Insight and Books


ANALYSIS: Trump doesn’t understand Haiti, immigration nor U.S. history

Donald Trump’s denigrating comments about Haiti during a recent congressional meeting shocked people around the globe, but given his track record of disrespecting immigrants, they were not actually that surprising. Despite campaign promises that Trump would be Haiti’s “biggest champion,” his administration had already demonstrated its disregard for people from...

Coming to BookPeople in April: Junot Diaz with new children’s book

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz will be coming to BookPeople April 4. The author of acclaimed books “This is How You Lose Her,”  “Drown” and “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is releasing a children’s book “Islandborn!”  ($17.99, Dial Books) The book tells the story of Lola, who is growing up in place...
One Austin art puzzle leads to another

One Austin art puzzle leads to another

This is Part 2 in a two-part Austin art puzzle. To recap, World War II veteran Alvino Mendoza, 91, contacted us because he owns two signed and numbered prints by deceased artist Gerald Harvey Jones, who signed his pictures “G. Harvey.” Mendoza wanted to preserve them. We confirmed that there’s an active market for G. Harvey prints online. As we were leaving Mendoza’s house...
Thorpe shares enlightening stories of refugee students in ‘Newcomers’

Thorpe shares enlightening stories of refugee students in ‘Newcomers’

Helen Thorpe’s “The Newcomers” is a collection of personal stories of child refugees as they integrate into American society. Focusing on one classroom in South High School in Denver, Colo., Thorpe (“Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War,” 2014) dives deep into the lives of 22 students, all refugees, who were just some of the many who enrolled in...
Matt de la Peña and Loren Long’s ‘Love’ honors what makes us who we are

Matt de la Peña and Loren Long’s ‘Love’ honors what makes us who we are

It’s tempting to eschew picture books once children are past a certain age. From suggested age ranges to the excitement over young readers’ ability to move into more challenging texts, there are plenty of reasons driving the shift into heftier volumes as the years progress. But it would be a mistake to leave picture books behind completely. Nonfiction picture books, with their mix of well-researched...
Classic Texas Monthly stories now available on audio

Classic Texas Monthly stories now available on audio

Now you can listen to classic stories from Texas Monthly while you are stuck on 35. Or walking the Hike and Bike trail. Or raking leaves. Penguin Random House Audio has partnered with Texas Monthly and offered more than 20 features from the magazine’s archive on audio for the first time. Stories range from true crime narratives to dramatic profiles. Each story, narrated by a native Texan...
The strange case of Richard Nixon vs. Timothy Leary

The strange case of Richard Nixon vs. Timothy Leary

At one point during a free-ranging conversation about Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon, acid and the ability to just hop on a plane in the 1970s, increasingly legendary Texas journalist Bill Minutaglio asks me a question I was not expecting: “Joe, do you think young people even know who Timothy Leary is?” It’s important to note that the man didn’t ask it in a condescending, &ldquo...
Why an American raised her children with a German parenting style

Why an American raised her children with a German parenting style

“Achtung Baby” is an American woman’s account of how she altered her parenting methods to mimic her new German neighbors. When Sara Zaske (“The First,” 2012) moved with her husband and young daughter to Berlin, she discovered that her German neighbors handled parenting quite differently than what she was used to in the U.S. In this well-written mix of personal reflections...
AUSTIN FOUND: Solving a two-part Austin art puzzle

AUSTIN FOUND: Solving a two-part Austin art puzzle

This is Part 1 of a two-part Austin art puzzle. It encompasses one modest collector, two artists and a chunk of shared East Austin history. On Dec. 4, 2017, the American-Statesman published an obituary of Gerald Harvey Jones, who signed his popular expressions of nostalgic Americana “G. Harvey.” He died on Nov. 13, 2017, at age 84. Not long after that article ran, we heard from Alvino...
Austinites looking for ‘Fire and Fury’ will have to wait until Jan. 8

