Insight and Books


‘The Good Daughter’ uses horrific violence to evoke pity and terror

“The Good Daughter,” Karin Slaughter’s latest break from the punishing travails of Dr. Sara Linton and Will Trent (“The Kept Woman,” 2016, etc.), uses a school shooting to reunite two sisters who’ve had compelling reasons for avoiding each other in the years since their own childhood horrors. Twenty-eight years ago, two masked men broke into attorney Rusty Quinn&rsquo...
Debbie Macomber, Ernest Cline top best-sellers lists

Debbie Macomber, Ernest Cline top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Any Dream Will Do,’ Debbie Macomber 2. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 3. ‘The Late Show,’ Michael Connelly 4. ‘The Lying Game,’ Ruth Ware 5. ‘Barely Legal,’ Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall 6. ‘The Last Tudor,’ Philippa Gregory 7. ‘The Good Daughter,’ Karin Slaughter 8. ‘A...
Have you ever met a cookbook author with her own action figure?

Have you ever met a cookbook author with her own action figure?

If there’s anybody breaking the cookbook mold in a more creative way than Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, I’ve yet to find them. This Michelle Tam action figure came out around the launch of their first book. Contributed by Michelle Tam The creators of Nom Nom Paleo have published several comic book-inspired cookbooks that are bursting with energy and enthusiasm for the craft...
Michael Corcoran takes Texas music ‘All Over the Map’

Michael Corcoran takes Texas music ‘All Over the Map’

It started with wanting to correct the record. In 2005, the University of Texas Press published “All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music” by journalist Michael Corcoran as part of its Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture. And it’s not bad; it’s essentially a collection of newspaper pieces without a tremendous amount of background research...
Expand the mind this school year with these new books

Expand the mind this school year with these new books

You could meet the forerunner of today’s bodybuilders. Explore an uncharted land of monsters. Plug in to high-tech high jinks with a team of girls who code. With just a few days left until the school bell rings in most Central Texas districts — and the return to homework looms — try rethinking what “reading to learn” means. What if it simply meant delving into topics...
Commentary: The Ex Games — A millennial’s take on why we ‘ghost’

Commentary: The Ex Games — A millennial’s take on why we ‘ghost’

I grew up fully believing in ghosts. I spent a lot of time in middle school convincing my friends to construct Ouija boards out of old cereal boxes. I dabbled in episodes of “Ghost Adventurers” for longer than I’d like to admit. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that “ghosts” have continued on to be a full-fledged part of my adult life, though the shock is unwavering...
Why are people still racist? What science says about our race problem

Why are people still racist? What science says about our race problem

Torch-bearing white supremacists shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Protesters and counter protesters colliding with violence and chaos. A car driven by a known Nazi sympathizer mowing down a crowd of activists. Many Americans responded to violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, with disbelieving horror. How could this happen in America, in 2017? “This is not who we are,” said Virginia...
The case of the missing Pilot Knob historical marker

The case of the missing Pilot Knob historical marker

Have you seen this marker lately? Reader Jim Christianson noticed that one of most elaborate Texas Historical Markers in the area was missing from U.S 183 South near Creedmoor Road. “It has been missing for at least two years, maybe more,” he writes. “It is a geological marker for Pilot Knob. Hundreds of University of Texas students who took geology have been taken to Pilot Knob...
Books that authors read to their own children

Books that authors read to their own children

Reading picture books aloud is a tradition in many homes. The other tradition? Kids who pick out the same books over and over again. Sometimes, we need a recommendation or two to mix it up. Here, we asked best-selling authors and illustrators to tell us what they like or liked to read to their young children. Read on for some lesser-known gems that will keep both the reader and audience enchanted...
Austin music history and more at book events this week

Austin music history and more at book events this week

Book events this week Renee Casteel Cook and Tiffany Harelik. 7 p.m. Wednesday. The cookbook authors speak and sign “Best of Trailer Food Diaries.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. John Corvino. 7 p.m. Thursday. The co-author speaks and signs “Debating Religious Liberty & Discrimination.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Chin-In Chen. 7 p.m. Friday. The poet speaks and signs &ldquo...
Tal M. Klein’s ‘The Punch Escrow’ an excellent debut

Tal M. Klein’s ‘The Punch Escrow’ an excellent debut

In Tal M. Klein’s “The Punch Escrow,” a man fights for his wife and his lives after he’s duplicated in a transporter malfunction. In 2147, the Last War ended half a century ago. Now the world is run mostly by corporations, which provide basic needs and run the global economy with the help of nanotechnology, which, among other advancements, has made human teleportation possible...
Michael Connelly, Ruth Ware top best-sellers lists

