Books

Twelve Books

Walter Cronkite’s announcement of JFK’s assassination. The televised shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. The Zapruder film. The Warren Commission.

In that avalanche of history, a new book suggests we’ve lost sight of something important: specifically, the seedbed for the most momentous political tragedy of 20th century America.

It’s the story of "Dallas, 1963." That’s the title of a new book by Stephen L. Davis and Bill Minutaglio.

Minutaglio talks with KUT’s David Brown about why he describes the book as a “biography of a city,” and what lessons may have been overlooked by history.  

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Randall Kennedy, the Michael R. Klein Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of "For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action and the Law."

Affirmative action is perhaps one of the most divisive policies in this country. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding Fisher vs. University of Texas , affirmative action is once again making headlines. 

Putnam Books

One hundred years ago, a president took office who would set the course of the American century, end an era of isolationism, set the stage for the New Deal and eventually become one of the most controversial and fundamentally misunderstood figures ever to lead the nation.

A new biography corrects a lot of misconceptions about the 28th president, but perhaps more importantly humanizes and brings to life an important figure in the American narrative.

Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival has revealed its 2013 lineup. Headliners include three writers who currently sit on the New York Times best seller list: Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth), Mark Leibovich (This Town), and Scott Anderson (Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East).

Other big names include:

  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson – Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas
  • Lawrence Wright – Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
  • R.L. Stine – A Midsummer Night's Scream

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

What do you get when you mix Attila the Hun, deep space exploration and a the space-time continuum? For that answer you’d have to ask author James Rollins – whose new book, the Eye of God, has elements of all three.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

If you’re ever looking to take a barbecue road trip through Texas, you’d have trouble finding a better book to guide you than The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue by Daniel Vaughn. It’s the first book published on Anthony Bourdain’s new HarperCollins imprint, Ecco. KUT’s Nathan Bernier talked with Vaughn about what goes into good brisket and how to find the good out-of-the-way spots.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Imagine: The world as you know it has ended. People are gone. Food is scarce. Vicious animal roam freely. You are alone, fighting an enemy so devious, so powerful, so undetectable, you question your own sanity. You are 16.

That is the premise of Rick Yancey’s new young-adult novel, The 5th Wave. KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke with Yancey about the existential questions the characters grapple with along the way.

Sheryl Sandberg's controversial new book on women and leadership, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, currently tops Amazon's best-seller list in "Business Management and Leadership" alongside Decisive (Chip Heath and Dan Heath),

Louisa Hall left the leafy suburbs of Philadelphia for Texas. And it was this move that prompted her to set her first novel back in those environs - both the good and bad of them.

Meredith Zinner

Domenica Ruta had a childhood some kids would envy- ice cream for breakfast; shopping trips and movies instead of school sometimes; no real rules at home. But for every dream moment like those, there were the nightmares, too - a drug addicted mother; the constant threat of violence; and the joking encouragement to become a teen mother.

Random House

Galveston Island is famous for many things: miles of beaches, its many festivals and Victorian architecture – and its sea wall – that was built after the hurricane of 1900. That was the deadliest hurricane in US history – and it rewrote the history of Galveston.

Texas author Elizabeth Black has set that famous hurricane at the center of a mystery in her first novel, “The Drowning House." Just as Galveston’s modern history is built on the foundation of the great hurricane, so is the narrative, set moodily in the city’s historic district. 

Austin is home to a lot of weird stuff: bat tributes, floating marching bands, Hippie Hollow. In his new book, Dreams and Shadows, Austin author C. Robert Cargill delves deep into the dark heart of the city’s inner weirdness, using a little myth and legend as punctuation for a truly unique story. He spoke with KUT’s Emily Donahue about his work and his inspiration.

This Valentine's Day, if you're feeling lonely, heartbroken, or just a bit jaundiced, we've got some archive treasures for you — tempestuous relationships, cartoon heartbreak, and a few books that may make you feel less alone — plus a bonus playlist from our good friends at NPR Music.

