years, one feels a bit like the lucky archeologist who has stumbled upon magnificent specimens so exquisitely preserved as to seem positively lifelike. Angell writes with almost scientific precision: “With the strange insect gaze of his shining eyeglasses, with his ominous Boche-like helmet pulled low… Reggie Jackson makes a frightening figure at bat.” Angell is not just an observer; he is also the ultimate fan, rooting for childhood favorites or for a team whose story has caught his fancy that particular year. Game Time is laid out like the baseball year, with pieces about the languor and anticipation of spring training in the beginning and closing with multi-faceted recollections of several past World Series. The many pieces taken together are like one long summer spanning forty years, a summer when you went to the ballpark frequently but listened to most of the games on the radio on the back porch at dusk.
Guardian literary editor Robert McCrum has compiled an odd and rather subjective book list, collecting what he describes as “books that still speak volumes about the time in which they were written.” The list contains some obvious entries – we are taught in school that Nineteen Eighty-Four was not just a dystopian fantasy but a stark portrayal of the time’s prevailing years as well as some less well known (to me at least) selections like 1967’s The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris. But the list falls apart somewhat as it approaches the present day with McCrum anointing some of the last decade’s blockbuster bestsellers – Bridget Jones’s Diary, the first Harry Potter, and The Da Vinci Code – and falling prey to the notion that the deluge of press these books have received will amount to something in the eyes of future historians looking to view our time through the lens of literature.
In late April, right before the NBA playoffs began, I interviewed Esquire‘s Scott Raab about The Whore of Akron, his passionate, eloquent, achingly human memoir on being a Cleveland sports fan and his evolving hatred for basketball superstar LeBron James, who publicly rejected Raab’s beloved Cavaliers to sign with the Miami Heat in 2010.
Since the Heat were in the playoffs, and The Whore of Akron had just been released in paperback, the timing of this interview seemed perfect. Then life got in the way. My wife and I moved, necessitating an endless amount of catch-up. I parted ways with the original destination for this piece. On and on.
As barriers arose, the Heat made their way through the Eastern Conference playoffs. In late June, they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the NBA championship. Kings James finally had his crown plus the Finals MVP award. Little else has changed in the Midwest. Cleveland still hasn’t fielded a championship team since 1964. LeBron is still, to use Raab’s language, a “megalomaniacal shitheel.” The vitriol endures the 24/7 news cycle.
Also, The Whore of Akron embodies the paradox of sports that Chuck Klosterman perfectly described in Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: The best part about loving sports is hating them. If you follow the Mets, despising the Yankees is a requirement. Rooting for the Patriots means forever cursing Mario Manningham’s nimble feet and David Tyree’s Velcro grip. And, if you love the Cavaliers, you want LeBron James — an otherworldly talent who has added to the continuing Greek tragedy that is Cleveland’s sports scene — to suffer. Forever.
“You ask what are my feelings toward LeBron winning his first title? Dismay. Disgust. I do want to give him proper credit for stepping up and getting it done,” Raab said after the deciding game. “I think any sports fan looks at an athlete doing what he did, especially in the Finals, and I give him full credit for that — though it pains me to do so. But the feelings are not unlike seeing the Baltimore Ravens winning a Super Bowl not so many seasons after they were stolen from Cleveland. It makes me want to puke. As far his legacy, I’m not the right guy to ask. His legacy, as far as I’m concerned, will always be as a backstabbing shitheel who made the wrong decision. I fully believe the Cavaliers would have won at least one title with him, and that would have created the sort of legacy he’ll never earn no matter how many titles he wins.”
In this interview, conducted April 25th over the phone and condensed for clarity and space, Raab talks about book writing (and promotion), LeBron James (naturally), the limits of traditional sports reporting, and why Cleveland sports fans should not make losing part of their identity.
The interview picks up after Raab and I exchange pleasantries.
Scott Raab: I don’t even think [HarperCollins] bothered to tweet that there’s a paperback out, and the playoffs start Monday.
Pete Croatto: That seems like a gross oversight on their part.
SR: Well I was forewarned — and it had nothing to do with HarperCollins in particular — by people who have published multiple books, some of whom have done real well with certain books, that the way publishing works traditionally is they put out a lot of books, and if lightning should strike a book then they’ll put money into the book. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why HarperCollins, when they published a hardback and it was reviewed by everyone from The Christian Science Monitor and Parade magazine to Sports Illustrated and The Wall Street Journal, [how] I never managed to get on a single TV show, for example. It’s a basketball star and it’s an odd book, I get that part, but it’s also the most polarizing athlete, certainly one of the most polarizing humans, in the country.
PC: Is part of that because the book is so emotionally raw that maybe HarperCollins doesn’t want to go all in on it?
SR: I don’t know the answer and I don’t know if I’ll be able to find out the answer because one of the things that came up first was title suggestions. I had been using “The Whore of Akron” as a hashtag for a long time. Naturally, I assumed that a big publisher [would] rely on places like Costco and Wal-Mart to sell a lot of books [so] I didn’t even suggest The Whore of Akron as a title. My editors, to their eternal credit, by the way — I love the title, I’m proud of the title, I wouldn’t change it for the world — but their editors convinced the sales people to go with the title The Whore of Akron knowing that Costco and Wal-Mart were not going to have stacks of a book with that word in big block caps on the cover piled up in the aisles so they could get angry letters from shoppers going, “I was there with my eight year old.”
I thought by being committed to the title it meant that they would also be committed to putting out more money and a little more effort on behalf of getting publicity and that kind of thing, but it didn’t happen that way…That also leaves open the question that you asked, as I understand it, which is that the content itself is peculiar and angry and is kind of vulgar and weird and all that stuff. Whether it ever got to that level where the content affected people’s willingness, I don’t know. I’m not sure how many people were aware the book even exists, which is what I’m saying, let alone put off by the content.
PC: I feel that saying it’s a great book — which it is — and that you got it published, is cold comfort.
SR: I’m fine with it…It got a lot of nice reviews, a lot of people really liked the book, a lot of people reached out to me — not just Clevelanders — because in some ways it’s a barely disguised 12-step memoir or something like that. I don’t know how many copies it sold. If it had tanked completely, there’s no way HarperCollins would have even bothered to publish a paperback.
PC: In some way is just having the book out, and even writing that book, as a Cleveland fan, as a man who’s had his fair share of obstacles, a form of catharsis? Is that the best thing?
SR: On some level I think that’s true and yet I still watch the Miami Heat obsessively. I still root for LeBron James to fail with the same kind of passion. I still focus on Cleveland teams the same way. My weight — I’m way down from where I peaked in the book — but I’m still a 300-pound guy. There is nothing about the catharsis that was waving a magic wand and changing my life. I have a wonderful life. I slept over at Bill Murray’s house last weekend as part of my Esquire job. I have one of the only great jobs in print journalism left. So, I don’t want to start making it sound like, “Yeah, I wrote the book and it was cathartic and I’m still the same…” I think the book is kind of funny. I don’t know that the book is full of self-pity. I certainly hope not.
PC: No, it’s not. But when you’re watching Game 6 of the Finals and you’re seeing Dirk Nowitzki making his move and you’re coming to terms with LeBron’s immaturity, there’s a sense of letting go, of there being relief.
SR: Yes, yes and I thought there would be more of that. I thought I would feel more of that. I thought when this season rolled around that either I’d be much more indifferent to or much less passionate about LeBron and about LeBron’s team and all that. I knew I was going to run into difficulty getting ESPN to pay any attention, because despite the fact that I do have connections there with people who I respect and of whom I’m very fond, I’m very hard on ESPN in the book.
PC: Yes, you are.
