Walter Prescott Webb.

Books

Reviews, profiles, and interviews that capture the diverse voices adding to Texas’s rich literary tradition

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October 31, 2011

Black Like Him

Fifty years after it first electrified the nation, Dallas native John Howard Griffin’s classic book still has something to tell us.

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September 30, 2011

Sacred Mistrust

In Donna M. Johnson's memoir of a Pentecostal childhood, religious zeal and illicit love nearly tear a family apart.

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July 31, 2011

Gunfire and Brimstone

Fort Worth preacher J. Frank Norris paved the way for today’s televangelists. But he’s probably best known as the defendant in a wild 1927 murder trial.

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May 31, 2011

The Book of Elmer

Texas Christian University Press, long the hub of Elmer Kelton hagiography, has just released its newest paterikon, Elmer Kelton: Essays and Memories ($19.95), a collection of pieces written in honor of the beloved West Texas author, who died nearly two years ago. Among the memories are those of the Reverend

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March 31, 2011

An Excerpt From Trillin on Texas

IntroductionYes, I do have a Texas connection, but, as we’d say in the Midwest, where I grew up, not so’s you’d know it. I come from an immigrant family. Although my father sounded like Harry Truman and freely used phrases like “Haven’t had so much fun since the hogs ate

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June 30, 2010

Welcome to Utopia (Notes from a Small Town)

Entertainment Weekly staffer Karen Valby visited Utopia (population 241) in 2006 for an article about American backwaters relatively untouched by popular culture. Intrigued, she returned to research her first book, Welcome to Utopia (Notes from a Small Town), a deftly executed look at the stereotype of a one-horse

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June 30, 2010

Justin Cronin

The 47-year-old Rice University professor has taken a hard left turn in his writing career, following up his acclaimed literary novel The Summer Guest (2004) with the just-published The Passage, volume one of a near-future sci-fi trilogy populated by violent vampires (not the dreamy romantics we’ve seen of late) and

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April 30, 2010

Anna Mitchael

Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am’s subtitle—How I Ditched the South for the Big City, Forgot My Manners, and Managed to Survive My Twenties With (Most of) My Dignity Still Intact—might be unwieldy, but it provides a handy précis of this colorful memoir about the not-always-glamorous adventures of a young advertising

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April 30, 2010

The Marrowbone Marble Company

Loyal Ledford of Huntington, West Virginia, is the unassuming central figure of THE MARROWBONE MARBLE COMPANY, the lyrical second novel from Texas State grad GLENN TAYLOR, whose debut, The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart, was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award. Ledford’s world is shaped by three

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February 1, 2010

David R. Dow

The founder of the Texas Innocence Network, who is also the litigation director at the Texas Defender Service and a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, uses his hard-won knowledge of the state legal system to maximum effect in his fifth book, The Autobiography of an Execution.

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December 1, 2009

Joan Schenkar

The award-winning dramatist (Signs of Life: Six Comedies of Menace) looks to the Texas roots of novelist Patricia Highsmith to explain the traits and compulsions that informed her life. In The Talented Miss Highsmith, she explores the crime writer’s journals and love letters to reveal a complex and erratic

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September 30, 2009

Neil Sheehan

The Massachusetts-born journalist has never been afraid to rankle the establishment: In 1971 he obtained the infamous Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg, which uncovered the government’s secret history of the war in Vietnam, and his 1988 Vietnam exposé, A Bright Shining Lie, earned him a National Book Award and a

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August 31, 2009

High Society

Colum McCann’s new novel revolves around Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974.

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January 1, 2009

Robb Walsh

Sex, Death & Oysters: A Half-Shell Lover’s World Tour captures the Houston food writer at his best, offering culinary insight, scientific fact, and offbeat humor as he travels the globe in search of the truth about oysters (including their alleged resemblance to the female anatomy and occasional fatal effects). His

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December 1, 2008

Jeff  Guinn

At 735 pages, The Christmas Chronicles might inspire a deeply felt ho-ho-ho-hum from the Santa-averse. But don’t shun these three newly compiled “as told to” Yule novels from the Fort Worth author (The Autobiography of Santa Claus, How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas, and The Great Santa Search). With their

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May 31, 2008

Desperate Housewives

In this excerpt from writer-at-large Sarah Bird’s new novel, How Perfect Is That, the realities of life in early twenty-first century Austin become all-too-clear to a defrocked socialite.

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May 31, 2008

The Franchise Babe

As the father of the golf novel (exhibit A: Dead Solid Perfect, circa 1974), Fort Worth’s Dan Jenkins holds license in perpetuity to exercise the genre’s clichés, which he does with relish in The Franchise Babe. Self-absorbed pro golfers and sizzling golf moms in “jacked-up minis” are just

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May 31, 2008

Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found

San Antonio–born journalist Marie Brenner borrowed her memoir’s title, Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found, from the childhood nickname given to her and her older brother, Carl, with whom she was endlessly at odds. The nickname takes on a more literal aspect when Carl

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May 31, 2008

Sam Gosling

A decade of research by this University of Texas at Austin psychology prof has led to new ways of understanding the relationship between individuals and the spaces they inhabit, as he now reveals with Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.Snoop posits that our possessions open a window onto

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April 30, 2008

Bill Bishop

In The Big Sort, the Austin political blogger and Pulitzer finalist addresses America’s tendency to segment itself into tiny, like-minded groups (a phenomenon he calls clustering).How did the “big sort” notion come to be, and what does it signify?[Sociologist] Robert Cushing and I began exploring why some places

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April 30, 2008

Holy Moly

Word is that Ben Rehder might drop the curtain on his snarky Blanco County mystery series with Holy Moly, the sixth novel featuring square-jawed Johnson City game warden John Marlin. If so, the Austinite goes out on a high note with this screwball tale about “pastorpreneur” Peter Boothe,

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April 30, 2008

Bill Bishop

In The Big Sort, the Austin political blogger and Pulitzer finalist for editorial writing addresses America’s tendency to segment itself into tiny, like-minded groups (a phenomenon he calls “clustering”).How did the “big sort” notion come to be, and what does it signify?[Sociologist] Robert Cushing and I began exploring

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March 31, 2008

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The best-selling Houston-based writer sets her new novel, The Palace of Illusions, in the fifth millennium BCE. Based on India’s epic Mahabharat poem, it examines love and war from the perspective of Princess Panchaali. (Read an excerpt.)The Palace of Illusions is a re-imagining of the

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March 31, 2008

Dog of Love

Like Joe Ely, Jo Carol Pierce grew up in the dusty vacuum of Lubbock, and though she was part of the town’s famed clique of talent, only in her late forties did she begin to take her writing seriously. She penned and performed Bad Girls Upset by the Truth,

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March 31, 2008

Willie Nelson: An Epic Life

The first time nine-year-old Booger Red got drunk on beer, he decided, “I had already fucked up more ways than God was going to put up with . . . so I had in mind, the sky’s the limit from here on, I mean I can’t go to hell twice.”

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