Dept. of Amusing Things Read

We’ve started Positively Fifth Street, Jim McManus’ participatory study of the World Series of Poker, and it’s pretty darn good; we’re particularly amused by this bit, taken from an early part of the book wherein McManus is trying to convince his wife that he needs to gamble his Harper’s advance in order to get the $10,000 buy-in needed to play in the tournament himself:

Plus a responsible journalist needed actual table experience to capture the rhythms and texture of the hair-raising brand of no-limit Texas hold’em that decides the world championship, right? Krakauer on Everest, I mentioned. McPhee in Alaska. Bill Buford rioting in Sardinia. Susan Orlean slogging through the Fakahatchee Strand…

We giggle because, of course, we read and loved Krakauer’s Into Thin Air as well as Orlean’s Orchid Thief, not to mention the bizarre film it inspired. Buford’s Among the Thugs, wherein the writer sets out to explore the phenomenon of soccer hooliganism and ends up participating, was one of our favorite books a couple years ago when a mad Scotsman loaned it to us; it’s out of print, but you ought to find it anyway. The only one we don’t know is the McPhee refernece, but we’re sure someone will help us.

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