Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Five notable books on Las Vegas

Matthew O'Brien is an author and journalist who's lived in Las Vegas since 1997. His first book, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, chronicles his adventures in the city's underground flood channels. His second book, My Week at the Blue Angel: And Other Stories from the Storm Drains, Strip Clubs, and Trailer Parks of Las Vegas, is a creative-nonfiction collection set in off-the-beaten-path Vegas.

One of five notable books about Las Vegas he discussed with Eve Gerber at The Browser:
Lay the Favorite
by Beth Raymer

Let’s talk about today’s Las Vegas as captured by Beth Raymer in her 2010 memoir, Lay the Favorite. What is it about?

It’s about a young girl who moves out here with her boyfriend. Then they break up and she’s in need of work and unsure what to do, and she comes across a job opportunity as an assistant to a sports bettor. It’s about her experiences in this male dominated sports betting world.

Is sports betting an important part of the overall gambling industry in Nevada? I know it’s one of the few American states where sports betting is legal.

It’s not considered one of the main types of gambling out here. A lot of money is made off baccarat, roulette, slots, craps, and blackjack. A sports book is a side attraction for tourists. People place bets but don’t drop a lot of money. The books do pretty well but not nearly as well as the slots and table games.

Raymer tells such a crackerjack of a story that her memoir has already been turned into a film by Stephen Frears. What recommends the written account over waiting to see the story in theatres?

You’re getting a female take on a male-dominated world. Raymer writes with a great sense of humour – there are tons of memorable one-liners.
Read about the other books O'Brien tagged at The Browser.

--Marshal Zeringue