SR: They essentially boycotted the book. Where Sports Illustrated reviewed it and has mentioned it three or four times, ESPN has basically ignored the book completely and has engendered a great deal of bitterness on my part. The fact that they have the Heat Index, where they have 18 writers or 37 writers covering every aspect of LeBron’s existence, but a book like this comes out and never gets a mention on ESPN or ESPN: The Magazine. So that helped fuel my animus. My rage was kept fresh by the Worldwide Leader.
PC: At one point Will Leitch, the founding editor of Deadspin, was banned by ESPN and he considered that a badge of honor.
SR: I’m going to be 60 this summer. I’ve got a 12-year-old son. I can’t complain that I’m not able to make my mortgage. There’s none of that, but I was hoping, given the fact that I think it’s a good book and LeBron is really that polarizing a figure, that the book was going to do great commercially. I’m not sure Will necessarily has the same set of factors at play. But you know what? It’s one those cases, as much as I hate the phrase it is, what it is — it is, what it is.
PC: You’re still watching the Heat? I find that amazing.
SR: Yes. I have League Pass and I probably watch more Heat games than Cavalier games, especially once Kyrie Irving got hurt.
PC: Do you watch the whole Heat game? Do you go back and forth? I’m fascinated by this.
SR: [Laughs] I don’t watch it the way I watched it last year, where it really was the whole game. I check in to see how they’re looking. There are times against weaker teams, or a team that shoots poorly, where the Heat can get out into transition and I can’t take a whole game of that because they’re just too overpowering an offense when they can operate in the open court.
PC: Do you know if James has read the book, if he’s aware of the book?
SR: I’m certain he’s aware. I dropped a copy off at his house. I dropped a copy off at his business office in Cleveland. I autographed both copies: one for LeBron and one for Maverick Carter [James’s friend and manager]. I put a bounty on the Miami beat writers, offered $100 bucks to anyone who would ask him about the book — of course, no one would. But I’m quite sure he’s aware of the book.
PC: Walking into the lion’s den like that, how did you feel?
SR: I’m good with that. If I could get a conversation with LeBron it wouldn’t start with me calling him a whore…It’s not a persona that I hate LeBron, if you want to use the word “hate,” that’s the truth. I’m a professional at this point. I’ve been writing for national magazines for 25 years. My mother would worry. My mother genuinely would say, “Have you heard from LeBron’s people.” I don’t know what she means by “his people” but, no, I haven’t heard from anyone. She worries, “They’re going to hurt you.” No, but that that would be good for the book if it did [happen]. I don’t think you or anyone else in this kind of conversation would feel a tremendous amount of trepidation or anything. This is kind of fun. I had a great time doing the book, and when we went to Bath, Ohio, to drop the book off at his house, the only thing I was nervous about was what if we actually rang the bell and were the least bit of intrusive that we would wind up being charged with something by an officer of the law. I didn’t want to get in that kind of situation.
PC: Writing this book, getting as personal as you did, was it a nerve-wracking experience?
SR: I didn’t know where the book was going to go. For a long time I thought I would be collecting a lot of interviews with a lot of Cleveland fans and including a lot of that in the book. There are still one or two examples of that. What happened in the writing of it, once the Finals ended and I had a deadline to meet, I also had a lot of people — because the Heat had lost and I had been tweeting and blogging occasionally for Esquire — not just calling me names but going, “How could you be this full of hate for a young athlete? How could you wish injury?” Or, “Get a life.” Or, “Kill yourself, you miserable fat fuck.” Not that I take any of that too much to heart, but the question really began to intrigue me about what made me this kind of fan. What made me so attached? Because I wasn’t sure of the answer; it was just always part of my life to be this champion of Cleveland or die-hard Cleveland fan. I write a lot of first-person stuff anyway, even when people complain about those Q&As — and people do complain — they go, “If I wanted to read about you, Scott Raab, I’d buy Scott Raab Magazine. I’m more interested in what so-and-so has to say.”
PC: Yeah, but I disagree with that, and that’s why I like your interviews. So many in magazines and television are so canned. A robot might as well be asking the questions. There’s nothing wrong with someone putting themselves on the page.
