What We’re Reading: Jessica Robertson

Executive editor Jessica Robertson on sports, Steven King and Cher.

October 11, 2013

Tired of reading the same recommended books from the usual sources? Just think of our weekly What We’re Reading column as your non-committal book club with FADER and some of your favorite bands. For this installment, executive editor Jessica Robertson shares her recent reads.

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance
By David Epstein

It only takes a few pages for David Epstein to debunk the much-ballyhooed 10,000-hour rule, made famous by Malcolm Gladwell, as it pertains to elite athleticism. With extensive research on the science of sport, Epstein, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, addresses the ongoing debate of nature versus nurture with a thorough look at modern genetics, geography and physiology, among many others. What makes an athlete elite? How can an individual with little to no experience in a sport become so? What roles do gender and race play, if any? How can a little guy like Nate Robinson be successful in the NBA? Why can’t Barry Bonds hit a ball thrown by a girl, while Alex Rodriguez wouldn't even try? Though the volume of information can feel, at times, dense, Epstein provides anecdotes aplenty to supplement, making this a must-read for anyone interested in the physical limits, or lack thereof, of the human body or, at the very least, anyone looking for a pocket full of dinner party did-you-know’s.

Doctor Sleep: A Novel
By Stephen King

I’m only a chapter and some change into Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to 1977’s The Shining. The book picks up just a few years following the murderous events at the Overlook Hotel, with the immediate ruminations of its protagonist Danny Torrance, the little boy from the notorious Colorado hotel who possesses a psychic gift known as, the shining. He’s now living in Florida with his mother and is visited by Overlook ghosts, including, presently, the dead woman in the bathtub from Room 217. Spoiler alert: she’s still dead and still prefers the bathroom. The novel follows Danny into adulthood, where the demons that haunt him now include his own. As a middle-aged hospice worker and alcoholic, he uses his powers to ease terminally ill patients into their death, earning the nickname “Doctor Sleep.” But it’s not until Danny crosses paths with a 12-year-old girl, who posses her own psychic gifts, who needs some saving that he can combat his own life tragedies and, in a way, save himself. There’s a lot of King to be found in the text, adding depth and something like warmth in an otherwise sinister story. Just don’t tell me what happens.

Cher’s Reddit AMA

“I’m Cher. I’m 100 years old.” That’s Cher’s intro for her Reddit AMA. I don’t know what you’re waiting for.

On Madonna: “I never hated her, I just thought she was a bitch.”

On being a gay icon: “I’m gay catnip.”

On where she’d be without Sonny: “I might be a bank robber. Or Editor of French Vogue.”

Following a marriage proposal: “Depends on what your shoe size is!!”

You’re welcome.

From The Collection:

What We're Reading
What We’re Reading: Jessica Robertson