Don’t Look Now

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader 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...

The Ice Cream Man with the Clean White Suit

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Tom Wolfe died a couple of days ago and if you have never read his entertaining and much-celebrated non-fiction, well, now is as good a time as any to dig in. Start with the relatively straight-forward “The Marvelous Mouth of Cassius...

The Old Man and the Mule

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader 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...

Remember the Rhythm

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader 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...

Down and Out in Fat City

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader “Sometimes you only get to win one championship.”—Leonard Gardner In 1969, Leonard Gardner’s novel Fat City was published. It a story about boxing and drinking in Stockton, California, about losers losing. “I have a strong sense of...

The Chinese Gourmet Club

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader Here’s something fun. From Kenneth Tynan’s lavish 1977 New Yorker profile of Mel Brooks (available online only to New Yorker subscribers though you can also find it in Tynan’s wonderful collection, Profiles): After separating from his...

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: Steve Oney

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader I love anthologies of magazine journalism but you don’t see them published much these days and that’s a damn shame. Safe to say everyone around these parts is grateful to the university presses for keeping the fine tradition alive. We...

The Elmore Leonard Starter Kit

By Alex Belth The Concourse October 6, 2015 One of the coolest things about Elmore Leonard’s crime fiction is that he didn’t get to it until he was close to 50 years old and had been a professional writer for more than 20. His books pared away anything unnecessary...

The Stacks Chat: Gregg Sutter

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader September 16, 2014 Hard to imagine having a cooler job than the one Gregg Sutter had for more than 30 years, when he served as the late Elmore Leonard’s researcher. Sutter is the editor of the Library of America’s Elmore Leonard...

The Stacks Chat: Neil Leifer

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader 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...

Walter Matthau Was Addicted to Losing

By Alex Belth The Stacks Reader A Siegel Film, Don Siegel’s account of his life as a film director is an entertaining and instructive guide to making movies. I especially like the section about Siegel’s experience working with Walter Matthau on Charley Varrick. For a...