April 2, 2006 |
"Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe" by Sam Walker (Viking: 354 pp., $25.95) A sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Walker figured he'd have the inside edge when he joined a rotisserie baseball league. Fat chance. "Roto" baseball is played by some 5 million fanatics who think they'd be better managers than the real ones -- they pay fees to draft ideal rosters and use player stats as their dream teams face off on paper.
July 29, 2012
How to Watch the Olympics The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes and Zeroes of Every Sport David Goldblatt and Johnny Acton Penguin: 400 pp., $15 paper You can rely on TV commentators to help you, or you might wander through the pages of this helpful, comprehensive guide. Want to know what to look for in the opening and closing ceremonies? Why should you care about archery or rowing, not just gymnastics or swimming? The answers are here. * In the Water They Can't See You Cry A Memoir Amanda Beard with Rebecca Paley Touchstone: 248 pp., $24.99 Who would ever imagine that unhappiness lurked behind the killer smile of an Olympian swimmer-turned-sex symbol?
November 11, 2007 |
J.R.R. Tolkien deserves recognition in the fantasy genre for creating a fully imagined realm, but he wasn't the only one . . . or the first. Back in 1939, Fritz Leiber gave us Nehwon -- a land combining the Old West and the Arabian Nights . . . with his stories of the warrior duo Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Over the last year, Darkhorse Comics has made a major rehabilitation effort with Leiber's work, starting with a graphic novel adaptation penciled by "Hellboy's" Mike Mignola.
July 8, 2012
They may be called "man's best friends," but dogs remain mysterious to their human companions. What do we really know about them except that they love us? Or is even that an illusion? No, says Stanley Coren, author of "Do Dogs Dream?: Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know" (W.W. Norton: 290 pp., $23.95), a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia. "Science has progressed, and we have now come to understand that dogs have all of the same brain structures that produce emotions in humans," explains Coren, although he also cautions us not to make too much of this.
December 20, 2009
Boilerplate looks like an old stove with legs. He was built by Chicagoan Archibald Campion as the model for a new kind of soldier -- for "preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations." After many exotic adventures around the globe, he disappeared in 1918, during World War I, in the Argonne Forest in northeast France: No piece of wreckage was ever found. Subsequent rumors, though, suggested that the robot had been recovered by the Germans and later rechristened as "Panzermann."
May 27, 2007 |
IN book after book, Donald Hall implores us to be still, to be silent, to listen. To the uppity commuter, to the restless seeker, he says: "Travel can be a burden, and who wants to leave Eagle Pond anyway?" "Eagle Pond" (Mariner Books: 256 pp., $14.
December 4, 2005 |
EVER since Harry Potter first went to Hogwarts, the field of young adult fantasy novels has been growing at the speed of a unicorn's gallop. Among them are the novels in "The Spiderwick Chronicles" series created by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, featuring 13-year-old Mallory Grace and her twin brothers, Jared and Simon, who encounter all sorts of faeries after moving to the abandoned estate of Arthur Spiderwick, their great-great-uncle.
February 18, 2007 |
"DRACULA'S GUEST" is a rare example of Bram Stoker's editorial restraint. Usually, his work was Grub Street quality: He dashed off 13 novels while managing London's Lyceum Theatre company. But Stoker had a different attitude when he wrote the novel he first called "The Un-Dead." It was special. He lavished six years on getting the lore and suspense just right; when it was published in 1897, "Dracula" became the Victorian era's version of "The Da Vinci Code."