Anne Dingus

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Anne Dingus, a former senior editor for Texas Monthly was born in Pampa in 1953 and is a freelance writer living in Austin.

Articles by Anne Dingus

David Searcy

Feb 1, 2001 By Anne Dingus

Gardening won’t seem like such an innocent pastime after you read this first novel by Dallasite David Searcy, which gives the term “stalking” a nasty new horticultural slant. An elderly Walter Mitty- esque widower, afret over a gopher invasion that has threatened his pride-and-joy roses, orders some exotic flora guaranteed…

Jon Kalb

Jan 1, 2001 By Anne Dingus

This is a genre-buster if ever there was one. Austin paleontologist Jon Kalb set out to chronicle his seven years of fossil hunting in Africa in the seventies, but the final product is far more than “science adventurism” (his term). The subtitle, though a bit daunting—The Race to Discover Human…

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Bum Deal

Jan 1, 2001 By Anne Dingus and Paul Burka

Executive editor Paul Burka and senior editor Anne Dingus tell the story behind January's cover story, "The 2001 Bum Steer Awards".

Christopher Cook

Dec 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

In one sense this earthy first novel by Austinite Christopher Cook is a feel-good book: Compared with the title characters, you can’t help but feel good about your own relatively decent self. In Robbers two aimless outlaws, Ray Bob and Eddie, hook up and, in a sort of quien-es-mas-macho contest,…

The Searcher

Nov 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Photographer Kurt Markus spent years tracking down modern working cowboys for his new book, Cowpuncher. He corralled the genuine article at several Texas spreads.

Whodunit? Who Cares?

Nov 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Anne Dingus has a few bones to pick with the modern mystery novel, which she says has been decomposing in recent years. Stepping up to defend the genre: none other than Texas' queen of murder and mayhem, Mary Willis Walker.

Texas Zoo, Victoria

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Victoria’s zoo includes only critters native to the state, many of them threatened or endangered. But the hundred or so different species represent a surprisingly diverse spectrum of the animal kingdom, and when I visited on a peaceful August weekday, the residents were all out and about, clearly enjoying the…

San Antonio Zoo

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Since 1929 the San Antonio Zoo has charmed every Texan within a hundred-mile radius. To avoid the Saturday and Sunday throngs, try arriving first thing in the morning during the week before the school groups (and remember, there’s no law saying you have to take your own kids). The lack…

Houston Zoo

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

I nominate the Houston Zoo, the state’s most popular, for a most-improved award. In addition to the vast new children’s-zoo area, which opens this month, many new walkways and viewing platforms make it more appealing than ever. The zoo is 78 years old, and many of its exhibits were designed…

El Paso Zoo

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Kudus—I mean kudos—to the landscapers and horticulturists at the El Paso Zoo. Their careful plantings, which manage to block sun but not wind, helped make a midsummer visit almost cool. Still, baking visitors gratefully entered the indoor displays: In the nocturnal exhibit, my friend Isela gazed for a long time…

Austin Zoo

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

The fledgling Austin Zoo is basically a big, no-frills barnyard full of exotic jungle beasts as well as miscellaneous domestic breeds. Situated on the city’s southwestern edge, it started out in 1992 as a petting zoo for small fry and has since expanded to include 106 species, from Shetland ponies…

Joe R. Lansdale

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Nacogdoches boy Joe R. Lansdale is a veteran purveyor of horror and crime fiction, much of it pulpy at best. Still, all that writing has paid off in his latest novel, The Bottoms, which lands firmly in the mainstream-fiction category. Relax, phobe-o-philes—he still delivers a full dose of fear, East…

Cameron Park Zoo, Waco

Sep 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

If Waco’s zoo were a book of the Bible, it would be Revelation. The famously Baptist town is home to a large and handsome zoo, one that deserves the full name “zoological park.” Covering 52 acres along the Brazos River, the Cameron Park Zoo was relocated and renovated—transformed, really—in 1993,…

The Devils Tiger

Aug 31, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Texas novels come in all stripes, but leave it to veteran writer Robert Flynn of San Antonio to introduce the species of the tiger tale to this neck of the woods. Collaborating with the late Dan Klepper, Flynn has released The Devils Tiger, a wild story about a Russian veterinarian…