Austinites looking for ‘Fire and Fury’ will have to wait until Jan. 8

While there were long lines and reports of sellouts in Washington, D.C. for “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s book on Donald Trump, Austinites will have to wait until Monday, Jan. 8, for the book. While, earlier this week, publisher Henry Holt and Company moved up the pub date to Jan 5. in response to Trump’s objections to the book, some distributors were unable to...
Trump lawyer threatens legal action against ‘Fire and Fury’ writer, publisher

Trump lawyer threatens legal action against ‘Fire and Fury’ writer, publisher

A lawyer for President Donald Trump sent a cease and desist order to the writer and publisher of an inflammatory new book on the Trump White House that paints an unflattering picture of Trump, according to news outlets. >> Read more trending news  Trump attorney Charles J. Harder sent a warning letter to writer Michael Wolff and Steve Rubin, the president of Henry Holt and...
INSIGHT: What women should know before joining the gig economy

INSIGHT: What women should know before joining the gig economy

Martin Schneider often got things done faster than a female colleague, Nicole Hallberg, who worked at the same small employment services agency. He figured this was because of his extra experience. One day, however, a client suddenly began acting “impossible,” “rude” and “dismissive,” as Schneider recalled in a series of tweets. He soon realized why. Schneider had...
INSIGHT: 3 things to know about Trump and the ‘nuclear button’

INSIGHT: 3 things to know about Trump and the ‘nuclear button’

President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, traded threats this week about the size, location and potency of their “nuclear buttons.” The image of a leader with a finger on a button — a trigger capable of launching a world-ending strike — has for decades symbolized the speed with which a nuclear weapon could be launched, and the unchecked power of the...
Austin Answered: The mystery of the murals in the medical tower

Austin Answered: The mystery of the murals in the medical tower

A reader asks of our Austin Answered project: What’s the story behind the murals in the lobby of the Medical Park Tower next to the Seton Medical Center on West 38th Street? The swooshing, busy murals are thick with scientific and humanistic imagery, some of it borrowed from the ancient Greeks. We knew exactly where to turn for the provenance: Carl McQueary, historian and archivist for Ascension...
Austinite Boyd Taylor’s ‘Necessities’ an engrossing crime series sequel

Austinite Boyd Taylor’s ‘Necessities’ an engrossing crime series sequel

In Boyd Taylor’s “Necessities,” a Texas lawyer comes to the aid of a war veteran who’s on trial for murder. Reporter David Lewis, a double amputee since a street battle in Iraq, is pleasantly surprised by his run-in with Cordelia Lehrer. The two, who’d had a one-night stand in college, quickly reignite their intimacy. But there may be more to the reunion: Cordelia invites...
Texas books we love: Concluding 2017

Texas books we love: Concluding 2017

We’ve revised this series on “Texas Titles.” Instead of blithely summarizing the most recent books published about our state, we are making the selections more carefully. Also, we’re adding some older titles that we think should be celebrated. We hope to expand on each of these five selections in 2018 with interviews, profiles and feature stories. From now on, if...
Break in your Instant Pot, bring in good luck with this 15-minute Hoppin’ John

Break in your Instant Pot, bring in good luck with this 15-minute Hoppin’ John

Are you one of the millions of American cooks who either bought or were gifted an Instant Pot this year? This bestselling multi-cooker isn’t the only one on the market, but it’s the brand that has inspired dozens of cookbooks to help you make everyday staples and holiday favorites in this pressure cooker-slow cooker hybrid.   This classic Hoppin’ John...
Austinite offers guide for journey into motherhood in thoughtful way

Austinite offers guide for journey into motherhood in thoughtful way

“I wanted other women to know they weren’t alone,” says Austin mom Catia Hernandez Holm on why she wrote the book “The Courage to Become: Stories of Hope for Navigating Love, Marriage and Motherhood.” In the months leading up to motherhood, everyone tells you what kind of stroller to get, says Holm, 34. They don’t really prepare you how to be a mother and the mental...
Austinite offers guide for journey into motherhood in thoughtful way

