“Literature Isn’t a Moral Beauty Contest”

Philip Roth died a few days ago at the age of 85. My favorite tribute comes from Zadie Smith in The New Yorker: He was a writer all the way down. It was not diluted with other things as it is—mercifully!—for the rest of us. He was writing taken neat, and everything he...

Don’t Look Now

Down at the School of Visual Arts archive they’ve got a tidy selection of James McMullan’s magazine work from the Sixties through the Eighties. I love this one, a cover for New West magazine circa 1979. In his wonderful book, Revealing Illustrations, McMullan said:...

The Old Man and the Mule

Here is a good story from Second Wind: Memoirs of an Opinonated Man by Bill Russell with the historian Taylor Branch (1979, Random House; currently out-of-print). It’s about Russell’s grandfather and his mule, Kate. Russell’s family was from Monroe, La., and he lived...

Remember the Rhythm

Dig this—from Whitney Balliett’s book American Musicians: Fifty-Six Portraits in Jazz: The Cape Cod pianist Marie Marcus came to New York from Boston to do a radio show in 1932, when she was eighteen. Her experience had been limited to Boston radio shows and to...

The Stacks Chat: Bill Nack

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter, December 15, 2008 Looking for that ideal last-minute holiday gift for the sports fan in your life? Look no further than The Best American Sportswriting of 2008, edited by Bill Nack, who is one of the finest sportswriters we have. Nack is a...

The Stacks Chat: Neil Leifer

By Alex Belth The Stacks, November 16, 2015 The good people at Taschen have decided to show us more of sports photographer Neil Leifer’s work, and this is a very good thing. We’re in the thick of football season now, and I can think of no finer accompaniment than...