Posts Tagged ‘books’

About fifteen months ago I announced on TVFury a deal I’d just signed to write a book about the history of the jump shot.

Today I’m happy to reveal a bit more exciting news. Drum roll (drum roll, Russ):

My publisher Flatiron Books has revealed the cover in its Winter 2016 catalog. Check it out:


A little book news

Posted: February 14, 2014 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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Blood. Salt. Cod. Spice. Tuna. Fat. Bananas. Potatoes. Milk. Flotsam. And Jetsam. Wood. Garbage. Human waste.

Those are some of the subjects of books the past decade or so. I’ve read many of them — including ones mentioned above — and have enjoyed nearly all of them. The first thought when seeing the title is “How can anyone write an entire book about that one thing” followed by, “Why didn’t I think of that?” These books describe one thing but also write about how it affects the world. They’re about one seemingly small thing that influences nearly everything. Over the years I’ve tried thinking of something that would work for that type of book. What about beds? Or pillows? Pencils? Ink? The problem was everything’s been done, or so it seems. The other problem? If you’re going to write a book it has to be something you care about, and if you’re going to write a good book it should be something you’re passionate about.


Another trip back home to Janesville, another trip down to the Fury catacombs. Previous excursions discovered books about how to be a man in 1886 and Alex Karras’s sexually disturbing autobiography. This time?

The People’s Home Library, published in 1916, from R.C. Barnum. The book is a library of “three practical books,” The People’s Home Medical Book, The People’s Home Recipe Book and The People’s Home Stock Book. In the compiler’s preface, Barnum wrote, “The authors have most heartily joined with the compiler in an earnest effort to make this in truth a most practical book for the People and we trust it will prove a real money-saver in the home.”

I have no idea where this book first lived or if it did indeed save people money at the start of the 20th century. But maybe it can still offer some good advice to those living in the early part of the 21st.


Up close with Lee Child

Posted: September 4, 2013 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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A lady in the audience wanted to know if Jack Reacher would ever own a smart phone. Moments earlier, one person’s smart phone rang three separate times and everyone at the Lee Child reading on the Upper West Side wanted their favorite fictional character to appear at that moment, assess the situation, confiscate the phone and deliver a quick blow to the owner’s head with it. Instead several people loudly told her to turn it off and one man sitting one row in front of her turned and said, “Stomp on that thing!”

That’s life in the real world. Life in Jack Reacher’s world is so much more satisfying.

Tuesday night I crammed into the Barnes & Noble at 82nd Street and Broadway and listened to Child talk and take questions for about an hour. At the end he signed copies of his new Reacher novel, Never Look Back, which came out yesterday.


We spent the weekend unpacking and building a bookcase, the type of project that is routine for any 9th-grade shop student but turns into a few hours of sweating, cursing, back-breaking work when it takes place in the confines of a New York city apartment on a warm June day. Still, the thing got built — nails here, brackets there, one board in the wrong place but that’s because it was mislabeled by the company and the entire apparatus stands just fine so let’s put it down in the living room. Filling it took another few hours, as I transferred a portion of my books from old shelves to the new spiffy bookshelf. We have another bookshelf coming next week, and after that all we have to do is find a spot for the 8 boxes of books that are still sitting in my parents’ basement.


Time travel makes me anxious. Not time travel itself, or even the idea of it. It’s not possible, I realize this, so I’m not nervous in my day-to-day life. I don’t think a friend from the present is actually my son from the future sent back in time to mess with his old man’s destiny. I don’t stay awake researching wormholes that would allow me to go back into the past and tell Magic Johnson to get a shot off at the end of Game 2 of the 1984 NBA Finals — and if I was able to do that and the Lakers won that game and the series, would that affect their motivation for 1985 and maybe they don’t win that year?

No, real time travel — or the possibility of it being real — isn’t what makes me anxious. It’s watching, or reading about, fake people experiencing fake time travel that always leaves me wishing I could reach through the screen or dive into the pages and explain everything to them, even while the very concepts and science behind all of it completely confounds me.


