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FEATURE Read Any Good Books Lately? INTERVIEWS BY EMILY DEPRANG The book I am still in stunned disbelief about is Crazy Loco, by Austin/Edcouch writer David Rice. That’s mostly because I know this, uh, writer. I have been as shocked as everyone else that this dude could assemble a collection of young adult stories which are, amazingly, goodreally good too. We’re taiking tasteful, sensitive, not close to, like, snark-snark dirty or something like that. Assembling is one thing though, but anybody who knows Arroz would howl with the claim that he even wrote them: Quoting another writer: “Yeah, I was telling my fianc, Salma, about how great this book will be for our future young adult children:’ First question: When? The dude is out partying every night. Where, at the Star Bar? How? On the napkins? This dude don’t own a computer or even a typewriter! Most of us don’t particularly believe all his bragging that he graduated from college. This book could be the literary equivalent of an Enron or WorldCom scam. Except the point \(because we are talking is there, bound in a handsome hardback published in New York. Suspicion: He hired someone. Someone: A woman. A woman: Rice has some really, really bad taste in that area, and so the potential is that he charmed one so lonely and desperate and yet highly intelligent with literary abilitya strong possible explanation. Whatever the truth, whoever really wrote it, Crazy Loco goes under the author name of David Rice \(his “I got the look” Dagoberto Gilb’s most recent book is Woodcuts of Women Gritos will be published in 2003. This reissue of Strand’s books of verse from the 1970s is my first experience with his poems. What excites me about Strand’s voice in these poems is that it is so damn dry and unemotional but still, by the end of each poem, completely compelling. This is not light summer reading; this is intense, wrenching reading that will leave you dry-mouthed and reaching for your mint julep. Farid Matuk is a poet and freelance writer in Austin. I almost entirely read books about European history. And at the moment, I’m reading a very good book about the House of Rothschild, the great bankers who dominated European finance for 150 years. It’s by Niall Ferguson, a well-known British historian. It’s an enormous jobtwo volumes in the American edition, one very large volume in the English edition. I always have about four or five books going at the same time. I’m read ing a book by the famous English explorer-soldier Fitzroy MacLean called Eastern Approaches. It’s about some travels that he did in Russia and central Asia in the middle thirties. I’m also reading a memoir by his wife, Veronica MacLeanhe’s been dead for four or five yearscalled Past Forgetting. Then I’m reading a biography of Ivy Compton-Burnett, English author, called Ivy When Young, by Hilary Spurling. It’s the first volume of a two-volume biography. I don’t read fiction. I’ve got another book by Ambassador George Kennan called The Fateful Alliance, which is about how France and Russia watched World War I come on. But most of my reading is about what happened in Europe between 1870 and 1950, when the world changed, or really 1870 to 1914, when World War I came and changed the world. That’s what most of my reading is focused on. I’d like to understand how the world got the way it is. Larry McMurtry’s most recent book is Sin Killer \(Simon & DAGOBERTO GILB Crazy Loco by David Rice FARID MATUK The Story of Our Lives, with the Monument and the Late Hour by Mark Strand LARRY McMURTRY The House of Rothschild: Money’s Prophets, 1798-1848 by Niall Ferguson Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy MacLean Past Forgetting by Veronica MacLean Ivy When Young: the Early Life of I. Compton-Burnett by Hilary Spurling The Fateful Alliance by George Frost Kennan 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 8/2/02