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 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

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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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
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).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.