Michael Connelly, Ruth Ware top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Late Show,’ Michael Connelly 2. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 3. ‘The Lying Game,’ Ruth Ware 4. ‘House of Spies,’ Daniel Silva 5. ‘Paradise Valley,’ C.J. Box 6. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 7. ‘A Gentleman in Moscow,’ Amor Towles 8. ‘Mrs. Fletcher,’ Tom Perrotta...
Creamy poached egg tops this weeknight carbonara from Fabio Viviani

Creamy poached egg tops this weeknight carbonara from Fabio Viviani

Pasta with a heavy red sauce doesn’t sound as appealing in the summer as in the winter, but it’s still nice to have pasta night once in a while. Carbonara isn’t traditionally made with heavy cream, but that’s an ingredient “Top Chef” favorite Fabio Viviani uses in this linguine with guanciale. Contributed by Matt Armendariz It’s...
Map shows ‘most famous’ book set in every state

Map shows ‘most famous’ book set in every state

Alabama and “To Kill A Mockingbird” go hand in hand. Same with Alaska and “Into the Wild.” And Texas? A list by Business Insider from last year sought to designate the “most famous” book set in each state, and many of the pairings are exactly what you’d anticipate. According to the map Texas’ most famous novel is “No Country for...

Breezy Texas books to round out the summer

Texas birds, Texas musicians, Texas media stars, Texas festivals and a guide to the Texas Capitol stack up on our state shelves this week. “Book of Texas Birds.” Gary Clark with photographs by Kathy Adams Clark. Texas A&M Press. For some of us, there are never too many Texas bird books. This one might not fit as easily into a backpack as some of the more traditional guides — not...
Check out your favorite authors at this week’s book readings

Check out your favorite authors at this week’s book readings

Jill Griffin. 7 p.m. Monday. The nonfiction writer speaks and signs “Women Make Great Leaders: Real-World Lessons to Accelerate Your Climb.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Liv Hadden. 7 p.m. Tuesday. The local author speaks and signs “The Adventures of Juice Box and Shame.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Claude Lalumière. 7 p.m. Wednesday. The speculative fiction author...
Thousands flocked to see Liberty Bell in Austin during World War I

Thousands flocked to see Liberty Bell in Austin during World War I

On Nov. 17, 1915, the Liberty Bell landed in Austin for 40 minutes. An estimated 18,000 people viewed it at the Missouri, Kansas & Texas freight depot at East Fourth and Brazos streets. The occasion was a national tour of the famously cracked Revolutionary War bell. Austin history advocate Bob Ward got curious about the road tour when he read “How the Liberty Bell won the Great War,” an...
World-building defects impede Chandler Baker’s ‘This Is Not the End’

World-building defects impede Chandler Baker’s ‘This Is Not the End’

Lake Devereaux, 17, lost two beloved friends in a horrific accident, but she’s permitted to resurrect just one person, an agonizing choice complicated by a promise made years earlier, in Chandler Baker’s “This Is Not the End.” Medical breakthroughs have made human resurrection possible. Regulations for population control provide that on their 18th birthday, each teen may elect...
Michael Connelly, Owen Egerton top best-sellers lists

Michael Connelly, Owen Egerton top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Late Show,’ Michael Connelly 2. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 3. ‘The Lying Game,’ Ruth Ware 4. ‘Paradise Valley,’ C.J. Box 5. ‘House of Spies,’ Daniel Silva 6. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 7. ‘The Painted Queen,’ Elizabeth Peters and Joan Hess 8. ‘A Gentleman in...
Commentary: Have questions about Islam? Let’s talk about them

Commentary: Have questions about Islam? Let’s talk about them

Courage is facing fear head on. One does not have to go through heroic situations to show courage; it can be found in the simple everyday actions. In this day and age, when the words “Islam” and “terrorism” have unfortunately become synonymous, I had a unique opportunity to talk to a group of women who wanted to learn about the truth of Islam directly from a Muslim. Despite...
East Austin’s Coach Wilson and the call of a lifetime

