God Save the Fan

In my experience, most casual sports fans are unaware of Deadspin.com, the irreverent David to ESPN's Goliath. But Will Leitch's increasingly popular blog, which delivers "sports news without access, favor, or discretion," has become a destination for diehard sports fans eager to propose and discuss issues (say, Michael Vick's herpes?) that mainstream media won't touch. Leitch, who launched Deadspin in September 2005, describes the genesis of this fan movement away from traditional sports journalism in God Save the Fan: How Preening Sportscasters, Athletes Who Speak in the Third Person, and the Occasional Convicted Quarterback Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports (And How We Can Get It Back). If the title sounds long-winded, so are portions of the book, a sometimes witty manifesto infused with personal essays and social commentary. Its 295 pages make it clear that Leitch, who plays in 11 (!) fantasy sports leagues, doesn't have much respect for professional athletes. "Outside of the production of stats, athletes are pointless," he writes. That's certainly questionable. What's unquestionable, however, is that sports devotees are flocking to Deadspin (844,000 unique visitors per month) and that even casual fans may soon be turning to renegade reporters like Will Leitch for their daily fix. -

July 28: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin eloped on this day in 1814.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).