Austinite offers guide for journey into motherhood in thoughtful way

“I wanted other women to know they weren’t alone,” says Austin mom Catia Hernandez Holm on why she wrote the book “The Courage to Become: Stories of Hope for Navigating Love, Marriage and Motherhood.” In the months leading up to motherhood, everyone tells you what kind of stroller to get, says Holm, 34. They don’t really ...
Austin Answered: The case of the lost Austin chicken fried steak joint

Austin Answered: The case of the lost Austin chicken fried steak joint

Joan Randall of South Charleston, W.V., writes to our Austin Answered project: “I am a former resident of Austin — graduated from University of Texas in 1976 — and have fond memories of a great dive up a hill and climbing steps to get there. Absolutely fabulous chicken fried steak! And I believe one could also sit outside on a terrace. Maybe there was music, but I don’t recall...
Therapist recounts abuse, survival in ‘The Only Girl in the World’

Therapist recounts abuse, survival in ‘The Only Girl in the World’

Maude Julien’s “The Only Girl in the World” is a disturbing, engrossing memoir of a bizarre, highly abusive childhood. Psychotherapist Julien makes her literary debut with a gripping chronicle of growing up imprisoned and tormented by her parents. Isolated on a walled estate not far from Dunkirk, Julien was raised to become a “superior being,” destined to “control...
INSIGHT: Polls show low support for the tax plan. But will voters rebel?

INSIGHT: Polls show low support for the tax plan. But will voters rebel?

The 60 percent of Americans who believe that the GOP tax package will mostly help the wealthiest among us are right, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. But will widespread disapproval translate into political costs or electoral losses for Republicans? Will Americans decide they are finally fed up with over half a century of soaring economic inequality and declining tax rates on...
INSIGHT: 45% of the U.S. is middle-class. How the tax act will change that

INSIGHT: 45% of the U.S. is middle-class. How the tax act will change that

The U.S. middle class has always had a special mystique. It is the heart of the American dream. A decent income and home, doing better than one’s parents, and retiring in comfort are all hallmarks of a middle-class lifestyle. Contrary to what some may think, however, the U.S. has not always had a large middle class. Only after World War II was being middle class the national norm. Then, starting...
UFO reported over Austin in 1897

UFO reported over Austin in 1897

Balloon? Airplane? UFO? What flew over Texas — including Austin — with searchlights in April 1897? Bob Ward of the Travis County Historical Commission drew our attention to this airborne mystery. We’re not suggesting aliens, but the reports fit the definition of an “unidentified flying object.” A headline in the April 18, 1897, Austin Daily Statesman shouted “Strange...
‘Stormlight Archive’ series continues with gripping third book

‘Stormlight Archive’ series continues with gripping third book

Brandon Sanderson’s “Oathbringer” is an epic fantasy about the return of an ancient, world-destroying evil. God is dead. And Odium, the god who killed the Almighty, is unleashing terrible monsters to destroy humankind. Dalinar Kholin has bonded with the powerful spren known as the Stormfather and led his people to the lost city of Urithiru, but his work is just beginning. Now he...
The most popular books, movies and music at the Austin Public Library in 2017

The most popular books, movies and music at the Austin Public Library in 2017

2017 was a year of change for Austin, as each year always is. But some things never change. The fact that we love bemoaning Austin traffic. The fact that our city is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the country. The fact that grackles never cease to instill fear and awe in the hearts of Austinites.  There’s also the fact that even with a shiny, brand-spanking-new location...
ANALYSIS: GOP’s missteps turned Alabama blue. Here’s what to expect

