What's better than a week at a rented house near the beach?
A rented house near the beach chock full of magazines.
The grownups passed around back issues of Harper's and The Sunday New York Times Magazine. Liam and Ronan were fascinated by the 3-D cover of the 1000th issue of Rolling Stone. A single copy of InStyle magazine was there to help us "cleanse the palate," and keep us up to date on Jennifer Anniston's New Year's Resolutions.
But the best article I found was in the May 2006 of The Atlantic Monthly. It's a glorious article on the world's top competitors in the International Federation of Competitive Eating, excerpted from Jason Fagone's book, Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream.
The offbeat subject drew me in. The writing hooked me. Fagone knows how to tell a story, and it helps that the IFOCE promoters are great showmen. The final page of the article online captures the amazing drama of the 2001 Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest.