Walter Prescott Webb.

Books

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

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March 31, 2008

The Story of Forgetting

Stefan Merrill Block is a talent. Though his debut novel, The Story of Forgetting, sings a bit from the Jonathan Safran Foer hymnal (a precocious teen trying to unravel his family’s tragic history), the Plano native distinguishes himself with inventive plotting and an urbane Texas voice. High Plains

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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.)What concerns did you have in tackling such a beloved

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March 1, 2008

Names on a Map

In his sixth novel, Names on a Map, Benjamin Alire Saenz writes about America’s hypercharged Vietnam era with the stoic calm that you might expect from a former priest (which he is). The war has crossed the Pacific to visit the Espejo family in their El Paso home:

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March 1, 2008

The Flowers

Meet Sonny Bravo, the sweet but surly almost-sixteen-year-old who shrugs his way through The Flowers, Austinite Dagoberto Gilb’s first novel since 1994’s The Last Known Residence of Micky Acuña. At Los Flores— the East L.A. apartment building where Sonny lives with his mother, Silvia, and her redneck husband,

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March 1, 2008

Terry Moore

In June 2007 the Houston artist, writer, and publisher wrapped up his Strangers in Paradise comic book series after a fourteen-year run. He writes Runaways and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane for Marvel Comics, and he is now launching Echo, a new superhero series.Has Echo been percolating for a while?When

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March 1, 2008

Interview with Terry Moore

In June 2007 the Houston artist, writer, and publisher wrapped up his Strangers in Paradise comic book series after a fourteen-year run. He writes Runaways and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane for Marvel Comics, and he is now launching Echo, a new superhero series.How did Strangers in Paradise differ at

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March 1, 2008

Mudbound

The Jim Crow realities of a forties Mississippi cotton farm form a somber background for Mudbound, the long-awaited debut by Texas native Hillary Jordan. It’s a bitter tale of two World War II heroes, a bomber pilot and a tank commander, who return from the war to quite

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February 1, 2008

Ben Fountain

An overnight success at the halfway point in his life—but better late than never, especially when the payoff is an apt comparison to Graham Greene. Born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Fountain majored in English at the University of North Carolina and got a law degree from Duke University. He

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February 1, 2008

Bruce Sterling

The Brownsville native and longtime Austinite has spent most of his adult life contemplating the future: A progenitor of the scruffy cyberpunk fiction movement (he edited the short-story anthology Mirrorshades and co-authored The Difference Engine with William Gibson), he has penned ten sci-fi novels and several works of nonfiction, including

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January 1, 2008

Kathy L. Patrick

This boisterous bookseller runs a Jefferson hair salon/bookstore, Beauty and the Book, that is a bastion of independent literary thinking—and egalitarian fun. She shares her Texas joie de vivre in The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life.What exactly is a Pulpwood Queen?The Pulpwood Queens are the largest

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January 1, 2008

How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move?

Austinite Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay became a poster boy for the learning potential of autistic children with his first book, The Mind Tree, a collection of stories and poems he wrote between the ages of eight and eleven. In How Can I Talk If My Lips Don’t Move: inside

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January 1, 2008

The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy

We’ll take Robert Leleux at his word when he declares in The Memoirs of a Beautiful Boy that, growing up in tiny Petunia, he didn’t know he was gay until he was seventeen and unexpectedly googly-eyed over his dance instructor at a community theater. Literary license or not,

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October 31, 2007

Grazing Across Texas: Rod, Gun & Ranch Cooking

Tosh Brown will be the first to admit that he has no business writing a cookbook.“We were very careful to put ‘photography and commentary by Tosh Brown,’” he said with a smile. “These are not my recipes. There are a lot of people out there that know me that know

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September 30, 2007

Books That Cook

No misnomer seems more indelible to Texas than the conflation of “Mexican” food and “Tex-Mex.” And, in her recently published cookbook Mexican Light: Healthy Cuisine for Today’s Cook/Cocina Mexicana Ligera: Para el Cocinero Actual, Kris Randolph, a native of Houston who now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and

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August 31, 2007

Books That Cook

Life is too short to enjoy cocktail hour with a bag of Doritos. In Kate Heyhoe’s new book Great Bar Food at Home, we learn that you can have a sophisticated bar atmosphere in the comfort of your own pad. You just have to plan. And Heyhoe is ready to

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July 31, 2007

Books That Cook

Author Denise Gee comes from a long line of Southerners who like to imbibe. Growing up in Natchez, Mississippi, she observed her fair share of Southern belles and seersuckered gentlemen with drink in hand. Eventually, cocktail hour became a distinctly personal and cultural experience for Gee, who set out

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February 1, 2007

Chasing Justice

As a Texas death row in-mate trying to prove himself innocent of a rape and murder in Tyler, KERRY MAX COOK was reminded of his fate every time another con made the death walk. CHASING JUSTICE is a hellish tour of a criminal justice system whose officers allegedly railroaded Cook

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February 1, 2007

Lost Echoes

In his newest genre-bending thriller, LOST ECHOES, six-time Bram Stoker Award winner JOE R. LANSDALE writes, as always, with the ease of a man born to the task. Meet young Harry Wilkes, of Mud Creek, who hears “dark sounds” from violent events of the past in the places they occurred.