SR: Obviously, I agree and God bless you. If I had to do those kinds of interviews, Esquire wouldn’t even bother to run them…I know that when I’m going on a Q&A, I still get really nervous. I still prepare for it. I interviewed Sarah Silverman on Monday. I love her and I really love her stuff. I read 105 pages from a clip file and I read her book [The Bedwetter] — we had the same editor at HarperCollins. I saw the movie, Take This Waltz. In other words, I did a lot of homework. I was very nervous. There’s a shower scene, nothing lascivious but just women taking a shower together and she’s one of the women. [I started by saying] “I saw the movie, so I brought a picture of myself naked so we would be even.” Now, that was just an icebreaker, but it’s definitely going to be part of the Q&A. I think that kind of stuff is fun, and if I think it’s fun…The same with the book, by the way. I had to talk with my wife at length about some of the stuff just to make sure that she was okay with it. I felt however grandiose this sounds, if that was the direction I was going to go in, there wasn’t going to be much I was going to withhold about my life.
PC: Was she comfortable with that?
SR: I don’t think she was comfortable with it. I don’t think she is comfortable with it. We go to parties or to dinners in our neighborhood, which is a small suburb in New Jersey, and I think both Lisa and I are real self-conscious about it. But she wasn’t uncomfortable enough with it to go, “I don’t want you to do that.”
PC: She’s a journalist, correct?
SR: She’s a journalist and she also understands that the book turned out to be really important to me personally. And maybe that speaks to the catharsis question. She saw not that I did a lot of traveling and was away from home far more than I wanted to be, but that I had to step back into being a fan, that I had kind of cut myself off just to save myself the wear and tear. I became a Cleveland fan who would Google and get clips of like the Browns final home game on YouTube and I would sit there crying. She understood that this was something that wasn’t a commercial exercise for me, but it was as much a part of me as anything in my life — with the possible exception of her and my son.
PC: Are you ever going to stop being the passionate fan that you are? Do you see yourself mellowing with age?
SR: It’s hard to imagine just because it has not happened. I think if I had stayed in Cleveland I don’t know what would have become of me professionally because a writer really can’t make a living in Cleveland. I don’t know what would have happened to me as a fan, because the suffering that they’ve gone through has been so embittering. Because I haven’t gone through it as a Clevelander living in Cleveland, I don’t want to exaggerate my own suffering. I know the Browns are drafting Thursday night. I just haven’t seen any way in which I’ve mellowed, including there are a couple of memorial plaques at one of the Little League fields where my son plays. And I made a joke about how it’s odd that people chose to be buried there. Not that there are actually people buried, just the memorial plaques look like headstones. And what I was thinking was, “That’s how my mind worked.” I’d want to be laid to rest somewhere my son could visit my remains, but I would also like to be interred somewhere near one of the ballparks in Cleveland.
SR: Well, yeah, because I don’t know what else would define me more precisely than my love for those teams. It’s just the truth.
PC: How do you deal with the overall ineptitude of the Cleveland teams? It’s almost an epic suffering.
SR: On one level, I just intellectualize it…There’s a play called Our Greatest Year, written by a couple of younger guys [Robert Attenweiler and Scott Henkle], about 2007, a year when the Indians were up three games to one on the Red Sox [in the American League Championship Series] and the Cavs were in the Finals against the Spurs and the Browns were in the playoff hunt until the final game of the season. For these guys, that was our greatest year. And it’s a very funny, very well-crafted Cleveland play. There’s a point raised by one of the characters in the play about how attached the main character is to losing, and how you come to define fandom in that way as a Clevelander, and that maybe if one of those teams ever did win a championship it would be sad and it would take something away from our sense of ourselves that’s unique because we suffer uniquely, this unique fan base.
