Insight and Books


INSIGHT: Fearful of Trump’s America, asylum seekers stream into Canada

Every hour or so, a taxi pulls up at the end of a remote country road in upstate New York and deposits another load of anxious and weary passengers. From here, it is steps across a gully to the Canadian province of Quebec, where police stand ready to arrest anyone who enters illegally. Undeterred, the travelers drag their suitcases across a makeshift dirt bridge, past a sign that declares in French...
Here are your 2017 Kirkus Prize nominees!

Here are your 2017 Kirkus Prize nominees!

Kirkus Reviews announced Tuesday the six finalists for the fourth annual Kirkus Prize in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, and Young Readers’ Literature. Winners in the three categories will each receive $50,000, and will be announced at a special ceremony in Austin on , November 2, two days prior to the start of the Texas Book Festival. This year’s finalists were chosen from 610...
Englander’s ‘Dinner’ weaves fine writing with unsteady tone

Englander’s ‘Dinner’ weaves fine writing with unsteady tone

A prisoner is held for more than a decade in the Israeli desert while, elsewhere, a general in a coma hallucinates about his past life and a young man works to fund the Palestinian resistance in Nathan Englander’s “Dinner at the Center of the Earth.” Englander’s (“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank,” 2012) latest novel is an odd amalgam: part political...
Louise Penny, John le Carré top best-sellers lists

Louise Penny, John le Carré top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘A Legacy of Spies,’ John le Carré 2. ‘Secrets in Death,’ J.D. Robb 3. ‘Enemy of the State,’ Kyle Mills 4. ‘Y Is for Yesterday,’ Sue Grafton 5. ‘Glass Houses,’ Louise Penny 6. ‘The Right Time,’ Danielle Steel 7. ‘The Western Star,’ Craig Johnson 8. ‘Camino Island...
Looks like we have a winner in the 1950 Austin cafe puzzle

Looks like we have a winner in the 1950 Austin cafe puzzle

Almost 15,000 readers so far have doted on the snappy image provided by Lawrence Da Silva and posted on the Austin Found blog. It shows a split-level downtown Austin cafe photographed in 1950 by Neal Douglass. It was marked with a notation: “Manhattan General Hotel Supply.” Initial guesses of the actual cafe ranged from the Picadilly Cafeteria to the Scarbrough’s department store...
Anna ‘Unqualified’ Faris is coming to Austin on her book tour

Anna ‘Unqualified’ Faris is coming to Austin on her book tour

Anna Faris is coming to Austin as part of her book tour for her “Unqualified,” her new memoir spun off from her podcast “Anna Faris is Unqualified.” To promote said item, Faris will be at the Alamo Drafthouse for a live Q&A Oct. 25 after a screening of Faris’s totally great 2008 comedy “The House Bunny.”  A signed copy of the book is included with the...
INSIGHT: How Hurricane Irma shows consumer fleecing is the new normal

INSIGHT: How Hurricane Irma shows consumer fleecing is the new normal

Since Hurricane Irma put Florida in its sights, there have been thousands of reports of price gouging on everything from water to gasoline. The most notable complaint was not, however, the one alleging a $72 charge for a six-pack of water. Rather, it was the $3,200 reportedly asked by Delta for a ticket out of Florida. That’s because it wasn’t actually hurricane-related price gouging....
INSIGHT: Sand is scarce around the world. Vietnam is almost out.

INSIGHT: Sand is scarce around the world. Vietnam is almost out.

When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as we discuss in a just-published perspective in the journal Science, overexploitation of global supplies of sand is damaging the environment, endangering communities, causing shortages and promoting violent conflict. Skyrocketing demand, combined with unfettered...
From politics to prose, meet the authors coming to the Texas Book Festival

From politics to prose, meet the authors coming to the Texas Book Festival

Dan Rather, Jennifer Egan and Jeffrey Eugenides are just a few of the more than 280 authors scheduled to appear Nov. 4 and 5 at the 21st annual Texas Book Festival at the Capitol and surrounding grounds. The festival, which draws about 40,000 people over two days, on Tuesday night announced its full lineup, which includes writers in literary fiction, genre fiction, history, politics, Texana, memoir...
INSIGHT: America’s endless freedom of speech — a German perspective

