The authors of Polarized are thoughtful exemplars of a lost ethic who care more about commonality than victory.
Let’s say you wanted to host a public conversation that would demonstrate civil disagreement and the search for common ground between two people with seemingly irreconcilable worldviews. Who would you recruit to play the antagonists? Ben Shapiro and Rebecca Solnit? … Read More
Another entry in the overcrowded genre of grief memoir, A Song for the River is beautifully written but plumbs all-too-familiar territory.
How many grief memoirs is enough grief memoirs? That would be an absurdly unfair question to ask an author, of course, but I’m starting to think that a reader could be forgiven for wondering. Maybe I’ve been reading off the … Read More
Dallas author Brantley Hargrove’s new biography of storm chaser Tim Samaras is a streamlined primer in tornado science — and a hell of a story.
At least he died doing what he loved. Brantley Hargrove doesn’t write a single sentence so crassly clichéd in The Man Who Caught the Storm. (He also doesn’t once describe a tornado as sounding “like a train,” for which he … Read More
"The Kings of Big Spring" conveys the difficulties and deprivations stared down by the Depression era's 99 percent.
Profundity alert: when a book’s subtitle contains the word “American,” never mind the phrase “American Dream,” you know you’re dealing with an author — or at least a marketing department — with ambitions beyond the story at hand. (I’ve done … Read More
‘The Most Dangerous Man in America’ is a Pleasant Flashback to One of the Wildest Stories of the ’60s
In this deeply reported new book, two Texas authors interrogate the deeper meaning of Timothy Leary, Richard Nixon and LSD.
I was born in 1967. The 1960s, for me and most people my age and younger, are almost purely an abstraction. I’ve familiarized myself with more than a few facets of the decade’s art and literature and politics, and a … Read More
In 'All the Agents and Saints,' Stephanie Elizondo Griest doesn't just describe her country's in-between zones. She inhabits them.
There’s an almost throwaway bit of scene-setting late in All the Agents and Saints, just a few pages from the book’s end, that explains a lot about its writer. A friend of a friend is throwing a pool party, Stephanie … Read More
The pictographs of the Pecos River have lasted millennia in a tempestuous desert, surviving mostly in silence. Now an archaeologist has cracked the code — and they can begin to speak again.
The pictographs of the lower Pecos have lasted millennia in a tempestuous desert, surviving mostly in silence. Now that a code has been cracked, and they can begin to speak again, archaeologist Carolyn Boyd worries there may not be enough time to hear everything they have to say. Read More
Karen Olsson's novel is about coming to terms with the past in a family — and maybe in a country — that too often refuses to acknowledge any tense but the unreflective present.
Karen Olsson's novel is about coming to terms with the past in a family — and maybe in a country — that too often refuses to acknowledge any tense but the unreflective present. Read More
Cecile Pineda's 'Apology to a Whale' describes a disease, and seeks a cure, in language.
What is an appropriate response to the imminent end of the world? Well, first, a skeptic might reasonably beg the question, since the world as we know it (according to a variety of sources, some more risible than others) has been … Read More