Even though I mostly write novels and plays, I have to confess that most of my favorite contemporary writers are non-fiction writers. People like Jon Krakauer, Michael Pollan, and Michael Lewis, among others. Michael Lewis has an article in this past Sunday's NYTimes Sunday magazine, Money (Basket) Ball!, which is a perfect example of what I like about Lewis and his writing. Instead of merely doing a personal profile about an unsung hero on the basketball court, instead Lewis looks at what it is about this particular player (Shane Battier) that makes him unusually effective, and how some very smart people are starting to figure that out. At the same time, he does end up probing inside what makes Battier tick, and makes you maybe get a little eager for the book that might spring up around this (though maybe it won't, since Lewis has already done Moneyball around baseball). Lewis is able to write a sports article that's about more than sports, without needing it to be a sentimental piece of schmaltz either. (I loved his book, The Blind Side, which is about a lot more than football and left guards.)
It's the kind of article that makes me think, man, I wish I could write like that.