INSIGHT: America’s endless freedom of speech — a German perspective

“Don’t you want a white supremacist rally to be prohibited?” I asked the organizer of an Austin counterprotest. “No, they have the right to have a rally,” he answered. The pictures from Charlottesville were just a few days old: the car crashing into counterprotesters; armed men shouting Nazi-slogans like “blood and soil”; anti-Semitic and racist propaganda...
Clinton, Robbins and Smith: Five crucial new books in stores now

Clinton, Robbins and Smith: Five crucial new books in stores now

 “What Happened” by Hillary Clinton (Simon & Schuster). We, the people, remain curious ourselves. It’s already a best-seller. (Sept. 12)  “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye: A Lisbeth Salander novel, continuing Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series” by David Lagercrantz (Knopf). Listing this mostly for the title. I am sure the title is really “The Girl...
INSIGHT: Is the new iPhone designed for cybersafety?

INSIGHT: Is the new iPhone designed for cybersafety?

As eager customers meet the new iPhone, they’ll explore the latest installment in Apple’s decade-long drive to make sleeker and sexier phones. But to me as a scholar of cybersecurity, these revolutionary innovations have not come without compromises. Early iPhones literally put the “smart” in the smartphone, connecting texting, internet connectivity and telephone capabilities...
HILLARY IN AUSTIN: Clinton to appear at BookPeople in November for signing event

HILLARY IN AUSTIN: Clinton to appear at BookPeople in November for signing event

Hillary Rodham Clinton will stop in Austin for a book-signing event on Nov. 17, BookPeople announced Monday. The former first lady, U.S. senator, U.S. secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate will sign copies of her new book, “What Happened,” a memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign that she ultimately lost to Republican Donald Trump. BookPeople is charging $30 for...
Young Austin comics artist offers authenticity, outsider perspective

Young Austin comics artist offers authenticity, outsider perspective

Tillie Walden is an artist who’s clearly on the move in more ways than one. Just 21, Walden is on the verge of publishing her fourth and most ambitious book to date, a 400-page graphic novel that she calls an autobiographical memoir. “Spinning” details Walden’s childhood, inextricably intertwined with the world of competitive youth figure skating and synchronized skating, starting...
Commentary: Texas kids merit talks on rainy day fund, special session

Commentary: Texas kids merit talks on rainy day fund, special session

The proverbial “rainy day” has come for Texas. The tens of thousands of children affected by Hurricane Harvey now need functional schools, accessible health care and safe places to live. Texas cannot wait until the 2019 Legislature Session to act. The children of the Gulf coast deserve an emergency special session of the Texas Legislature that focuses on their needs. Gov. Greg Abbott should...
Louise Penny, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best-sellers lists

Louise Penny, Neil deGrasse Tyson top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Glass Houses,’ Louise Penny 2. ‘Y Is for Yesterday,’ Sue Grafton 3. ‘The Right Time,’ Danielle Steel 4. ‘The Store,’ James Patterson and Richard DiLallo 5. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 6. ‘My Absolute Darling,’ Gabriel Tallent 7. ‘Seeing Red,’ Sandra Brown 8. ‘The Late...
ANALYSIS: Why social media apps are essential to your disaster kit

ANALYSIS: Why social media apps are essential to your disaster kit

With floodwaters at four feet and rising, a family in Houston, Texas abandoned their possessions and scrambled to their roof during Hurricane Harvey to sit with their pets and await rescue. Unable to reach first responders through 911 and with no one visible nearby, they used their cellphones to send out a call for help through a social media application called Nextdoor. Within an hour a neighbor...
Bring out your young readers this month in Austin

Bring out your young readers this month in Austin

We’re blessed in Austin to have a robust literary scene year-round. But there are some seasons that particularly shine for bibliophiles, and fall is one of them. This September is no exception, so get your calendars ready to sync as we unspool the long list of writers for young people who are speaking in Austin over the next few weeks. Five years ago, HarperCollins launched Epic Reads to give...
Min Jin Lee, Walter Isaacson among Texas Book Festival gala headliners

Min Jin Lee, Walter Isaacson among Texas Book Festival gala headliners

   New York Times bestselling author Walter Isaacson, author Min Jin Lee, Fox drama Empire writer/producer Attica Locke, and New Yorker poetry editor Kevin Young will all chat, present and entertain at the Texas Book Festival’s gala Nov. 3 at the Four Seasons in Austin. Texas Monthly executive editor Skip Hollandsworth will emcee this year’s gala. Lee is the award-winning...
ANALYSIS: Activists divided on using civil disobedience, term ‘Dreamer’