East Austin’s Coach Wilson and the call of a lifetime

James “Coach” Wilson settled into his head linesman position along the Colorado Buffaloes sideline that January night, straddling the 47-yard line and patrolling the scrimmage line as the CU punter asked for the snap. It was the 1991 Orange Bowl in Miami, and Wilson was about to make the officiating call of a lifetime. Notre Dame’s star, Raghib “Rocket” Ismail waited...
A first look at ‘The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas’

A first look at ‘The Austin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from Deep in the Heart of Texas’

It’s about time for another Austin-centric cookbook. The Live Music Capital of the World has had plenty of cookbooks over the years, including a community cookbook from “Austin City Limits” and a republishing of Austin’s first cookbook, but it’s been a few years since we’ve had a book to reflect the history and current state of our food...
Preview a tantalizing chapter from a major history of Texas

Preview a tantalizing chapter from a major history of Texas

In 2013, the University of Texas Press announced an ambitious $1 million, 16-book project and accompanying website called the Texas Bookshelf. To be written by UT faculty, it is meant to explain the state’s culture and history in a comprehensive manner. Four years later, the project has produced its first pearl, “They Came From the Sky: The Spanish Arrive in Texas,” a handsomely...
Mayim Bialik, Marie Lu coming to Texas Teen Book Festival in October

Mayim Bialik, Marie Lu coming to Texas Teen Book Festival in October

Who is ready to see America’s favorite actress/author/girl nerd or the author of “The Young Elites” and “Legends” series? Mayim Bialik (which parents will remember from “Blossom” and kids know as Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend in “The Big Bang Theory) will be at the Texas Teen Book Festival Oct. 7 talking about her book “Girling Up: How to be...
Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush will appear at the 2017 Texas Book Festival

Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush will appear at the 2017 Texas Book Festival

The 2017 Texas Book Festival will kick off Nov. 4 with a special session featuring Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush on their Sisters First tour. According to TBF, “Jenna and Barbara will share never-before-told stories about their family, their adventures, their loves and losses, and the special sisterly bond that ties them together.”   Book Tickets for this session will be...
McConaughey, music and a trip back to camp

McConaughey, music and a trip back to camp

Here are some of the best and highest-profile new releases in music, movies, TV and more on the horizon in August. As always, dates are subject to change without notice. 1. “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” (Netflix) Look, it could be not so great. I fully acknowledge this. But I also submit that “Wet Hot American Summer” finally getting its due over the past few years...
After Trump speech, Boy Scouts say they’re ‘wholly nonpartisan’

After Trump speech, Boy Scouts say they’re ‘wholly nonpartisan’

A barrage of political remarks by President Donald Trump delivered Monday to the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in West Virginia has enraged many parents and former Scouts, thrusting the Scouts once again into the middle of the nation’s culture wars and providing yet another example of the unusual and polarizing nature of the Trump presidency. The Scouts, plainly sensing a new threat...
A look at two incredible baseball streaks

A look at two incredible baseball streaks

Recommended reading “The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Baseball’s Most Historic Record” by John Eisenberg (Houghton Mifflin). Lou Gehrig’s 2,130 consecutive games played was once called unbreakable … until Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. broke it Sept. 6, 1995, and retired in 1998 with an jaw-dropping 2,632. (Gehrig, known as the Iron Man, died...
Daniel Silva revisits global terror networks in ‘House of Spies’

Daniel Silva revisits global terror networks in ‘House of Spies’

Gabriel Allon is back in the field in “House of Spies.” Well, that didn’t take long. By the end of Daniel Silva’s “Black Widow,” spy Gabriel Allon had finally agreed to become chief of Israel’s intelligence services. All it takes is a terrorist attack on London’s West End — and a whisper that Allon’s current nemesis was the mastermind behind...
Michael Connelly, William McRaven top best-sellers lists

Michael Connelly, William McRaven top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Late Show,’ Michael Connelly 2. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 3. ‘House of Spies,’ Daniel Silva 4. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 5. ‘Murder Games,’ James Patterson and Howard Roughan 6. ‘The Identicals,’ Elin Hilderbrand 7. ‘A Gentleman in Moscow,’ Amor Towles 8. &lsquo...
Mayim Bialik, Marie Lu coming to Texas Teen Book Festival in October

Mayim Bialik, Marie Lu coming to Texas Teen Book Festival in October

Who is ready to see America’s favorite actress/author/girl nerd or the author of “The Young Elites” and “Legends” series? Mayim Bialik (which parents will remember from “Blossom” and kids know as Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend in “The Big Bang Theory) will be at the Texas Teen Book Festival Oct. 7 talking about her book &ldquo...
U.S. civilians are in Syria fighting alongside local forces