ANALYSIS: GOP’s missteps turned Alabama blue. Here’s what to expect

If there was one Republican in Alabama the Democratic Doug Jones could beat, Roy Moore was that Republican. And in a Tuesday night nail-biter, Jones did just that, edging Moore by a mere 1.5 percentage points in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1992. So while the Democrats are celebrating a victory in the special election, perhaps it makes sense to ask: How did...
INSIGHT: Why downtown parking garages may be headed for extinction

INSIGHT: Why downtown parking garages may be headed for extinction

For decades, providing downtown parking was a top priority for urban planners. Huge parking garages for commuters’ cars occupied prime real estate that otherwise might have been used for housing, stores or offices. But ride-hailing services and autonomous cars are going to revolutionize parking in cities across the country — in garages, in lots and along curbs. By 2030, 15 percent of new...
INSIGHT: Why audiences are raving about the new ‘Star Wars’ films

INSIGHT: Why audiences are raving about the new ‘Star Wars’ films

In the 40 years since the original “Star Wars” film premiered, the franchise has been a pop culture powerhouse. “The Last Jedi” – the latest edition in the series – looks to continue the trend, with huge box office returns expected. It also looks poised to join “The Force Awakens” (93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and “Rogue One” (85 percent)...
INSIGHT: How the ‘Greatest Showman’ paved the way for Donald Trump

INSIGHT: How the ‘Greatest Showman’ paved the way for Donald Trump

Historian James Cook, in his 2001 book “The Arts of Deception,” points to July 1835 as “the birth date of modern American popular culture.” That month, a frustrated grocer named Phineus Taylor Barnum purchased Joice Heth, a purported 161-year-old slave who had been George Washington’s nanny. Barnum furiously promoted her as “Absolutely the Greatest Natural and National...
INSIGHT: Hope after hardship — the story of Rohingya refugees in Austin

INSIGHT: Hope after hardship — the story of Rohingya refugees in Austin

About 620,000 Rohingya — a Muslim ethnic minority from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state — have fled violence this year in a refugee crisis that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson identified as “ethnic cleansing” after a trip in November. The persecution of Rohingya is a decadeslong story — and one that could be told here in North Austin by Mohamad Hussain, 40...
Louise Erdrich’s new book full of spiritual questions, observations

Louise Erdrich’s new book full of spiritual questions, observations

The idea that evolution could suddenly move backward may seem like an incredible fantasy, but in Louise Erdrich’s dreamlike, suspenseful “Future Home of the Living God,” it’s a fitting analogue for the environmental degradation we already experience. A biological apocalypse has animals suddenly appearing in trippy, shocking manifestations — a dragonfly with a 6-foot wingspan...
A small guide to Austin’s 7 specialty comics shops

A small guide to Austin’s 7 specialty comics shops

New to Austin and wondering where to get your weekly comics fix, fill out your trade paperback collection and flip through back issues? Here is a guide to Austin’s comic book specialty shops. Note: This list contains only comic book shops. Comics and graphic novels can be found at many Austin stores selling new and used books, including BookPeople and any Barnes and Noble or Half Price Books...
Wrap up these books this holiday whether the kids were naughty or nice

Wrap up these books this holiday whether the kids were naughty or nice

Perhaps you want to give something that will last longer than the latest electronic gadget. Maybe you just want to keep your young ones reading over winter break. Whatever your motivation, the solution beckons on these pages — new titles that entertain, inform and engage: Your holiday gift list starts here. Hortense finds her shadow tiresome. It constantly trails after her through the woods...
Wizarding school offers magic all year long for ‘Harry Potter’ fans

Wizarding school offers magic all year long for ‘Harry Potter’ fans

After reading the “Harry Potter” series, many of us wish our own Hogwarts acceptance letters would arrive in the mail. But some lucky Muggles (that is, those with no magical abilities) are able to experience their own kind of magic at a Central Texas wizarding school. Worthwich School offers all sorts of wizarding activities for people still enthralled by the series 20 years after the...
In Khizr Khan’s inspirational story, a mighty river flows

