Insight and Books


INSIGHT: How Russians pretended to be Texans — and Texans believed them

In early 2016, while researching some of the most popular U.S. secession groups online, I stumbled across one of the Russian-controlled Facebook accounts that were then pulling in Americans by the thousands. At the time, I was writing on Russia’s relationship with American secessionists from Texas, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These were people who had hitched flights to Moscow to swap tactics, to...
Was this 1950s cafe also Austin’s first gay bar?

Was this 1950s cafe also Austin’s first gay bar?

A living witness puts a 1950s Austin gay bar, perhaps the city’s first, in a backroom on Congress Avenue. Some background: Readers loved this photo from the 1950s. Even more, they loved guessing the name and location of the Austin cafe. READ MORE: Do you know this Austin cafe from the 1950s? Austin Nelson, whose family design firm operates out of 905 Congress Ave., persuasively argued that their...
In ‘Hue 1968,’ author examines a key chapter in the Vietnam War

In ‘Hue 1968,’ author examines a key chapter in the Vietnam War

Like his epochal best-seller “Black Hawk Down,” Mark Bowden’s “Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam” is the story of a battle. Like “Black Hawk Down,” it is smart, well-reported and hypnotic in spots. Also like “Black Hawk Down,” it might very well become a motion picture (Michael Mann has optioned the rights to it and is contemplating...
INSIGHT: Why we rarely speak up when we witness sexual harassment

INSIGHT: Why we rarely speak up when we witness sexual harassment

The uproar over allegations that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually abused and harassed dozens of the women he worked with is inspiring countless women — and some men — to share their own personal sexual harassment and assault stories. With these issues trending on social media with the hashtag #MeToo, it’s getting harder to ignore how common they are on the job and in...
INSIGHT: With ride-hailing apps, should Americans stop owning cars?

INSIGHT: With ride-hailing apps, should Americans stop owning cars?

Every day, there’s more news about the inevitable arrival of autonomous vehicles. At the same time, more people are using ride-hailing and ride-sharing apps — and the percentage of teens getting their driver’s license continues to decline. Given these technologies and social changes, it’s worth asking: Should Americans stop owning cars? We’ve conducted an analysis of...
AUSTIN ANSWERED: Why is the Travis/Williamson county line so crooked?

AUSTIN ANSWERED: Why is the Travis/Williamson county line so crooked?

A very observant reader asked our Austin Answered project: “If you examine a map of the Travis-Williamson county line, it’s so crooked it looks almost like a river. How did the line come to be?” Although the Travis-Williamson county line is crooked, it does not follow a waterway. Its shape, however, is related to watersheds: It traces the high divide between the Brazos and Colorado...
Dan Brown, Rupi Kaur top best-sellers lists

Dan Brown, Rupi Kaur top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Origin,’ Dan Brown 2. ‘Sleeping Beauties,’ Stephen King and Owen King 3. ‘Manhattan Beach,’ Jennifer Egan 4. ‘A Column of Fire,’ Ken Follett 5. ‘Don’t Let Go,’ Harlan Coben 6. ‘The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye,’ David Lagercrantz 7. ‘The Cuban Affair,’ Nelson DeMille...
Holocaust survivor Edith Eger writes memoir with integrity, conviction

Holocaust survivor Edith Eger writes memoir with integrity, conviction

Mental health professional Edith Eger braids stories of her patients’ epiphanies with her own personal journey through Nazi Germany in “The Choice.” As a Holocaust survivor and clinical psychologist, 89-year-old Eger is often introduced to her audiences at speaking engagements as “the Anne Frank who didn’t die.” Her poignantly crafted memoir is a meditation on two...
Best Texas books to read soon

Best Texas books to read soon

We pause during Austin festival season to read up on nature in a Texas national park, the career of a Texas script doctor, the third part of an Old West trilogy by a Texan, a urban Chicano tale from another Texan and breezy book on Texas ingenuity. “Nature Watch Big Bend.” Lynne Weber and Jim Weber. Texas A&M University Press. Oh, how have we needed this book forever!...
INSIGHT: In Las Vegas, excess and fantasy bleed into tragedy

INSIGHT: In Las Vegas, excess and fantasy bleed into tragedy

In Sin City, people often do bad things to themselves. Rather than deal with their lapses – moral, financial, marital – there’s a ready-made marketing slogan to fall back on: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It’s a way of permitting yourself to indulge, and Vegas casinos – built on a manic dynamic of gambling, sex and food consumption – make their...
INSIGHT: Have big cities hijacked the gentrification debate?

INSIGHT: Have big cities hijacked the gentrification debate?

In July, a group of long-time, mostly Latino residents of Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood staged protests outside a trendy new coffee shop called Weird Wave Coffee, holding signs that read “Amerikkkano” and “WHITE COFFEE.” Across the country in Brooklyn’s rapidly gentrifying Crown Heights neighborhood, locals lashed out over a new restaurant with decor...
INSIGHT: Why Rick Perry’s subsidies plan for coal fails Economics 101

INSIGHT: Why Rick Perry’s subsidies plan for coal fails Economics 101

In a controversial proposal, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has asked federal regulators to effectively subsidize coal and nuclear power plants at ratepayers’ expense. Under Perry’s proposal, plants that operate in deregulated electricity markets – where generators normally compete to provide power at the lowest cost – would be guaranteed positive profits, so long as they stockpile...