U.S. civilians are in Syria fighting alongside local forces

The heavily armed fighters peered out of a broken second-story window at their outpost in a crumbling house on the western edge of this shell-shocked city, where the Islamic State is fighting a furious battle to hold on to the capital of its self-declared caliphate. They ducked to avoid snipers camped in nearby high-rise apartments. Armed drones hovered nearby. Just before 2 p.m. came the crack of...
‘No Jab, No Play’: How Australia is handling the vaccination debate

‘No Jab, No Play’: How Australia is handling the vaccination debate

This much is clear: Australia’s strict vaccination laws are working — and they’re set to become even stricter. The state of South Australia has introduced legislation that would ban the enrollment of unvaccinated children in preschool and child care centers. The proposal would set fines of up to 30,000 Australian dollars — about $24,000 in the U.S. — on centers that admit...
Commentary: Why the ‘genius’ of South Terminal works for millennials

Commentary: Why the ‘genius’ of South Terminal works for millennials

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of heading home to Cincinnati on the Allegiant nonstop flight out of the South Terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. My experience heading home included a ticketing agent being cussed at by a passenger who had no clue how to get to the new terminal; a nonexistent TSA PreCheck (oh, the agony!); and a crying baby during the entire flight. These are...
Best Texas books to read right now

Best Texas books to read right now

Texas birds, Texas musicians, Texas media stars, Texas festivals and a guide to the Texas Capitol stack up on our state shelves this week. “Book of Texas Birds.” Gary Clark with photographs by Kathy Adams Clark. Texas A&M Press. For some of us, there are never too many Texas bird books. This one might not fit as easily into a backpack as snugly some of the more...
The Longhorn Olympian you don’t know

The Longhorn Olympian you don’t know

On May 5, Olympic swimmer Adolph Gustav Kiefer, who attended the University of Texas in 1939, died at age 98. Before coming to Austin, the backstroker won the gold medal in the 100-meter contest during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. You read that right: The Berlin games. His Olympic record stood for 20 years. There, he befriended Jesse Owens, who undermined Adolph Hitler’s goal of showcasing Aryan...
Daniel Silva, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best-sellers lists

Daniel Silva, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘House of Spies,’ Daniel Silva 2. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 3. ‘Murder Games,’ James Patterson and Howard Roughan 4. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 5. ‘Use of Force,’ Brad Thor 6. ‘The Identicals,’ Elin Hilderbrand 7. ‘The Duchess,’ Danielle Steel 8. ‘A Gentleman in...
Austin’s Cory Putman Oakes gives teens who need some magic ‘Witchtown’

Austin’s Cory Putman Oakes gives teens who need some magic ‘Witchtown’

Macie O’Sullivan has more secrets than most — or so she thinks. Macie and her mother, Aubra, live in a world where witches have gathered in Havens to foster community and protect themselves from outsiders. Aubra is a prized Natural — a sorceress born with powers — and thus favored over the Learneds, who must study magical ways in order to cast spells. Macie, though, is a Void...
Owen Egerton’s ‘Hollow’ explores suffering, Austin and the hollow Earth

Owen Egerton’s ‘Hollow’ explores suffering, Austin and the hollow Earth

Owen Egerton would like to see the city of Austin decide to end homelessness. “I absolutely think we could do it,” Egerton said. The novelist, volunteer, screenwriter, director, husband, father, event and podcast host and ongoing hardest working man in Austin entertainment and cultural production is discussing “Hollow,” his new novel. “Hollow” is about Oliver, a...
10 things to do with kids before school starts to make them smarter (or at least avoid summer brain drain)

10 things to do with kids before school starts to make them smarter (or at least avoid summer brain drain)

My kids might be becoming less and less intelligent with each second this summer. They’ve been doing a lot of mindless YouTube watching. Pick up a book? Are you kidding, Mom? Go out and play? Forget it. They are experiencing the summer brain drain … those three months of the year when the things they learned in school slowly leave their brains. In the mid-1990s...
Vice President Joe Biden coming to Austin Dec. 8

Vice President Joe Biden coming to Austin Dec. 8

Vice President Joe Biden will stop by the Paramount Theater in Austin Dec. 8 for part of his “American Promise Tour,” a series of conversations. Vice President Biden will discuss the big political moments of his career, the life-altering choices he made, and the key traits that have helped him persevere through challenges and live with purpose. Tickets to the American Promise Tour...
Author explores rapid changes in national parks with ‘The Hour of Land’

