Books

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

Books |
January 20, 2013

Rick Riordan

“You have to have action, you have to have humor, and you have to have emotional situations. And you have no time to waste. You have to get it all in there economically.”…

Books |
January 20, 2013

Expatriate Act

While some Texas-born writers had to leave home to do their best work, for John Graves the reverse was true.

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

Lady Bird

In this excerpt from Means of Ascent, the shy, withdrawn young wife of Lyndon Johnson reveals a presence and command that took everyone by surprise—including her husband.

Texas History |
January 20, 2013

Lyndon Johnson on the Record

Working on his memoir one day in 1969, LBJ spoke more frankly into a tape recorder about the Kennedys, Vietnam, and other subjects than he ever had before. The transcript of that tape has never been published—until now. Michael Beschloss explains its historical significance.

Books |
January 20, 2013

If you’ve never read or seen Lonesome Dove . . .

The opening scenes of Lonesome Dove take place at the Hat Creek Cattle Company, a small ranch in Lonesome Dove, Texas, just north of the Rio Grande. Hat Creek is operated by two old Texas Rangers, the taciturn Woodrow Call and the talkative Augustus “Gus” McCrae. Among their hands are…

Books |
January 20, 2013

A Tale Of Two Endings

– 1 – Gus and Call’s friendship may be at the heart of Lonesome Dove, but the book’s ending points in another direction. When Call returns to Lonesome Dove after burying Gus, he encounters the town’s barber, Dillard Brawley. “What happened to the saloon?” Call asks, having noticed that the…

Books |
January 20, 2013

Catcher in the Raw

Forty years after its publication, Horseman, Pass By is still one of Larry McMurtry's finest novels—and as groundbreaking as J. D. Salinger's masterpiece.

Books |
January 20, 2013

King of Diamonds

Larry L. King is at work on a novel about minor league baseball in Texas in the fifties. Breaking Balls is a fictionalized account of his experiences covering the “miserable 144-game schedule” of the Midland Indians as a $55-a-week reporter for the Midland Reporter-Telegram in 1951. “I went to all…

Books |
January 20, 2013

The Texpatriates

As Sandra Scofield, Shelby Hearon, and Janet Peery are proving, you don’t have to live in Texas to be a Texas writer.

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

The Evolver

“All you’ve got is a famous name,” a Republican operative told George W. Bush. But six years later he was governor, and six years after that he was president. And six years after that, his place in history—not to mention the fate of the world—is a little uncertain.

Books |
January 20, 2013

Nation State

Does anyone outside of Texas care about Texas history? H. W. Brands hopes so, and he's not the only one.

News & Politics |
January 20, 2013

Newspaper Days

Once upon a time, Molly Ivins was just a kid from River Oaks with an internship at the Houston Chronicle. Her time there set her on the path to becoming the most famous firebrand in Texas.

Books |
January 20, 2013

The Woman On Top

So what if Sandra Brown’s novels have wildly implausible plot twists, banal endings, over-the- top characters, and other literary no-no’s. She’s published nearly 70 of them since 1981, and 55 have gone on to be best-sellers. We’re sure the sex scenes have nothing to do with it.

Books |
August 31, 2012

A Q&A With Brené Brown

Brené Brown discusses her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Gotham Books) and her 2010 TED talk on vulnerability.

Books |
July 31, 2012

Hecho en Brownsville

The grand opening of a new H-E-B in McAllen drew crowds—including several who showed up to hear a native son read from his collection of locally set short stories.

Books |
May 31, 2012

It’s Not About the Guv

There’s more to Texas politics than Rick Perry. Gail Collins's new book demonstrates that the Northeastern media establishment doesn't understand that.

Books |
May 23, 2012

Who’s Kinkier? Dallas or Houston?

There are 1,101 Houstonians on the waiting list to read one of the 38 library copies of 50 Shades of Grey. But the libraries of North Texas have stocked 148 copies and still have 829 people on hold.

Books |
April 30, 2012

From Blogging to Book Deal

Houston Chronicle blogger Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) found herself at the center of a two-day auction among twelve publishing houses for the rights to her debut memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. How did she rise from unpaid blogger to New York Times bestseller?…

Books |
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.

Books |
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.

Books |
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.

Books |
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…

Books |
March 31, 2011

An Excerpt From Trillin on Texas

Introduction Yes, 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…