ANALYSIS: Activists divided on using civil disobedience, term ‘Dreamer’

Young immigrants from across the U.S. participated in the first act of civil disobedience by undocumented youth under the Trump administration on July 26 in Austin. After protesters blocked traffic while sitting outside the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to protest his court challenges to immigration policies, 15 undocumented young people and their allies were arrested. They were eventually...
ANALYSIS: We’ve seen Texas charity. Let’s now have sensible climate talk

ANALYSIS: We’ve seen Texas charity. Let’s now have sensible climate talk

Hurricane Harvey has taught us many lessons, but the most valuable may be the oldest lesson of all, one we humans have been learning – and forgetting – since the dawn of time: how much we all have to lose when climate and weather disasters strike. The risks we face from disasters depend on three factors: hazard, exposure and vulnerability. In the case of Harvey, the hazard was the hurricane...
INSIGHT: Why cash, not clothing, is more helpful after disasters

INSIGHT: Why cash, not clothing, is more helpful after disasters

Between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government entities, nonprofits large and small, and contributions from concerned individuals, a massive Hurricane Harvey relief effort is taking shape. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s “Help for Houston” drive and countless other community collections illustrate the American impulse to help people whose lives have been upended...
Two takes on ‘Star Trek,’ a creepy clown and more

Two takes on ‘Star Trek,’ a creepy clown and more

Here are some of the best and highest-profile new releases in music, movies, TV and more on the horizon in September. As always, dates are subject to change without notice. “Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS) Well, here we (boldly) go. “Discovery” is the first new “Star Trek” series since “Star Trek: Enterprise” arrived in 2001 (and if you’ve never seen...
INSIGHT: Population in inland flood zones grew over decade, study says

INSIGHT: Population in inland flood zones grew over decade, study says

Catastrophic flooding in Houston from Hurricane Harvey is the latest reminder that floods kill more people in the United States than any other type of natural disaster and are the most common natural disaster worldwide. Many communities along U.S. coastlines have begun to take heed and have slowed development in coastal flood zones. The bad news, as Harvey shows, is that inland communities are also...
Herman: A great look at an unlikely president. No, not that one.

Herman: A great look at an unlikely president. No, not that one.

In the waning days of his administration, as White House reporters nagged President George W. Bush about his legacy, he reminded us that such things evolve. And he noted that people were still writing biographies about the first President George W., the one with the white hair. It’s a good point. I’ve long been fascinated by how somebody decides to write the umpteenth bio of a famous person...
Where to get your antebellum history in Austin

Where to get your antebellum history in Austin

“They are erasing our history!” Not quite. When Confederate statues are removed from places of honor, or prominent street names are changed, the history remains. And it’s more accessible than you might think. A good place to start is the Briscoe Center for American History on the University of Texas campus. It’s free. The Briscoe is the new home for several of UT’s Confederate-linked...
Mark Pryor, Sue Grafton top best-sellers lists

Mark Pryor, Sue Grafton top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Y Is for Yesterday,’ Sue Grafton 2. ‘The Store,’ James Patterson and Richard DiLallo 3. ‘Seeing Red,’ Sandra Brown 4. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 5. ‘The Late Show,’ Michael Connelly 6. ‘Any Dream Will Do,’ Debbie Macomber 7. ‘The Lying Game,’ Ruth Ware 8. ‘A Gentleman...
INSIGHT: How Texans got mixed messages about evacuating for Harvey

INSIGHT: How Texans got mixed messages about evacuating for Harvey

“Your safest option is to stay put.” This message from Houston-area emergency management officials is difficult to reconcile with images of elderly nursing home residents sitting in waist-deep water and boat rescues of families stranded in the heart of the city. As Harvey’s unprecedented impacts set in, questions linger about the lack of pre-event mandatory evacuation orders from...
INSIGHT: Why Harvey recovery in Texas should prioritize older victims

INSIGHT: Why Harvey recovery in Texas should prioritize older victims

News and social media reports from coastal Texas have shown many striking images of Hurricane Harvey flood victims, but few were as arresting as a photo of older women in a Dickinson nursing home, sitting in waist-high water in their wheelchairs. Although the women were moved to safety, the picture highlighted how vulnerable older adults can be during and after major disasters. My work focuses on...
INSIGHT: 5 things about the Ike Dike, a surge barrier for Texas coast

