Fat Books & Thin Women

#Longreads : Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights”
November 30, 2011, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Favorite Longreads | Tags: , , , ,

Check back every Wednesday for a link to a new longread. Your thoughts on this week’s read, and suggestions for future articles and essays, are always welcome!

Friday Night Lights, the tv show, is so fully developed and carefully (if often bleakly) drawn that I didn’t feel ready to let go of it after finishing the fifth season. Thank heavens Sports Illustrated still has H.G. Bissinger’s 1990 article, “Friday Night Lights,” available online. The story that spawned Bissinger’s book of the same name, which birthed the movie of the same name, then the tv series of the same name…you know that this is a good piece. Bissinger’s story, of high school football in Odessa, Texas, focuses on a star player, Boobie, who injures his knee in a scrimmage preceding his senior year and watches his team progress without him and his college plans fall apart around him. The world Bissinger documents is unforgiving and unsentimental, as Odessa writes off their star without a thought when they find a skilled jv player who can take his place. The undisguised racism, the lack of economic opportunities, the social structure that makes celebrities of high school players until they’re injured, lose a game, or graduate – these all feature in the tv show, but in Bissinger’s story the future for his high school players looks far bleaker.

Anyone who’s spoken to me in the past six months knows that I’m nuts for the Friday Night Lights tv show. Reading Bissinger’s article (as well as his book, though the article maintains a tighter focus on the football team itself) gives a fascinating look at the stories that spawned that lovable drunk, Tim Riggins.

Read Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights”


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Return(ish) to books, reviews, the internets
November 21, 2011, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Blog Stuff

Hey, internet! As you know if you’ve been bored enough to visit my other blog, I finished my Peace Corps service in Macedonia three and a half weeks ago and the next day moved to Tirana, Albania to be a Fulbright grantee. Having heard, pretty much every day, that to be part of the professional world in America nowadays you need to own an iPhone/be constantly accessible (trust me, things have changed a lot in the past two and a half years – it was not like this when I left), I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to be inaccessible and decided not to get internet. Only, turns out you also need to be able to check your email more than three times a week when you’re living in Albania, if you have any hopes of ever getting anything done; so I finally broke down and signed up for the cheapest internet plan I could find.

Best thing about Tirana, maybe? The number of books, everywhere. Not just bookstores, which I haven’t really checked out, but the guys selling used books along the streets. Taken as a whole, Albania may not be as developed as Macedonia; but I think parts of Tirana are farther along than Macedonia’s capital, allowing me to treat this as a transition back to America. Seeing so many books is a nice start, even if it means constantly resisting buying Albanian translations of The Hunger Games.

New reviews and Story Sundays will be up this week.