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February 1, 2007

Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track

ROLLERGIRL: TOTALLY TRUE TALES FROM THE TRACK, the memoir from Austin roller derby star MELISSA “MELICIOUS” JOULWAN, proves the cliché: You really can’t judge a book by its cover. In this case, a photo of two leggy skaters in the miniest of skirts (and is that a flash of panty?)

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January 1, 2007

Murder Among the OWLS: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery

MURDER AMONG THE OWLS, the fourteenth offering in BILL CRIDER’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery series, has no literary conceits; it is nothing more—nor less—than a pleasant police procedural set in the sleepy burg of Clearview. This time out, Rhodes is faced with the apparent slip-and-fall death of seventyish neighbor Helen

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January 1, 2007

Sunset Limited

Imagine a stage play with two characters in a ghetto tenement debating the value of life: White is a professor who jumped in front of a train, and Black is the ex-con who rescued him. This is the premise, weighted with all the pretensions of an Intro to Dramaturgy effort,

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January 1, 2007

Alternadad

Even the most cynical hipsters are terminally charmed by their own offspring, which explains how the birth of NEAL POLLACK’S first child, Elijah, sparked the satirist’s transformation—with the publication of ALTERNADAD and an online column of the same name—into America’s postmodern Erma Bombeck. Pollack writes of moving from Philly to

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June 30, 2006

Body of Work

For twenty years, the Southwestern Writers Collection, on the campus of Texas State University, in San Marcos, has gathered up manuscripts, personal papers, photos, and other mementos from various icons and at least one outlaw. Want to have a look-see?

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February 1, 2006

Knight Time

Mark Heisler and Steve Delsohn, who wrote Bob Knight: The Unauthorized Biography, talk about their book, Bob Knight, and basketball.

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February 1, 2006

Good Knight? Good Luck!

When Texas Tech University hired Bob Knight to coach the Red Raiders basketball team, in 2001, he was, er, a known quantity. And in every possible sense, he’s lived up to his billing.

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January 1, 2006

Louis Sachar

“Any idea you can think up and plan out isn’t going to be that good. There’s no way I could have thought up all of Holes beforehand.”

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July 31, 2005

Fame Game

Writer-at-large Don Graham on why Cormac McCarthy wouldn’t win a popularity contest against John Grisham or Tom Clancy—and why that’s a good thing.

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January 1, 2005

The Language of the Sycamores

There is nothing subtle about THE LANGUAGE OF SYCAMORES (New American Library), the latest novel from LISA WINGATE, a Central Texas writer who moonlights as an inspirational speaker (or vice versa). Wingate delivers a relentlessly uplifting message in the voice of narrator Karen Sommerfield, who is struggling to weather a

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January 1, 2005

Judgement Days

Lyndon Johnson cited passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as the proudest moment of his presidency, and in JUDGMENT DAYS (Houghton Mifflin), Pulitzer prize—winning journalist NICK KOTZ puzzles together the complex alliance between LBJ and Martin Luther King Jr. that resulted in the landmark civil rights accomplishments of

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November 1, 2004

Accentuate The Negative

To read a Patricia Highsmith novel is to suspend one’s moral judgments. She irresistibly persuades us to side with killers and other amoral characters.

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August 31, 2004

Larry McMurtry

“I like to go out at night. I like to sit in a nice room and look at beautiful women. I don't want to just sit on my back porch drinking scotch, and there isn’t much more to do in Archer City.”

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January 1, 2004

Bum Books

These titles are sure to get a laugh—or at least a smile—from even the most somber bookworms.

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November 1, 2003

Eye On America

The co-authors of a new book about the assassination of JFK talk about how that tragic event changed the way the media cover news.

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July 31, 2003

Killing Time

Stephen Graham Jones's All the Beautiful Sinners is a wild-eyed thriller; Amanda Eyre Ward's Sleep Toward Heaven is a tale of grief, forgiveness, and the death penalty.

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April 30, 2003

Not Moving On

Fifteen years after Larry McMurtry announced he was through writing novels, he shows no sign of letting up. For this we should be thankful.

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January 1, 2003

Master Class

No one took the literature of Texas or the Southwest seriously until J. Frank Dobie put it, and us, on the map.

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December 1, 2002

Ranch Undressing

Writer-at-large Don Graham discusses this month's cover story "The Secret History," and his forthcoming book on the King Ranch, King of Texas.

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November 1, 2002

Entrevista con Mario Vargas Llosa

EL ESCRITOR PERUANO MARIO VARGAS Llosa viene a Houston el 11 de noviembre como invitado del Margarett Root Brown Reading Series. El novelista, crítico literario, dramaturgo y ensayista es considerado uno de los más grandes escritores hispanoamericanos de nuestro siglo. Entre sus obras se encuentran las novelas La casa verde,

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