Author explores rapid changes in national parks with ‘The Hour of Land’

In commemoration of the centennial of the National Park Service, Terry Tempest Williams (“When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice”) explores 12 diverse parks in “The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks.” There are few contemporary nonfiction writers who can capture the essence of the American wilderness landscape as eloquently...
Ruth Ware, John Grisham top best-sellers lists

Ruth Ware, John Grisham top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 2. ‘Murder Games,’ James Patterson and Howard Roughan 3. ‘Use of Force,’ Brad Thor 4. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 5. ‘The Duchess,’ Danielle Steel 6. ‘The Identicals,’ Elin Hilderbrand 7. ‘Wired,’ Julie Garwood 8. ‘A Gentleman in Moscow...
Fellow deportees aid traumatized arrivals in Mexico

Fellow deportees aid traumatized arrivals in Mexico

The sliding doors opened, and suddenly Roger Perez was back in Mexico. Spanish boomed over the airport loudspeaker, and men swaggered past in dusty boots and cowboy hats. Thanks to U.S. immigration authorities, Perez, 21, had been trapped on a plane for hours with his wrists and ankles shackled. Now, he was a free man. But as a deportee to a country he hadn’t seen since he left as a young child...
Anne Helen Petersen will be at BookPeople to talk celebrity women

Anne Helen Petersen will be at BookPeople to talk celebrity women

“Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman” by Anne Helen Petersen (Plume). In “Too Fat…,” Petersen, a columnist for BuzzFeed, examines celebrity women who are considered just a tad extra —see also the title as well as too tough, too icky, too gay and just too, too much for cultural gatekeepers to discuss without the word “problematic&rdquo...
Relax with these summer reads about Texas

Relax with these summer reads about Texas

By opening new books, we’ve learned more about the Nueces River, Texas birding, a standout West Texas congressman, the King Ranch and Texas swimming holes. “The Nueces River: Rio Escondido.” Margie Crisp with artwork by William B. Montgomery. Texas A&M Press. Much admired Texas artist and naturalist Margie Crisp made quite a splash with her award-winning “River of Contrasts...
Trump supporters have a new MAGA anthem — and it came from Texas

Trump supporters have a new MAGA anthem — and it came from Texas

On July 1, a church choir and orchestra from Texas performed a song for an audience that included President Donald Trump. It was called “Make America Great Again,” a nod to the campaign slogan that helped propel Trump to the presidency. It was part of the “Celebrate Freedom” concert, to honor veterans, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Trump...
How to make one big Italian deli sandwich to feed your hiking crew

How to make one big Italian deli sandwich to feed your hiking crew

Some people wouldn’t call 100 degrees picnic weather. I don’t call that picnic weather either, but even though it’s the hottest time of the year, I’m still making sandwiches to take on hiking, camping and swimming adventures. If you need to make a bunch of sandwiches, you can make one big sandwich and then cut it into slices, like this Italian deli-inspired ...
Sam Shepard is the coolest honorary Texan of all time

Sam Shepard is the coolest honorary Texan of all time

If there is such a thing as the ultimate honorary Texan, well, we could all do a lot worse than Sam Shepard. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright,  Oscar-nominated actor, author and embodiment of a singular kind of American Western intellectual masculinity has died at the age of 73 from complications of Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Seriously, every MFA program...
Texas A&M is apparently home to a massive archive of ‘Game of Thrones’ memorabilia

Texas A&M is apparently home to a massive archive of ‘Game of Thrones’ memorabilia

It’s called “the Wall” (apparently) but a better name might be the Citadel. As pointed out by Texas Hill Country via Texas A&M today, the Texas A&M University Cushing Memorial Library holds George R.R. Martin’s literary archive, which includes: “Nearly anything from ‘Game of Thrones’ – swords, correspondence between publishers and showrunners...
An otherworldly adventure, a powerful memoir and more in books

An otherworldly adventure, a powerful memoir and more in books

Recommended reading “The Hike” by Drew Magary (Viking). We are not usually in the habit of discussing paperback releases of books formerly in hardcover, but exceptions can be made now and then. You may remember the great Drew Magary from spectacular contributions to such magazines as GQ and Deadspin. Here, he chronicles an adventure in the life of a man named Ben, a 38-year-old Maryland...
Texan Victor Emanuel offers charming narrative in ‘One More Warbler’