In Khizr Khan’s inspirational story, a mighty river flows

Khizr Khan, father of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan, speaks as his wife Ghazala listens at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Maybe sometimes it takes a stranger to remind us of our greatness and of the things we hold dear as a nation, but which we take for granted. Maybe it takes someone like Khizr...
Mark Updegrove returns to Austin and the LBJ legacy

Mark Updegrove returns to Austin and the LBJ legacy

Mark Updegrove, who transformed the LBJ Presidential Libary during eight years as its director, is retuning to become president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation as of March 1, 2018. Mark Updegrove In a dizzying leadership shuffle, current Foundation Executive Director Amy Barbee will be promoted to its Vice-President. Foundation Chairman ...
In ‘God: A Human History,’ Reza Aslan looks at how we think about God

In ‘God: A Human History,’ Reza Aslan looks at how we think about God

There are many lovely, canny and insightful things in Reza Aslan’s new book “God: A Human History,” written in Aslan’s clear, accessible style. My favorite phrase, however, is on the back, where the line above the blurb of endorsement reads: “Advance Praise for ‘God.’” Looking at that as a joke works on a few levels. According to most religions, of course...
INSIGHT: How Donald Trump’s retweets reveal an insidious strategy

INSIGHT: How Donald Trump’s retweets reveal an insidious strategy

On Nov. 29, President Trump retweeted a series of videos that purported to depict violence committed by Muslims. They had originated from the account of a far-right British ultranationalist who had been convicted for harassing a Muslim. The backlash was swift, with British Prime Minister Theresa May saying “the President is wrong to have done this.” But Trump’s retweeting of controversial...
Hugh Acheson coming to Whole Foods this weekend to talk slow cookers

Hugh Acheson coming to Whole Foods this weekend to talk slow cookers

Hugh Acheson jumped into the national spotlight when he competed on “Top Chef Masters,” but after he went on to become a “Top Chef” judge and cookbook author, he’s become a food celebrity in his own right. The Georgia-based chef Hugh Acheson became a national food celebrity after his many appearances on “Top Chef Masters” and &ldquo...
Austin Answered: Where was the old Soap Creek Saloon?

Austin Answered: Where was the old Soap Creek Saloon?

Reader Jim Wolverton asks of our Austin Answered project: What was the location of Soap Creek Saloon off Bee Caves Road back in the 1970s? He remembers going there as a 19-year-old. If you never visited the legendary music venue, its then-remote location outside the city limits surely must appear shrouded in the fog of history. Even if you did go — given the heady times — you might not...
Esther Perel on what Americans get wrong about relationships

Esther Perel on what Americans get wrong about relationships

Few psychotherapists are as willing to talk as openly about infidelity and monogamy as Esther Perel. The Belgium-born author of the 2007 best-seller “Mating in Captivity” has a new book out called “The State of Affairs” that digs deep into the roots of relationship culture in the U.S. She also hosts a relationship therapy podcast called “Where Should We Begin?”...
How ‘Blackish’ star Jenifer Lewis became ‘the mother of black Hollywood’

How ‘Blackish’ star Jenifer Lewis became ‘the mother of black Hollywood’

When casting Tina Turner’s mom in the 1993 film “What’s Love Got to Do With It?,” the director turned to a relative unknown by the name of Jenifer Lewis. The actress, who had done just a few small film and TV parts after arriving in Hollywood via Broadway and cabarets, is only about 2 years older than the film’s star, Angela Bassett. So when she got the call, she almost...
A guide to Austin’s comics specialty shops

A guide to Austin’s comics specialty shops

New to Austin and wondering where to get your weekly comics fix, fill out your trade paperback collection and flip through back issues? Here is a guide to Austin’s comic book specialty shops.  Note: This list contains ONLY comic book shops. Comics and graphic novels can be found at many Austin stores selling new and used books, including BookPeople and any Barnes and Noble or Half Price...
Webb Report: Put a few El Arroyo signs under the tree this year

