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Texas Observer EDITORIAL Books, Books, and TO, Too This special 48-page edition of the Observer is devoted to booksand libraries. First the libraries. Not long ago Charlotte McCann discovered that her branch library did not subscribe to the Observer. That’s bad enough, but what we found particularly distressing was the fact that her local branch of the Austin Public Library system is named after the late Senator Ralph Yarborough, whose career was based on the same kind of progressive politics that this publication has advocated since its founding in 1954.That got us to thinking that as we approach our 50th anniversary it was time to revive an old and honored TO tradition and urge our loyal friends and subscribers to donate a subscription of the Observer to the library of their choice. On pages 22-23 you will find a partial listing of public libraries in this state that do NOT carry the Observer. We’ll publish the rest of the listing in our next issue, and will post the entire list on our Internet site. Unfortunately, we can’t publish the names of all the branch libraries, so even if you don’t see a particular city on this list, don’t assume that every branch in its system offers SUMMER BREAK FOR THE OBSERVER With this record-breaking 48page Summer Books Issue, we take a brief, well-deserved break from our editorial responsibilities and the sky-high temperatures of Austin in August. The Observer office will be closed from August 4 through August 10. The cover date on your next issue will be August 29, when we return with our regular political columns, extensive coverage of irregular Texas politics, and much, much more. the Observer. Call and find out. Okay, enough of the pitch. Now it’s back to what we like to refer around here as “Books and the Culture.” Among the contributors we’ve lined up for the issue are five former TO editors and several James A. Michener Fellows from the University of Texas at UTAustin. Simply keeping track of such a distinguished and highly mobile group is clearly no easy feat. We are enormously grateful to our small, but infinitely wonderful, crew of interns and volunteers who have helped make the Books Issue possible. We also want to recognize not only the talent, but also the great patience of artist Doug Potter, who created the cover caricatures of Rips, Jim Hightower, Dave Denison, Lou Dubose, and Molly Ivins. Special thanks also goes El Paso photographer Richard Baron. Several months ago Richard sent us a series of profiles portraits and oral histories of El Paso writers, artists, musicians, and others connected in some way to the arts in El Pasowith a note, wondering if we might be interested in them. Like the stories of Brownsville’s Oscar Casares, whose work is also reviewed in this issue, Richard Baron’s photographs and the longer oral histories that we’ve excerpted for his Photo Essay reflect still another aspect of life on the border, one so often missed in the media. They also remind us of something that the late Maury Maverick Jr. wrote on the occasion of the Observer’s 25th anniversary: “Besides politics, don’t we also have music, art, and literature in Texas? You won’t be sent to hell if you become more entertaining.” With a nod to Maury, we hope that’s the spirit behind not only the Books Issue, but behind every issue of the Observer. BB VOLUME 95, NO. 15 A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Co-Editors: Jake Bernstein, Barbara Belejack Session Reporter: Dave Mann Managing Publisher: Jim Ball Associate Publisher: Charlotte McCann Circulation Manager: Rosie Bamberger Chavez Art Director: Julia Austin Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Legislative Interns: Amber Novak, Emily Pyle Editorial Interns: Helen Ivor-Smith, Emily Rapp, Adriane Sack, Allison Stuntz Contributing Writers: Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Louis Dubose, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Dagoberto Gilb, Steven G. Kellman, Lucius Lomax, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Brad Tyer. Staff Photographers: Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum. Contributing Artists: Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Penny Van Horn, Gail Woods. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, John Kenneth Galbraith, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid. In Memoriam: Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001 Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 Texas Democracy Foundation Board: Ronnie Dugger, Marc Grossberg, Molly Ivins, D’Ann Johnson, Jim Marston, Gilberto Ocafias, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips. The Texas Observer entire contents copyrighted 2002, is published biweekly except every three weeks during January and August \(24 issues profit foundation, 307 West 7th Street, Austin,Texas 78701. Telephone: E-mail: [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page: www.texasobserver.org . Periodicals Postage Paid at Austin,Texas. Subscriptions: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year; add $13/year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access:The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin,Texas 78701. The Books & the Culture section is partially funded through grants from the City of Austin under the auspices of the Austin Arts Commission and the Writer’s League of Texas, both in cooperation with the Texas Commission on the Arts. 8/1/03 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3