Runyon's New York

He practically invented at least two entire decades of his times, and had everybody believing that his street, Broadway, actually existed. So much of it never happened. What do you care? What does anybody care? Go to any library and the illusion is there as fact. The Roaring Twenties, the Golden Age of Sport, Broadway, the warmhearted guys and dolls…

--Jimmy Breslin about Damon Runyon


Born in Manhattan, Kansas, on this day in 1880, Runyon was thirty when he arrived in New York to be a newspaper reporter, and to try out his crap-shoot worldview -- "All of life is six to five against" -- at Lindy's, the Stork Club, and any betting window available. "When Runyon turned from news to delivering myths," writes Breslin in his 1991 biography, "they became one of the few things ever to spring out of the Broadway cement and last."


Daybook is contributed by Steve King, who teaches in the English Department of Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland. His literary daybook began as a radio series syndicated nationally in Canada. He can be found online at


Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.