Saturday, March 09, 2013

Other People's Writing (Grantland edition)

Here are this month's articles to check out, all of them from Grantland this time around...

* We'll start things with the best of the bunch, Michael Weinreb's profile of Donald E. Westlake, one of the greatest crime fiction writers of all time and one of my personal favourites.  Calling Westlake a "crime fiction writer" is a bit misleading given that he so often branched out into other genres but since he's best known for writing the grim Parker series and the light-hearted Dortmunder series, crime fiction it is.  Of note, I had no idea that Westlake was actually "Richard Stark," author of the Parker novels, until a few years ago.  Now I have 24 more books to add to my list, not to mention hunting down other Westlake novels written under pen names.

* Bryan Curtis only semi-tongue in cheek dictionary of sportswriting terms.  I won't lie, I've used a number of these myself.  A big number.  A thousand?  No, that's too big.

* Chuck Klosterman's already iconic interview with Royce White, the Houston Rockets draft pick who is holding out and holding both the team, the NBA and society in general under the microscope for how they treat mental illness.  I'm not always the biggest fan of Klosterman's circular, inconclusive writing style, but it's a good fit for this very complicated subject.   

* Norm Macdonald (yes, that Norm Macdonald) on why Tiger Woods will outplay Rory McIlroy this season.  Gotta say, it's still very early yet in the PGA season but thus far, Norm is looking pretty bang-on.  This was the first of Macdonald's Grantland pieces that is actually funny to read on the page, rather than funny only if you imagine him delivering the lines in person.  If Macdonald delivered his Grantland columns in podcast form, they'd be much more effective.

* Rembert Browne on the (bizarre) Thuzio service that allows fans to talk to and/or hang out with various retired athletes.  As Browne puts it, it's the website that constantly makes you wonder "Wait, is this sadder for the buyer or the athlete?"  It is utterly unsurprisingly that such a shameless service was founded by Tiki Barber, the man that pride forgot.  I do enjoy that Dale Ellis (my childhood basketball hero, entirely due to Nintendo-performance reasons) gets his own specific citation in this article.  In case you're wondering, childhood friends who may be reading this post, no, I'd rather not receive a phone call from Dale Ellis on my birthday.  Just give me the straight cash, homey.

* Brian Phillips looks at the vast gap between the beginning of Diego Maradona's career and its current state.  Speaking of beginnings and endings, Phillips' opening and concluding paragraphs belong in the Thematic Callback Hall Of Fame.  It's a bit cheesy but man, that's some good tie-in.

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