It has been a while since I posted, so I'm going to give you the best thing I've read this week and last week.
Let's start with last week. In the lead-up to Super Bowl LVI, there were so many feel-good stories about Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and his small hometown of The Plains/Athens, Ohio. Athens, it turns out, is also my hometown, so I read all those stories -- and there were a ton of them -- with fondness.
But, the best piece to come out of Media Week in Los Angeles was a column by the Washington Post's Candace Buckner.
See, for every warm-your-heart story in professional sports, there is another to expose the gnarly underbelly of it all. And pro sports, my friends, are ugly.
While SoFi Stadium and all its ostentatiousness glimmers under the L.A. sun and now homes the NFL championship Rams, there was a story Buckner needed to tell about the city the Rams left behind (St. Louis) and the mess the shrine of a stadium has made in its own neighborhood (Inglewood).
Buckner pulls all the punches here and it is a brilliant piece.
This week, I finished the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction-winner, The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson.
Given that an awful lot of what daily life is like in North Korea is largely unknown, Johnson fictionalizes life in the dark nation, but uses a lot of research to inform that fiction. It's part dystopian and part historical fiction, but also examines sacrifice, love and politics in a staggering manner.
Remarkable work that I won't soon, if ever, forget.
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup: Media, Fandom, and Soccer's Biggest Stage is available online from Palgrave Macmillan. (Hardback available in September 2021.)
Molly Yanity, Ph.D.