The Eye of Horus

Jul 31, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Set largely during the reign of King Tutankhamen, this treasure-filled mystery will have other writers regretfully murmuring, “Tut, tut.” The third novel by Austin’s Carol Thurston, it brims with mummies, gods, and pharaohs, providing a mega-fix for Egyptophiles and a great read for everyone else. The Eye of Horus begins…

Hot Books

Jun 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

If time, money, or other constraints prevent you from answering the call of the open road this summer, you can still take a long trip—at least vicariously—with Larry McMurtry. Roads, his latest effort, is a look at America’s highways, and in a way, a larger-scale version of In a Narrow…

E’er Heads

Jun 30, 2000 By Anne Dingus

I think, therefore iamb: My personal tour of the history of bad Texas poetry, from best to versed, prose to cons.

World of Pies

May 31, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Some authors dream up bizarre murders and other aberrations to thicken their plots. World of Pies proves that even the simplest of stories can leave readers fully satisfied. The first novel by Austinite Karen Stolz, World of Pies is about coming of age in a small Texas town—specifically…

A Twist at the End: A Novel of O. Henry

Apr 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

HI, SAYLOR Austin’s grisly past. IN AUSTIN IN 1885 the talk of the town was the series of unsolved ax murders of eight people — most of them maids or young mothers — by unknown fiends who were dubbed the Servant Girl Annihilators. Today Steven Saylor’s fictional take on the…

Can Doodle

Apr 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

From the fabulous, furry Gilbert Shelton to the hypercaffeinated Shannon Wheeler, these celebrated Texas cartoonists will surely draw you in.

Mission Collectible

Mar 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Cuff links? A commemorative plate? For Alamo hobbyists like me, rule number one is, Never surrender or retreat from the chance to snag a few iconic tchotchkes.

The House of Gentle Men

Feb 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

In this quaintly addictive tale, the house of the title is a sort of anti-bordello for women, where the male residents provide lovelorn ladies not with sex but with solace, sweetness, and romance. The adroitness with which Kathy Hepinstall carries off this surreal premise is all the more impressive given…

Gypsy Songman

Jan 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Gypsy Songman (Woodford Press) is the 57-year odyssey of Ronald Clyde Crosby from Oneonta, New York, to Austin, Texas, with whistle-stops for rowdy intoxication, music-making, and, ultimately, sobriety and happiness. You might know him as Jerry Jeff Walker. Précis: He lived it up, he’s living it down. by Mike Shea…

One Day’s Perfect Weather

Jan 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Emotional worlds away, One Day’s Perfect Weather is a catalog of damage and loss among the cognoscenti. It’s a measure of Daniel Stern’s skill that his conceit of building urbane stories on the frames of well-known poetry and music is wholly successful. The U of H professor dispatches his protagonists…

The Last King of Texas

Jan 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Raise your margarita to Rick Riordan for the authentic portrait of his hometown, San Antonio, in The Last King of Texas , his third Tres Navarre mystery. This time out, Navarre finds himself embroiled in an open-and-shut case that won’t stay closed. Engagingly cast with the likes of boss Erainya…

Art of the Boot

Jan 1, 2000 By Anne Dingus

Tyler Beard is Texas’—and thus the world’s—top authority on Western wear, and his latest tome is this kicky compendium on the sole of the American West. The author, who lives on a ranch near Goldthwaite, tracks the history of the cowboy boot, tips his hat to 28 custom bootmakers around…

Mickey Leland

Nov 1, 1999 By Anne Dingus

DURING THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES, emotional issues abounded—civil rights, the Vietnam War, women’s liberation. But what outraged social activist Mickey Leland the most was hunger, and the fact that it existed in his own Houston neighborhood. Early on, Leland’s passion for helping the common people catapulted him into the spotlight.

Dead Beat

Sep 30, 1999 By Anne Dingus

For an outing that’ll make you go stark graving mad, visit Texas’ peaceful old cemeteries—and experience the esprit de corpse.