Welcome to the latest edition of the Fury Files, which are currently defending themselves in a million dollar lawsuit brought by Rockford. Check out all the previous editions with Tom Linnemann, John Millea, David Brauer, Joe Posnanski, Pat Coleman, Kevin Van Valkenburg, Michael Kruse, Chris Jones, Chris Ballard, Roland Lazenby, Will Leitch and Patrick Reusse.

This week’s guest is Peter Richmond, a former newspaper reporter who went on to become one of the country’s best magazine writers at GQ and is now a best-selling author. He’s also been a planning board member in a small village in New York.

Richmond graduated from Yale, where he studied under the legendary John Hersey and David Milch. I’d say more about that but I’ve already given away too much and Richmond talks all about it below. Richmond’s been honored numerous times in the Best American Sports Writing series and his 1992 story about Tommy Lasorda’s son, Tommy Jr., who died of AIDS, earned a spot in The Best American Sports Writing of the Century. If anyone ever produces a book called The Best American Sports Writing of the Millennium, the Lasorda piece will find its way there as well (the story is now available online on the Stacks section of Deadspin and has been anthologized in the BASW series and in the book Fathers & Sons & Sports).

The author of numerous books, Richmond is currently working on a biography of Phil Jackson. Previous efforts include My Father’s War: A Son’s Journey, a book that detailed Richmond’s efforts to discover just what it meant when he heard his late father (who died when Richmond was a young boy and had won two Silver Stars in World War II) described as a war hero. In 2010, Richmond wrote Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden’s Oakland Raiders. Among his other works? Ballpark: Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream, and Fever: The Life and Music of Peggy Lee.

Richmond has a style that makes writing look easy, which disguises the fact his stories only read like that because of his talent and the exhaustive work that went into reporting his pieces and books. While he spends most of his time these days working on books, his words still pop up elsewhere. Check out his Grantland piece about how America can’t build a decent sports stadium. Or his story for SB Nation Longform about the world championship of blind baseball. And here’s his 1990 piece about Bill Murray. This past week he wrote on Bronx Banter about Hall of Famer Bernard King and his forgotten arrests, and I can only imagine the angry letters he received from Knicks fans. A devoted New York Giants fan — he also wrote a best-selling book with Frank Gifford about the famous 1958 title gameRichmond hosts a radio show about Big Blue, which was the subject of a New York Times story. And be sure to check out Richmond’s website.

Here, Richmond talks about studying under legends, the badass Raiders, the mysterious Phil Jackson, Phish, his writing style, why Cincinnati hated him, why Tommy Lasorda stopped talking to him, his evolution as a writer and much more. Thanks a lot for your time, Peter.


Every so often, usually after she’s watched a few episodes of Hoarders and worries about a future where she’s keeping dead squirrels in the freezer and live ones as pets in our apartment, my wife starts cleaning out her book collection. She’ll get rid of novels and cookbooks, old textbooks, memoirs and coffee table books. Some we donate, others we just leave in our apartment lobby for people to take. Occasionally I think about following this path and ridding myself of some of my books, but then I stop and think: What if I want to read that book again? Or read it for a 12th time?


Immersed in Sherlock

Posted: February 26, 2013 by shawnfury in Uncategorized
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I’ve never worn a deerstalker hat or a wool cape coat. I don’t inhale coke and don’t smoke. I’ve never attended a meeting of like-minded folks who spend a weekend talking about old stories and fake cases. I have no desire to visit the childhood home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or 221B Baker Street.

So I’m not obsessed with Sherlock Holmes. But I do love him, and in today’s world it’s still possible to disappear into the world of history’s greatest fake detective, whose fake adventures still dominate movies, TV, books and imaginations.


Sunday morning I woke up in Minnesota for the first time in seven months. With my wife half a world away in 80-degree Cape Town I’m back home at my parents’ house, just in time for a week of weather that will feel 120 degrees colder. But it’s plenty warm in the old home I grew up in, though not as warm as it might be if a less-stingy man was in charge of the heat.

A lot has changed in the Fury home since the last time I was here. There’s new carpet, new paint jobs in the bathroom, living room and dining room and a new table and chairs that hosts our dinners each night. But one thing remains the same: No house in this town — in this county, state or country — is doing more to keep the newspaper business alive. And while they’re at it, they’re doing their patriotic best to prop up the book business and magazines.