INSIGHT: 5 things about the Ike Dike, a surge barrier for Texas coast

The idea of a surge barrier along the Texas coast has been around for years. The Ike Dike is a proposal from professor Bill Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galveston in response to the extensive damage created by Hurricane Ike in September 2008. It made headlines again in April, when Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush sent a letter to President Trump asking for federal funds to protect the...
Commentary: Tobe Hooper’s Austin youth shaped ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’

Commentary: Tobe Hooper’s Austin youth shaped ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’

Shortly after I returned to Austin in 1997 with Tobe Hooper, he pointed out his first home to me: a building on Congress Avenue where he lived as a little boy in his parents’ hotel. The fourth-floor window in the back of the building was his room, and the Paramount and State theaters across the street were his babysitters. It was here that he first fell in love with movies. I cherish the stories...
Commentary: Congrats! You’re at UT. Here’s how to make it an epic year

Commentary: Congrats! You’re at UT. Here’s how to make it an epic year

The opening of another academic year at our nation’s colleges and universities is just around the corner. Close to 150,000 Texans will be going off to one of them in a few short weeks. This is an exciting but also fairly scary moment. Twenty-four fellows of the University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers recently met to talk about how to help students succeed in college. We...
No proof yet that Robert E. Lee visited Austin

No proof yet that Robert E. Lee visited Austin

As the Austin City Council discussed a street name change, we asked if Robert E. Lee ever took the route of Robert E. Lee Road in Austin. A lively discussion ensued online. When the road was rechristened for the Confederate general during a rush of Lost Cause nostalgia in the early 20th century, Austinites believed the tale of Lee’s visit. Several leading lights from that period were sure that...
Trucker Finn Murphy offers wisdom from decades behind the wheel

Trucker Finn Murphy offers wisdom from decades behind the wheel

Moving trucker Finn Murphy shares stories from a life on the open road in “The Long Haul.” Murphy is not your typical trucker. As a moving truck driver, often known as “bedbuggers” hauling “roach coaches,” he describes the strict hierarchy among truckers and how his type are shunned as outsiders. He also touts his middle-class background in suburban Connecticut...
Ruth Ware, Sandra Brown top best-sellers lists

Ruth Ware, Sandra Brown top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Seeing Red,’ Sandra Brown 2. ‘The Store,’ James Patterson and Richard DiLallo 3. ‘Camino Island,’ John Grisham 4. ‘The Late Show,’ Michael Connelly 5. ‘Any Dream Will Do,’ Debbie Macomber 6. ‘Exposed,’ Lisa Scottoline 7. ‘The Lying Game,’ Ruth Ware 8. ‘I Know a Secret,&rsquo...
Why the fashion industry needs to speak out on neo-Nazi propaganda

Why the fashion industry needs to speak out on neo-Nazi propaganda

Fashion has been weaponized. And the fashion industry has been all but silent. In the days since white nationalists marched in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump asserted that some “very fine people” walked shoulder-to-shoulder with them, corporate CEOs have issued statements of protest and bolted from White House panels. Artists fled the President’s Committee on the Arts...
‘The Lees are complex’: Descendants grapple with rebel general’s legacy

‘The Lees are complex’: Descendants grapple with rebel general’s legacy

Few American families are as deeply embedded in the nation’s history as the Lees of Virginia. Members of the clan signed the Declaration of Independence, served the new nation as judges and generals, lawmakers and governors, and one, Zachary Taylor, even became president. For decades, the family appeared to be united in promoting the adulation of its best-known member, the pre-eminent Confederate...
‘The Good Daughter’ uses horrific violence to evoke pity and terror

‘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...
From politics to prose, meet the authors coming to Texas Book Festival

From politics to prose, meet the authors coming to Texas Book Festival

Dan Rather, Jennifer Egan and Jeffrey Eugenides are just a few of the more than 280 authors scheduled to appear Nov. 4 and 5 at the 21st annual Texas Book Festival at the Capitol and surrounding grounds. The festival, which draws about 40,000 people over two days, on Tuesday night announced its full lineup, which includes writers in literary fiction, genre fiction, history, politics, Texana, memoir...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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