What catches your eye about this 1918 Austin road map?

David Grote posted this “Map of Auto Roads In and Out of Austin” on the Facebook page “Remember Austin Uncensored.” We asked readers what they noticed first. For instance, it’s yet another old map that shows East and West Bouldin Creeks joining before they enter the Colorado. Also, here it looks here like Blunn Creek joins both of them. Also, Magnolia Street kept its...
Stephen King’s collaboration with son Owen King tops best-seller list

Stephen King’s collaboration with son Owen King tops best-seller list

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘Sleeping Beauties,’ Stephen King and Owen King 2. ‘Don’t Let Go,’ Harlan Coben 3. ‘A Column of Fire,’ Ken Follett 4. ‘The Cuban Affair,’ Nelson DeMille 5. ‘Haunted,’ James Patterson and James O. Born 6. ‘The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye,’ David Lagercrantz 7. ‘To Be Where...
Alice Hoffman brings Owens sisters back in ‘Practical Magic’ prequel

Alice Hoffman brings Owens sisters back in ‘Practical Magic’ prequel

In “The Rules of Magic,” the Owens sisters are back —not in their previous guise as elderly aunties casting spells in Alice Hoffman’s occult romance “Practical Magic” (1995), but as fledgling witches in the New York City captured in Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids.” In that magical, mystical milieu, Franny and Bridget are joined by a new character...
INSIGHT: Are self-driving cars future of mobility for disabled people?

INSIGHT: Are self-driving cars future of mobility for disabled people?

Self-driving cars could revolutionize how disabled people get around their communities and even travel far from home. People who can’t see well or with physical or mental difficulties that prevent them from driving safely often rely on others – or local government or nonprofit agencies – to help them get around. Autonomous vehicle technology on its own is not enough to help these...
What are you doing the long weekend with the kids, Oct. 6-9

What are you doing the long weekend with the kids, Oct. 6-9

The long three-day Columbus Day weekend, and hey, the day before, too, are filled with many things to do with the kids. Just keep in mind it’s Austin City Limits Music Festival this weekend. Give yourself a little extra time if you’re going anywhere near downtown. The weather every day will be the standard 90, 91 degrees, sunny with a 10 percent chance of rain. Don’t...
INSIGHT: How Catalonia’s referendum unmasks authoritarianism in Spain

INSIGHT: How Catalonia’s referendum unmasks authoritarianism in Spain

I have long worried about the rise of authoritarianism in the European Union. The Spanish government’s violent crackdown during the Catalonia referendum on Oct. 1 is the latest crisis to challenge EU institutions. Several member states are facing serious questions about territorial sovereignty. Just look to the Scottish referendum to leave the U.K. and questions opened up by the Brexit vote...
INSIGHT: Playboy let me view its archives. Here’s what I learned

INSIGHT: Playboy let me view its archives. Here’s what I learned

Over the nearly 70 years since Hugh Hefner, who died recently at the age of 91, laid out the first issue of Playboy on his kitchen table, the magazine and his personal lifestyle embodied the ultimate expression of heterosexual male privilege and sexual freedom. Because he was surrounded by young, beautiful women well into old age, celebrants saw in Hefner an almost heroic figure who challenged American...
When it comes to queso, why processed cheese is your friend (and Velveeta is just OK)

When it comes to queso, why processed cheese is your friend (and Velveeta is just OK)

Lisa Fain’s new cookbook, “ Queso!: Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip” (Ten Speed Press, $15), is about one of Texas’ most iconic dishes. Lisa Fain’s new cookbook is all about queso, a dip that’s easy to make at home if you know how to work with melting cheese. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman The author...
INSIGHT: Six things to know about mass shootings in America

INSIGHT: Six things to know about mass shootings in America

America has experienced yet another mass shooting, this time at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is reportedly the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. As a criminologist, I have reviewed recent research in hopes of debunking some of the common misconceptions I hear creeping into discussions that spring up whenever a mass shooting occurs. Here’s some...
AUSTIN ANSWERED: What are the oldest buildings downtown?

AUSTIN ANSWERED: What are the oldest buildings downtown?

A reader asks via Austin Answered, the American-Statesman’s new portal to all things Austin, which buildings are the oldest in downtown? As with other such questions, it depends on one’s definitions. If by downtown you mean central Austin, then the clear answers are the French Legation and Boggy Creek Farm, completed almost simultaneously in 1841, only two years after Austin&rsquo...
James McBride explores race and culture in collection ‘Five-Carat Soul’

James McBride explores race and culture in collection ‘Five-Carat Soul’

James McBride’s “Five-Carat Soul” is a versatile, illustrious author brings out his first short-fiction buffet for sampling, and the results are provocatively varied in taste and texture; sometimes piquant, other times zesty. It’s not every contemporary fiction collection that includes one story featuring Abraham Lincoln and another (somewhat) unrelated story involving a young...
Commentary: America values registered nurses. When will Austin ISD?