I think that’s bullshit, but I can go there. I can have that discussion. One of the reasons that I feel comfortable going there and having the discussion is because the other really is painful. When I see on YouTube the Miracle of Richfield, which was simply the Cavs beating the Bullets in a seventh game of a playoff series in 1975-76. When I see those fans pouring out of the stands and tearing down a basket at an NBA game, and I think how many of those fans are dead now, and how many of them like me are thinking about when is Medicare going to kick in. I start crying. I don’t start crying in the metaphorical sense or the intellectual sense: I start crying.
The same with the Browns final home game, where a bunch of the players after time runs out, they run down [voice starts to crack] to the bleachers. [silence] Sorry, Pete, I have to gather myself here. [silence] I really think the takeaway here is that I haven’t mellowed. [silence] I don’t know what else to say on the subject, except I much rather have the intellectual conversation than live full-time in the emotion of it. [silence] If one of those teams were to actually win a championship [voice breaks] I think it would be an unmitigated joy. [silence] I can’t imagine any Cleveland fan going, “You know, I really liked it better when we could uniquely identify ourselves by our suffering.” I can’t. That thought is, if not really even perverse, it’s just ridiculous.
PC: I don’t think anyone wants to be branded as a perpetual loser.
SR: I think one of the things that people don’t understand — and I don’t think I did a particular solid job in the book, because it would have killed the narrative — but you cannot separate the team’s collective failures — individually or as one global failure. It just can’t be separated from what’s happened to the city.
For some weeks now, in a pretense to professorial hipness, I’ve been using the TV show Gossip Girl as a sort of all-purpose pop-cultural referent with my students. Whenever I’m at a loss to explain a concept, I say something like, “This would be like on Gossip Girl, if Blair Waldorf told Serena van der Woodsen…” The ugly truth, however, is that I’ve never seen the show.My students seem to take this in stride, and to find it both hilarious and tragic that I imagine it to be a cultural touchstone for their generation. In fact, they tell me, it is more of a cultural touchstone for mine. Other teachers apparently share my delusion that Gossip Girl is the central televisual event of the lives of undergraduates. Meanwhile, the undergraduates order Six Feet Under from Netflix.So where, one wonders, did the Gossip Girl meme gain traction? I can’t answer for my colleagues, but Gossip Girl got my own attention through two roundabout connections with The New Yorker magazine. First, Janet Malcolm (of all people) penned an essay on the literary merits of the book series on which the show is based. Malcolm was critical of the TV adaptation, but noted, of the books, that adolescence is a delicious last gasp (the light is most golden just before the shadows fall) of rightful selfishness and cluelessness… I would like to go on telling Blair stories until they are gone.Then, Wallace Shawn – a great playwright and actor and the son of the late New Yorker editor William Shawn – landed a recurring role as Blair’s mother’s boyfriend. “The life of an actor can be very enviable,” Shawn told the New York Times this week. “If the phone rings and somebody says, ‘I see you as the leader of a group of aliens with enormous heads… I think that’s fantastic.”That its glancing acquaintance with these two writers was enough, in my mind, to establish Gossip Girl’s centrality to the zeitgeist probably says more about The New Yorker’s role as a taste-maker for the thirtysomething set than it does about the CW’s role as a taste-maker for teens. Still, the primetime hours have not been quite the same for me since The O.C. went off the air. Janet Malcolm, literary to the end, would have me fill them with Gossip Girl books, but with Wallace Shawn joining the cast, I’m tempted to brave her disapproval and start watching the show.
Adonal Foyle, the former basketball standout at Colgate who has had a long career with the Golden State Warriors, has an impressive Web site that includes his very own book club. The club’s current pick, The Da Vinci Code isn’t terribly inspired, but I’m nonetheless impressed that an NBA star is broadcasting his love of reading. Note as well Foyle’s “Top 10 Books” which includes an ample mix of basketball books and political non-fiction with a leftward-leaning bent.via the Freakonomics blog, where a commenter has noted another NBA player with a literary side, Washington’s Etan Thomas who has published a book of poetry.