Texan Victor Emanuel offers charming narrative in ‘One More Warbler’

One of the world’s foremost birders reflects on his life in nature, which has always “kept me young through a sense of wonder,” in “One More Warbler.” Victor Emanuel has spent his entire life observing birds, beginning with his childhood in Houston, when, “like some boys, I was interested in just about anything that was alive — birds, butterflies, crayfish...
John Grisham, Roxane Gay top best-sellers lists

John Grisham, Roxane Gay top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 2. ‘Murder Games,’ James Patterson and Howard Roughan 3. ‘Use of Force,’ Brad Thor 4. ‘The Duchess,’ Danielle Steel 5. ‘Seven Stones to Stand or Fall,’ Diana Gabaldon 6. ‘The Identicals,’ Elin Hilderbrand 7. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 8. &lsquo...
Neil Gaiman will decide what he’ll read at show when he gets to Austin

Neil Gaiman will decide what he’ll read at show when he gets to Austin

Neil Gaiman isn’t afraid to let things get dark. He never has been. His writing has a way of working its way into you and sticking there, of making you feel uncomfortable and perhaps a little sad, but like you’re a better person for having read it, or maybe you can at least understand the world a little better. That’s how his last appearance in Austin felt. Walking out of the Long...
Roxane Gay confronts her ‘ugliest, weakest, barest parts’ in new memoir

Roxane Gay confronts her ‘ugliest, weakest, barest parts’ in new memoir

“Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” by Roxane Gay is a heart-rending debut memoir from the outspoken feminist and essayist. Gay (“Bad Feminist”) pulls no punches in declaring that her story is devoid of “any powerful insight into what it takes to overcome an unruly body and unruly appetites.” Rather than a success story, it depicts the author, at 42, still in the throes...
John Grisham, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best-sellers lists

John Grisham, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 2. ‘The Silent Corner,’ Dean Koontz 3. ‘The Identicals,’ Elin Hilderbrand 4. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 5. ‘Dangerous Minds,’ Janet Evanovich 6. ‘Tom Clancy: Point of Contact,’ Mike Maden 7. ‘Kiss Carlo,’ Adriana Trigiani 8. ‘Dragon Teeth...
Best-sellers, 6/25/17

Best-sellers, 6/25/17

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 2. ‘The Identicals,’ Elin Hilderbrand 3. ‘Tom Clancy: Point of Contact,’ Mike Maden 4. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 5. ‘Dragon Teeth,’ Michael Crichton 6. ‘Come Sundown,’ Nora Roberts 7. ‘No Middle Name,’ Lee Child 8. ‘Nighthawk,’ Clive...
Austin writer’s 13th book inspired by the Zodiac Killer

Austin writer’s 13th book inspired by the Zodiac Killer

Recommended reading “Unsub” by Meg Gardiner (Dutton). The Austin writer and California native’s 13th book was inspired by the Zodiac Killer, whose as-yet unsolved (and unlikely to be solved) reign of terror became the stuff of legend, inspiring films from the first Dirty Harry movie to David Fincher’s still-amazing “Zodiac,” not to mention a host of...
Erin Pringle explores grief in wrenching new collection

Erin Pringle explores grief in wrenching new collection

Erin Pringle (“The Floating Order,” 2009) works nine variations on the theme of grief in the wrenching stories of her second collection, “The Whole World at Once.” Her protagonists, often children and often unnamed, live lonely days in the small towns or isolated farmhouses of the upper Midwest, flattened by heat in the summer and risking death from exposure in the winter....
Celebrate the most important meal of the day at BookPeople

Celebrate the most important meal of the day at BookPeople

Book events this week Amelia Gray. 7 p.m. Monday. The novelist speaks and signs “Isadora.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Edie Jarolim. 7 p.m. Tuesday. The memoirist speaks and signs “Getting Naked for Money: Travel Memoir.” BookWoman, 5501 N. Lamar Blvd. A-105. Samantha Irby. 7 p.m. Tuesday. The essayist speaks and signs “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.” BookPeople...
Need a reading suggestion? See what books are hot sellers this week

Need a reading suggestion? See what books are hot sellers this week

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Come Sundown,’ Nora Roberts 2. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 3. ‘Dragon Teeth,’ Michael Crichton 4. ‘Nighthawk,’ Clive Cussler and Graham Brown 5. ‘No Middle Name,’ Lee Child 6. ‘Beren and Luthien,’ J.R.R. Tolkien 7. ‘16th Seduction,’ James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 8. &lsquo...
Authors Amelia Gray, Samantha Irby will be at BookPeople this week