Webb Report: Put a few El Arroyo signs under the tree this year

The most popular comedian on Fifth Street is now a published author, just in time for Christmas. That’s right, the El Arroyo sign has its own book. The Tex-Mex restaurant’s famous marquee sign, which displays black letters that tell a new joke to passing motorists each day, is featured in “El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs Volume One.” There are 158 photos of the sign...
Austin Answered: The evolving names of Austin’s big central lakes

Austin Answered: The evolving names of Austin’s big central lakes

Reader Daulton Venglar challenges our Austin Answered project: “Settle it once and for all: Lady Bird Lake vs. Town Lake vs. Lake Austin.” Venglar: “I guess I just wanted a definitive answer.” To start, two distinct lakes come into question. Both are pass-through reservoirs on the Colorado River, part of a series of lakes that include, further upstream, Buchanan, Inks, LBJ...
Austin-based Dana Barney’s thriller sequel is tricky, cerebral

Austin-based Dana Barney’s thriller sequel is tricky, cerebral

In Dana Barney’s futuristic thriller “Half Life,” a sequel to “Flatline” (2015), a conspiracy debunker uncovers evidence of an elite plot against the world. In Austin, Peter Richards used to be an investigative journalist but became the victim of a conspiracy so stressful it gave him a heart attack. A mechanical heart restored his life (though he died and was revived...
With ‘Spineless,’ Austin author explores both her past and jellyfish

With ‘Spineless,’ Austin author explores both her past and jellyfish

Consider, if you will, the humble jellyfish. It’s a creature both 95 percent water and often possessed of one of the planet’s deadliest venoms. A creature that has existed in its current form, more or less, for millions of years, yet is one of the planet’s most delicate. In some languages, jellyfish translates as “living water” — how cool is that? And yet, we don&rsquo...
Harry Ransom Center acquires massive Arthur Miller archive

Harry Ransom Center acquires massive Arthur Miller archive

The Harry Ransom Center at UT has acquired the archive of American playwright Arthur Miller (1915–2005). Obtained from the Arthur Miller Trust, the archive spans Miller’s career. During his lifetime the Ransom Center had a close association with Miller, who first donated a group of early play manuscripts and working notebooks to the Center in the early 1960s. This new acquisition...
Texas Book Festival will take place Oct. 27 and 28

Texas Book Festival will take place Oct. 27 and 28

The 23rd Texas Book Festival will take place Oct. 27 and 28 in and around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin, it was announced Wednesday. The 2017 Festival Weekend was the most successful on record, with 50,000 attendees and about 300 authors coming together on November 4 and 5, 2017. The annual First Edition Literary Gala, which took place Nov. 3 of last year, raised more than $630,000 for...
‘Santa’s Husband’ is the season’s best Christmas book for very young readers

‘Santa’s Husband’ is the season’s best Christmas book for very young readers

On the very first page of “Santa’s Husband” is a picture of Santa -- he is black, wearing glasses and in a Santa outfit. “This is Santa,” it reads. On the opposite page, a picture of a white guy who looks a lot more like the guy in a Coke ad. “This is Santa’s husband,” it reads. So, already, it’s a not a stereotypical take on the Jolly Old Elf...
Best-sellers, 11/19/17

Best-sellers, 11/19/17

LOS ANGELES TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. “Manhattan Beach,” Jennifer Egan 2. “Uncommon Type,” Tom Hanks 3. “The Rooster Bar,” John Grisham 4. “Turtles All the Way Down,” John Green 5. “Origin,” Dan Brown 6. “A Gentleman in Moscow,” Amor Towles 7. “Little Fires Everywhere,” Celeste Ng 8. “Lincoln in the Bardo...
Anne Fadiman’s ‘The Wine Lover’s Daughter’ a graceful ode to her father

