Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Great Magazine writing - by Dan P. Lee, Tom Junod & Julian Rubinstein

As I a few days ago posted on recent great newspaper stories I've seen, it seemed fitting to move on to posting about some excellent magazine writing I've come across lately.

The oldest piece (from May, but which I just recently read) was "Welcome to the Real Space Age" by Dan P. Lee for New York Magazine and a look at the pending wave of commercial space travel. It's a fascinating story and included was one of the major players in the industry, Elon Musk... with this inclusion reminding me of the excellent Esquire profile "Triumph of His Will" on Musk by Tom Junod that I wrote about and linked to last year.

In the same area of writing about larger the life type people was another profile by Junod for Esquire, "A Life So Large" on Brad Pitt. The piece was the second in a sort of "celebrity actor cover story profile series" done in recent months by Junod, with the first on Leonardo DiCaprio and third on Matt Damon. While all three very well written, the one on Pitt struck me as particularly interesting with the actor constantly working the balance between the celebrity life he's chosen and the private life with his family. Additionally of interest to me around the profiles was a short Esquire essay by Junod in the latest issue (with the Damon profile). Titled "Assimilation! The Fame Trilogy" it's about writing the three pieces and includes the interesting note from Junod that "If I had to say anything about all three of them collectively, it would be that they are better than they have to be and quite relieved they are not worse."

Another great feature piece I've seen recently was well written to be sure, but initially fascinating to me just for who wrote it. "Operation Easter" was done for the New Yorker by Julian Rubinstein, author of The Whiskey Robber, a non-fiction account account of Attila Ambrus, an Eastern European bank-robbing folk-hero of sorts. I read the book in late 2005, enjoyed it quite a bit, and up until now hadn't seen anything else by Rubinstein. This recent New Yorker piece an excellent one about rare bird eggs in Great Britain, the collectors who try to illegally take them and inspectors tasked with preventing that. Definitely an obscure topic on animal obsessives that made me think of the recent Jon Moallem book Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America, which I reviewed here.