The Balloon Lady and
Other People I Know
Duquesne University Press 1996 ISBN 0820702668
This collection, featuring 16 essays, introduces us to a variety of fascinating characters. As Jeanne Marie Laskas tells us, she enjoys finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. Here, she writes about the many personalities she has encountered in the everyday world—the woman who pilots balloons, the man who trains and races pigs, the men who work on barges traveling the Monongahela River, a groundhog, Tom Cruise, Geraldo Rivera, her cats, the people and performers of Branson, Missouri, the woman who makes Slinkys–and through her unique storytelling abilities, she allows us to see what makes these characters truly extraordinary.
This collection gives us a talented storyteller, a fresh voice, someone who can take us along to look at the world from a unique perspective.
“How was I to know,” writes Laskas in her introduction, “that when the dog trainer was a boy, he was attacked by a giant, evil poodle in his dreams? How was I to know that the vacuum cleaner salesman’s father was a failed Fuller Brush man? How was I to know that Geraldo Rivera drives a boat named “Bubba” to work? How was I to know, when I first met Constance Wolf, that so many adventures could be hidden inside this old lady sitting on a farm tractor, dressed in army fatigues, pearls, and with a thin, black veil stretched across her face?”
“Truth is definitely stranger than fiction. Just ask author Jeanne Marie Laskas. Her first full-length collection of stories…culls several interviews from newspaper work that Laskas has conducted with both the famous and the not-so-famous, including Tome Cruise, Geraldo Rivera, Betty James -the creator of the Slinky -and Constance Wolf, a world-champion hot air balloonist.”
– American Bookseller
Women at the Turn of the Century Tell the Stories of Their Lives in Words and Pictures
William Morrow & Company 1999 ISBN 0688158633
In We Remember, twenty-five women born at the turn of the century speak of the wonder and shared wisdom that could come only from experiencing–firsthand–the most dramatic century of all time. This visually rich volume provides a rare glimpse of the complex feelings–the triumphs and frustrations–that have gone into the emergence of the modern American woman.
Filled with engrossing portraits of the famous and the little-known, We Remember brings into focus the scope and diversity of lives that spanned two world wars, the Great Depression, the administrations of nineteen presidents, the New Deal, and the industrial and information revolutions.
With an introduction by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Best American Sports Writing
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected — and most popular — of its kind.
The Best American Sports Writing 2012 includes Jeanne Marie Laskas: The People V. Football, When Jeanne Marie Laskas started reporting on the devastating impact of repeated hits to football players’ brains in 2009, the NFL was still in denial. By now the evidence is irrefutable, and every bloody Sunday (and Monday and Thursday) it becomes a little harder not to cringe with each collision. But if you’re a guy like former star linebacker Fred McNeill who’s living with the effects of those hits, the question is: How can we keep watching the game—and how can we keep asking our kids to play it?
Best American Magazine Writing 2008
Columbia University Press 2008 ISBN 0231147147
The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 is an essential guide to the year’s most entertaining, politically charged, and sophisticated essays. With pieces first published in The Nation, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker, among other leading publications, this anthology illuminates the most compelling issues of the past year and points to the topics that will concern us in the next. Chosen from among the winners and finalists of the 2008 National Magazine Awards, these articles span an eclectic range, from a chilling account of the CIA’s secret interrogation program to a humorous look at the absurdities of modern medicine, from a scathing critique of America’s activities in Iraq to an acid takedown of snark culture. The anthology also includes Jeanne Marie Laskas’ poignant story about American coal mining; Matthew Scully’s fascinating peek inside the making of the George W.Bush presidency; Walter Kirn’s surprising report on the mental effects of multitasking; Steve Oney’s investigation into the unforeseen casualties of the Iraq War; Christopher Hitchens’s frank assessment of the relationship between illicit sex and politics; Matt Taibbi’s award-winning profile of Barack Obama; Peter Hessler’s tour of China’s instant cities; Caitlin Flanagan’s flirtation with the online escapades of minors; Kurt Andersen’s meditation on American greed; and Evan Wright’s absorbing account of Hollywood’s oddest comeback. The Best American Magazine Writing 2008 showcases the unparalleled work of our greatest writers and critics.