Penguin

Tracy Chevalier spent years researching her famous novel The Girl with a Pearl Earring, a fictionalized backstory of the woman behind the famous painting by Vermeer. She did the same thing for her latest novel, The Last Runaway, a story that takes an outsider’s look at American slavery during the mid-19th century. A young Quaker named Honor Bright sails from England bound for a new life in Ohio. From the moment she boards the ship, her adventure is nothing like she imagined.

Kenny Braun

 Audio FileKUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Austin author Lawrence Wright about his latest book "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief."Edit | Remove

What do Gloria Swanson and Tom Cruise have in common?

Joy Diaz

La Jueza de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de los Estados Unidos, Sonia Sotomayor vino a Austin esta semana a promover su libro My Beloved World, (Mi Mundo Amado). En el libro, la señora Sotomayor invita a los lectores a conocerla de una manera muy íntima. A través de cada página, uno puede entender las circunstancias que forjaron su destino.

Joy Diaz/KUT News

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is in Austin today promoting her new memoir My Beloved World, which gives readers an intimate look into the circumstances that shaped her character.

The mandolinist Chris Thile, better known for his work with the bluegrass band Nickel Creek, and the novelist Junot Díaz, who won a Pulitzer for his novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, are among those awarded 2012 "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The 23 MacArthur fellows will receive $500,000 over the next five years. They are allowed to do whatever they wish with the money, whether that's continue their work or change fields.

Larry McMurtry is perhaps best known for novels like The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove; but the author also has a career as a bookseller.

His store, Booked Up, spills across four buildings in his small hometown of Archer City, Texas, and houses nearly half a million rare and used books. But starting this Friday, McMurtry is holding an auction to whittle down that number — by a lot.

Vania Stoyanova

Deborah Harkness isn’t as well known as J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. But with the publication of “Shadow of Night,” the second tome in her supernatural “All Souls” trilogy, that may be about to change.

“Shadow of Night” picks up right where her last book, “A Discovery of Witches,” left off, with heroine Diana Bishop and her vampire lover, Matthew Roydon, pulling off a daring escape. But she soon learns her escape – which sends her through time to 16th century England – poses additional threats.

Set in a supernatural world where demons, vampires and witches intermingle and overlap with the  historical figures Harkness studies as a professor, the “All Souls” trilogy has already been acquired by Hollywood. KUT News recently spoke with Harkness on her work, its reception, and what’s next.

Image courtesy Ace Books

Author Charlaine Harris may not be a household name, but her creation Sookie Stackhouse is. The spunky, problem-prone heroine of Harris’ supernatural fiction series – the inspiration for HBO’s hit series “True Blood” – is at it again in “Deadlocked,” the latest in the Stackhouse series.

Harris will be at BookPeople this Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. She recently spoke with KUT News about “Deadlocked,” achieving success after a tumultuous start, and her post-Stackhouse plans.

KUT News: “Deadlocked” is the twelfth in the Sookie Stackhouse series, correct?

Charlaine Harris: Yes, the twelfth, the penultimate book. I just felt like I had said everything about Sookie that I had it in me to say, and I really don’t like to extend the series when the heat isn’t in me.

Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are became a perennial and award-winning favorite for generations of children, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Image courtesy Harry Ransom Center

Today, Feb. 21, marks what would have been the 50th birthday of David Foster Wallace.

The postmodern author – famous for his sprawling novel Infinite Jest, and collections of essays and reports – would be 50 years old today. Suffering from depression, Wallace took his life in 2008.

Photo by QuesterMark http://www.flickr.com/photos/0ccam/

While Borders Bookstores could begin liquidation across the country as soon as Friday, Austin’s three locations are already long gone. Their evaporation was followed by a slight bump in sales at Austin’s largest independent book retailer, but that doesn’t mean BookPeople’s  owner is excited to see Borders disappear.

“I actually feel kind of bad about it because I think it’s bad not to have more showrooms,” BookPeople CEO Steve Bercu told KUT News, who worries about the implications for publishers to lose hundreds of thousands of square feet of display space.

Image courtesy Anthony Librarian http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonylibrarian/

As some brick-and-mortar book retailers struggle to remain profitable in the digital age, Dallas-based Half Price Books announced it will start selling its used books on its website.

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