Anne Fadiman’s ‘The Wine Lover’s Daughter’ a graceful ode to her father

Anne Fadiman (“At Large and at Small: Confessions of a Literary Hedonist,” 2008) decants a harmonious blend of biography, wine lore and memoir in “The Wine Lover’s Daughter,” an account of a literary daughter’s relationship with her celebrated literary father. Born into a secular Jewish family in Brooklyn, Clifton Fadiman (1904-1999) spent his adult life submerging...
Krysten Ritter’s debut a somewhat predictable but fast-paced thriller

Krysten Ritter’s debut a somewhat predictable but fast-paced thriller

A young environmental lawyer returns to her small Indiana hometown to investigate pollution by a regional plastics giant, but settling old scores and healing old wounds weigh heavily on her mind in Krysten Ritter’s “Bonfire.” Abby Williams left the aptly named Barrens, Ind., for Chicago as soon as she turned 18 and never looked back, trading the equivalent of a one-horse town that...
Best-sellers, 11/12/17

Best-sellers, 11/12/17

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Rooster Bar,’ John Grisham 2. ‘Two Kinds of Truth,’ Michael Connelly 3. ‘Origin,’ Dan Brown 4. ‘Twin Peaks: The Final Dossier,’ Mark Frost 5. ‘Uncommon Type,’ Tom Hanks 6. ‘Deep Freeze,’ John Sandford 7. ‘Sleeping Beauties,’ Stephen King and Owen King 8. ‘A Column of...
Attention Austin hoarders: ‘American Pickers’ is coming to Texas

Attention Austin hoarders: ‘American Pickers’ is coming to Texas

     You know it, I know it, your neighbors know it: Austin is lousy with folks who just will not throw away their stuff. Austin’s garages, its sheds and its crawl spaces are filled with plenty of objects from the good old days, be those the 90s rock/tech boom, the 80s oil boom and bust, the cosmic cowboy 1970s, the ‘60s and earlier. (See also our fair city’s pawn...
Richard Linklater wants to make a movie about 1970s Houston

Richard Linklater wants to make a movie about 1970s Houston

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that longtime Austin resident, local film godfather and eternal Texan Richard Linklater would love to take a make a movie (or something) about growing up in Houston in the 1960s and ‘70s. “Houston deserves a good TV series and a couple of more movies," the 57-year-old was quoted during a chat to promote his most recent movie, "Last Flag Flying"...
Dan Rather on the idea of alternative facts: ‘You don’t have to have a Harvard or Stanford degree to know this is ridiculous’

Dan Rather on the idea of alternative facts: ‘You don’t have to have a Harvard or Stanford degree to know this is ridiculous’

Dan Rather, the 86 years young former anchor and editor of the CBS Evening News, sat down with Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune to launch his essay collection “What Unites Us” on Saturday at First Baptist Church as part of the Texas Book Festival. Here is what we learned: Patriotism should not be confused with nationalism. “Patriots have an abiding love of country,” Rather said...
5 things to know about Texas Book Festival on Sunday

5 things to know about Texas Book Festival on Sunday

The second day of Texas Book Festival takes place Sunday at the Capitol and surrounding venues, and most events are free and open to the public. Here are five highlights for Sunday (see all previews and live coverage at austin360.com/bookfest): 1. Jennifer Egan. It has been seven years since Egan’s last novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” so fans and...
Mike McCrary’s ‘Steady Trouble’ is a Hollywood action film in print form

Mike McCrary’s ‘Steady Trouble’ is a Hollywood action film in print form

A woman’s recent addition to a trust fund could earn her a windfall — provided the other beneficiaries don’t kill her first — in Mike McCrary’s “Steady Trouble.” Texas bartender Theodora, better known as Steady Teddy, has had trouble with her memory since she sustained brain trauma when she was 18. Her injury stems from a home invasion resulting in her parents&rsquo...
5 things to know about the Texas Book Festival on Saturday