Authors Amelia Gray, Samantha Irby will be at BookPeople this week

“Isadora” by Amelia Gray is captivating historical fiction from the award-winning author of “Threats” (2012) and “Museum of the Weird” (2010). As the “mother of modern dance,” Isadora Duncan pioneered a style of movement that released the body from the rigid discipline of ballet. Her choreography favored free-flowing movements designed to seem more like...
Your favorite writers reveal their summer reading lists

Your favorite writers reveal their summer reading lists

Finally, a chance to stop checking Twitter and open a book — for pleasure. But what to read? For a little help, we asked some popular authors: What are you planning to read this summer, and why? Ann Patchett, author, most recently, of “Commonwealth”: I’ll want a book that’s thrilling and artful, a true page turner that will leave me feeling smart, so I’ll read Maile...
Writer Thomas E. Ricks explores Churchill and Orwell in dual biography

Writer Thomas E. Ricks explores Churchill and Orwell in dual biography

“Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom” by Thomas E. Ricks is a joint biography of two men who “led the way, politically and intellectually, in responding to the twin totalitarian threats of fascism and communism” in the mid-20th century. As dual biographies pour off the presses, authors stretch to find a suitable pair. That includes Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist...
Delve into the history of some of the least cool pop music ever made

Delve into the history of some of the least cool pop music ever made

Recommended reading “The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock” by Dave Weigel (Norton). When hard news journalists engage in arts criticism or cultural history, it usually ends badly (or at least boringly) for both reader and writer. An exception can be made for Washington Post political reporter Dave Weigel, who throws himself into this straightforward...
Paula Hawkins, Lee Child, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best seller list

Paula Hawkins, Lee Child, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best seller list

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 2. ‘Dragon Teeth,’ Michael Crichton 3. ‘No Middle Name,’ Lee Child 4. ‘16th Seduction,’ James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 5. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 6. ‘Same Beach, Next Year,’ Dorothea Benton Frank 7. ‘Testimony,’ Scott Turow 8. ‘The Frozen...
David Sedaris is 60 and ready to look back — again

David Sedaris is 60 and ready to look back — again

“I think I peaked in 1988, and it’s all downhill now. How awful, to decline this way. What makes young people young is that they see themselves going up, up, up. Not me, though. I’m old now.” — David Sedaris, Jan. 13, 1992 NEW YORK - The diary entry above was written when Sedaris was 35, 11 months before he ever appeared on National Public Radio. Two years before his...
Alison Macor’s ‘Rewrite Man’ celebrates the great Warren Skaaren

Alison Macor’s ‘Rewrite Man’ celebrates the great Warren Skaaren

Patton Oswalt has a bit about his lack of interest in movies with vague titles such as “Something’s Gotta Give” and how “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” might be the best movie title of all time as it tells you exactly what is going on. And he’s correct. Which is to say that if the late Austin screenwriter Warren Skaaren had done nothing else but come up with the...
Paula Hawkins tops best-sellers in Austin, nationally

Paula Hawkins tops best-sellers in Austin, nationally

BEST-SELLERS NEW YORK TIMES FICTION 1. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 2. ‘Dragon Teeth,’ Michael Crichton 3. ‘No Middle Name,’ Lee Child 4. ‘16th Seduction,’ James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 5. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 6. ‘Same Beach, Next Year,’ Dorothea Benton Frank 7. ‘Testimony,’ Scott Turow 8. ‘The Frozen...
Need a good book recommendation? Try these best-sellers

Need a good book recommendation? Try these best-sellers

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 2. ‘16th Seduction,’ James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 3. ‘Against All Odds,’ Danielle Steel 4. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 5. ‘Golden Prey,’ John Sandford 6. ‘The Thirst,’ Jo Nesbo 7. ‘Since We Fell,’ Dennis Lehane 8. ‘Men Without Women,&rsquo...
Read about the rebirth of rock ‘n’ roll in New York

Read about the rebirth of rock ‘n’ roll in New York

Recommended reading “Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011” by Lizzy Goodman (Dey Street). By the 1990s, indie rock in general (and major label rock even more so) seemed like a spent bullet. So imagine the thrill to be in New York City, one of the world’s most reliable cultural capitals, in the early 2000s when young rock bands (be they using...
Alison Weir continues historical series with the story of Anne Boleyn

