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March 14, 2008

Book Notes - Will Leitch ("God Save the Fan")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that is in some way relevant to their recently published books.

As I have noted on Largehearted Boy before, I have been a sports fan all my life. Unfortunately, most sports books tend towards quickly written, poorly edited topical subjects or collections of writings once important, but almost immediately dated. With God Save the Fan, Will Leitch avoids these pitfalls by giving us the smart, honest, and brutally funny opinions of a true fan.

God Save the Fan has the best subtitle I have seen all year: "How Preening Sportscasters, Athletes Who Speak in the Third Person, and the Occasional Convicted Quarterback Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports (And How We Can Get It Back)". If you are a fan of Leitch's blo, Deadspin, you have a sense of his biting, insightful humor. Leitch loves sports, but is constantly amazed by the stranglehold big media (mostly ESPN) holds and how that affects our sports experience as fans.

Leitch's experience as a blogger makes this vital reading for journalists (and other bloggers) as well. He started Deadspin to cover sports "without access, favor, or discretion," and examines the journalistic role of blogs in the book.


In his own words, here is Will Leitch's Book Notes essay for his book, God Save the Fan: How Preening Sportscasters, Athletes Who Speak in the Third Person, and the Occasional Convicted Quarterback Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports (And How We Can Get It Back):

I live by myself, but this wasn't always the case, and back when I had roommates, anytime I was working was guaranteed to terrify them. Why? Because I must have absolute isolation when I write. That is to say: I shut off all lights in my apartment, put on my headphones and blast them as loud as I can. The music has no specific purpose except to serve as loud, fast, subconscious white noise. I need something that won't distract me while I'm working -- this is why I can't listen to hip-hop when I'm writing; I pay too much attention to the words -- but will provide a pulse that will keep me going. I'm of the belief that time not spent writing is time wasted, and my guiding principle is to just type like crazy whatever you have to say, and then fix it later. So my playlist is of the "musthavepulsatingsoundthatgoesfastbutalsohasaheartbehinditbutmostlyjustgofastfastfast." So I can't comment individually on each song except to say that, if my playlist is working, I haven't recognized a single song until the whole thing's over. And I've typed about 3,000 words that are the exact same monster as this playlist, even if it's be impossible for me to say why.

1. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told), The White Stripes
2. Aneurysm, Nirvana
3. Balaclava, Arctic Monkeys
4. Bullet, The Misfits
5. Bangers & Mash, Radiohead
6. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, Swell Season
7. Lament For The Auroch, The Sword
8. Blitzkrieg, Metallica
9. Revolver, The Donnas
10. Lien On Your Dreams, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
11. Chips Ahoy, The Hold Steady
12. Just Because I Do, My Morning Jacket
13. Oh The Guilt, Nirvana
14. Marry Song, Band Of Horses
15. I Hate Myself And Want To Die, Nirvana. (Note: This is always the last song I put on before I am done writing.)


Will Leitch and God Save the Fan links:

the author's blog (Deadspin)
the author's MySpace page
the authot's Wikipedia entry
the author's profile at the publisher

A.V. Club review
Dan Shanoff review
Salon review
Sports Media Journal review
Yard Barker review

LAist interview with the author
New York magazine articles by the author
NPR Weekend Edition profile of the author
phillyBurbs profile of the author
Protrade interview with the author
Publishers Weekly article by the author about writing the book
Sports Illustrated interview with the author
Sports Media Journal interview with the author
Sportsfilter interview with the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

Previous Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)

Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
directors and actors discuss their film's soundtracks
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2008 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2007 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)


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