5 things to know about the Texas Book Festival on Saturday

The Texas Book Festival is Saturday and Sunday at the Capitol and surrounding venues, and most events are free and open to the public. Although director and actor Tom Hanks is the highest-profile name this year — here with a collection of short fiction, “Uncommon Type” — his ticketed event is sold out. Here are five highlights for Saturday (see all our previews and coverage...
Arimah, Davis, Dimaline win $50k Kirkus Prizes

Arimah, Davis, Dimaline win $50k Kirkus Prizes

“What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories”  by Lesley Nneka Arimah, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea” by Jack E. Davis and “The Marrow Thieves” by Cherie Dimaline have all won the fourth annual Kirkus Prize, it was announced Thursday night. Each winner receives a cash prize of $50,000, making the Kirkus Prize one of the richest annual literary...
Texas Book Fest celebrates all the young readers

Texas Book Fest celebrates all the young readers

Yes, you should take your kids to the Texas Book Festival. Whether your young reader is elementary age or young adult, voracious or reluctant — there’s a program aimed to engage. Building on the success of last year’s themed tent for young adults, this year includes the addition of a dedicated “Next Chapter” middle-grade tent that will host the likes of “Frindle&rdquo...
Texas Book Fest amplifies Latino voices at ¡Ahora Sí! tent

Texas Book Fest amplifies Latino voices at ¡Ahora Sí! tent

For the third year in a row, you’ll be able to sample some of the Latino authors at the ¡Ahora Sí! tent at the Texas Book Festival (¡Ahora Sí! is the Spanish publication of the Austin American-Statesman). Most authors will appear both during the regularly scheduled sessions in and around the Capitol building and at the ¡Ahora Sí! tent, which this year will...
Attica Locke’s new series is, in part, a ‘love letter to black Texans’

Attica Locke’s new series is, in part, a ‘love letter to black Texans’

Attica Locke, who grew up in Houston and worked for three seasons as a writer for TV’s “Empire,” has a great new book series beginning, focusing on a black Texas Ranger, Darren Mathews, who works along Highway 59 in East Texas. It’s called “Bluebird, Bluebird,” and Locke will talk about it and other matters as a speaker at Friday’s First Edition Literary Gala...
Lythcott-Haims examines her racial identity in ‘Real American’

Lythcott-Haims examines her racial identity in ‘Real American’

In a text that resembles a memoir, a prose poem, and an album of verbal snapshots, a writer from a mixed racial background chronicles her journey — and battle — to understand her racial identity. Julie Lythcott-Haims (“How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,” 2015), who holds a variety of academic degrees (including Harvard...
Going to the Texas Book Festival? (You should!) What you need to know

Going to the Texas Book Festival? (You should!) What you need to know

Welcome to the 22st annual Texas Book Festival. Since 1996, the literary shindig has highlighted authors from across the state, the country and ultimately the world — inside and in the shadow of the Texas Capitol. Dan Rather, Jennifer Egan and Jeffrey Eugenides are just a few of the more than 280 authors previously announced for the 21st Texas Book Festival, which takes place Nov. 4 -5 at the...
Roger D. Hodge tells a Texas story in a way you haven’t heard before

Roger D. Hodge tells a Texas story in a way you haven’t heard before

West Texas native Roger D. Hodge’s new book, “Texas Blood,” has a peculiar structure — and a peculiar approach. It’s part memoir, part travelogue, part history and part literary criticism. In other words, it’s quite remarkable, mainly because it refuses to follow traditional forms of storytelling, and that makes it all the more interesting. TEXAS BOOK FEST 2017...
Texas Book Festival 2017: Some of the authors you should check out

Texas Book Festival 2017: Some of the authors you should check out

Journalists love words, reading and all kinds of books. Our team at the Austin American-Statesman has been on the ground at the Texas Book Festival from the beginning — we’d attend purely as lovers of books, even if it wasn’t one of the biggest cultural events of the year in Austin. Here, we recommend some of the authors we’re excited to see at the fest. See the full schedule...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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