Commentary: America values registered nurses. When will Austin ISD?

Since the Gallup Poll began ranking “most-trusted professions” in 1999, nurses have placed No. 1 every year with the exception of 2001. People have depended on and trusted nurses through life’s most intimate moments: birth and dying and times in between of injury and sickness. Parents trust that nurses will be there when needed while their child is in school. Austin Independent School...
Nelson DeMille, Ernest Cline top best-sellers lists

Nelson DeMille, Ernest Cline top best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Cuban Affair,’ Nelson DeMille 2. ‘To Be Where You Are,’ Jan Karon 3. ‘A Column of Fire,’ Ken Follett 4. ‘Haunted,’ James Patterson and James O. Born 5. ‘The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye,’ David Lagercrantz 6. ‘A Legacy of Spies,’ John le Carré 7. ‘Enemy of the State...
Find new books, meet favorite authors at Texas Teen Book Festival

Find new books, meet favorite authors at Texas Teen Book Festival

This year’s Texas Teen Book Festival keynote authors instill thrills in young readers, from creating an immersive world of online combat to crafting an armed standoff in verse. Best-selling authors Marie Lu and Jason Reynolds anchor a lineup that includes writers from nearly every genre along with signings, writing and educators’ workshops, a costume contest and the brand-new iTent. &ldquo...
Best Austin parties blasting out before ACL Music Fest

Best Austin parties blasting out before ACL Music Fest

Austin society rushes to wrap up activity before the ACL Music Festival, which kicks off Oct. 6 at Zilker Park. Contributed Sept. 29: Celebrate Children in Nature for Westcave Preserve. Four Seasons. Sept. 29:  American Indian Heritage Day. Bullock Texas State History Museum. Sept. 30: Austin Area Urban League. JW Marriott. Oct. 1:  ...
Tom Hanks added to Texas Book Festival lineup

Tom Hanks added to Texas Book Festival lineup

Screenwriter, director, producer, actor and “Bosom Buddy” Tom Hanks will be coming to Austin for the 2017 Texas Book Festival to present his new collection of short fiction, “Uncommon Type.” Hanks will discuss his stories with best-selling author Lawrence Wright (“The Looming Tower”) at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at First Baptist Church, 901 Trinity St., book festival organizers...
Celeste Ng’s second novel strikingly illuminates life in America

Celeste Ng’s second novel strikingly illuminates life in America

Celeste Ng’s “Little Fires Everywhere” is an incandescent portrait of suburbia and family, creativity, and consumerism burns bright. It’s not for nothing that Ng (“Everything I Never Told You,” 2014) begins her second novel, about the events leading to the burning of the home of an outwardly perfect-seeming family in Shaker Heights, Ohio, circa 1997, with two epigraphs...
Why Longmire doesn’t — and wouldn’t — carry a cellphone

Why Longmire doesn’t — and wouldn’t — carry a cellphone

People ask me why my protagonist, Walt Longmire, doesn’t carry a cellphone, and my immediate response is: Have you ever been to Wyoming? With more than 97,000 square miles, the state is divided into 23 counties, some of them as large as Maryland but none of them named Absaroka. Taking a cue from Faulkner, I decided to go with a fictional county, a decision that turned out to be one of the smartest...
Ken Follett’s new release dominates best-sellers lists

Ken Follett’s new release dominates best-sellers lists

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘A Column of Fire,’ Ken Follett 2. ‘The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye,’ David Lagercrantz 3. ‘Enemy of the State,’ Kyle Mills 4. ‘The Romanov Ransom,’ Clive Cussler and Robin Burcell 5. ‘A Legacy of Spies,’ John le Carré 6. ‘Secrets in Death,’ J.D. Robb 7. ‘Little Fires Everywhere...
Author understands why people think the Templars still exist

Author understands why people think the Templars still exist

To ask Dan Jones — writer of the completely excellent “The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors” — about the biggest misconception about the Templar Knights is to elicit the lowest of chuckles. “There’s a lot of competition,” Jones says. He’s written five books about medieval history, including popular volumes on the War...
Charles Umlauf eagle flies home to Austin sculpture garden

Charles Umlauf eagle flies home to Austin sculpture garden

Does anyone remember the eagle that stood at First Federal Plaza in front of an angled, mirror-clad office building opposite St. Mary’s Cathedral at 208 E. 10th St.? Well, the Charles Umlauf sculpture, originally unveiled June 18, 1968, landed on Sept. 11 on its natural turf at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. According to the Umlauf researchers, in 1967 the First Federal Savings and...
INSIGHT: Fearful of Trump’s America, asylum seekers stream into Canada

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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
‘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...
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...
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...
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...
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