Alison Weir continues historical series with the story of Anne Boleyn

A notorious Tudor queen is sympathetically imagined in “Anne Boleyn, a King’s Obsession” by Alison Weir. Weir (“Katherine of Aragon,” 2016, etc.), prolific Tudor historian, biographer and novelist, offers the second volume in her fictional series about Henry VIII’s six wives, focusing on the outspoken, doomed Anne Boleyn. Anne is certainly the most famous of those...
Step into the sci-fi world of “Borne”

Step into the sci-fi world of “Borne”

Recommended reading “Borne: A Novel” By Jeff VanderMeer (MCD). In the highly anticipated follow-up his outstanding Southern Reach trilogy, VanderMeer explores the story of Rachel, a scavenger in a dead, filthy city once dominated by a collapsed biotech corporation called the Company, a group which has released all sorts of terrifying creatures into the city. Rachel adopts a being called...
Neil deGrasse Tyson tops best-seller lists in Austin, nationally

Neil deGrasse Tyson tops best-seller lists in Austin, nationally

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘16th Seduction,’ James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 2. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 3. ‘Against All Odds,’ Danielle Steel 4. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 5. ‘Golden Prey,’ John Sandford 6. ‘The Broken Road,’ Richard Paul Evans 7. ‘The Black Book,’ James Patterson and David Ellis...
Doree Shafrir unpacks ‘Startup’ culture

Doree Shafrir unpacks ‘Startup’ culture

“They don’t work for money anymore, but to earn a place in Heaven, which is a big motivating factor once upon a time, believe you me. They’re working and inventing because they like it … they don’t seem to see the difference between working, and not working. It’s all become a part of one’s life.” — Spalding Gray’s character in “True...
James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Paula Hawkins among best-sellers

James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Paula Hawkins among best-sellers

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘16th Seduction,’ James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 2. ‘Into the Water,’ Paula Hawkins 3. ‘Against All Odds,’ Danielle Steel 4. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 5. ‘Golden Prey,’ John Sandford 6. ‘The Broken Road,’ Richard Paul Evans 7. ‘The Black Book,’ James Patterson and David Ellis...
A look at best-selling works from Caitlyn Jenner and Elizabeth Strout

A look at best-selling works from Caitlyn Jenner and Elizabeth Strout

“The Secrets of My Life” by Caitlyn Jenner and Buzz Bissinger is a rugged tale of brute beauty and pyrrhic individualism. When Bruce Jenner took his iconic victory lap around Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on July 30, 1976, he invited the world to witness the zenith of his triumphant transformation from talented small-town athlete to Superman-like decathlete for the ages. Fast-forward...
Book chronicles musicians from all over the Lone Star State

Book chronicles musicians from all over the Lone Star State

Recommended reading “All Over The Map: True Heroes of Texas Music” by Michael Corcoran (UNT Press). Former Statesman music reporter Michael Corcoran has moved smoothly from daily chronicler of the ins-and-outs of Austin music (a job he did for both the Statesman and the Austin Chronicle) to freelance historian of sorts. He combine both disciplines in this new edition of his book, which...
Cory Doctorow explores the world of tomorrow in ‘Walkaway’

Cory Doctorow explores the world of tomorrow in ‘Walkaway’

Cory Doctorow (“Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free”) offers a counterintuitive alternate (possible?) future in “Walkaway,” a gritty yet hopeful sci-fi epic. Inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s “A Paradise Built in Hell” (2009), Doctorow offers meticulous world-building and philosophizing about how the world just around the corner might be. In an age of makers...
Cheating death and the end of society as we know it in ‘Walkaway’

Cheating death and the end of society as we know it in ‘Walkaway’

Recommended reading “Walkaway” by Cory Doctorow (Tor). The co-editor of “Boing Boing” delivers his first novel for adults in some time (his YA fiction is terrific). In “Walkaway,” modern society has called it quits, more or less. So the rich have gotten even richer, and everyone else is just sort of getting by. The planet may be a mess, but it is also...
Looking for a good book to read? Check out this list

Looking for a good book to read? Check out this list

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 2. ‘The Black Book,’ James Patterson and David Ellis 3. ‘Fast and Loose,’ Stuart Woods 4. ‘Thrawn,’ Timothy Zahn 5. ‘All by Myself, Alone,’ Mary Higgins Clark 6. ‘Norse Mythology,’ Neil Gaiman 7. ‘The Women in the Castle,’ Jessica Shattuck 8. ‘Two...
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