I was lucky enough to read Attica Locke’s debut novel, Black Water Rising, in manuscript form more than ten years ago. Scenes from that wonderful book – which was set in Houston and went on to be shortlisted for the Orange Prize, not to mention nominated for several other awards – have stayed with me to this day. (Seriously, everyone, read Black Water Rising). And now, all these years later, Heaven, My Home (September 2019, Mulholland Books) reminds me once again why we should all consider ourselves lucky to have Attica Locke writing about Texas. This time, as she did in the Edgar Award winning Bluebird, Bluebird, she takes us to small town East Texas where Texas Ranger Darren Matthews searches for a young boy who’s gone missing on Caddo Lake. Before long, he’s entangled in a web of false accusations and unreliable witnesses, set against the backdrop of a town still grappling with its past and willing to make any sacrifice for its future. I couldn’t put this one down.
Michael Noll, Program Director
Zarzamora by Vincent Cooper Jade Publishing February 11, 2019
While reading this new poetry collection about the inhabitants of a street named after a fruit, it’s impossible not to think of Sandra Cisneros’ most famous work. But this San Antonio street is captured in a voice and tone all of Cooper’s own. The book weaves together an older narrator and his younger self in dreamlike lines.
Cooper will read from Zarzamora on October 24, 7 p.m., at Malvern Books along with Claudia Delfina Cardona and Laura Villareal. More info here.
Neena Husid, Leadership Austin Fellow
Writing to Persuade by Trish Hall Liveright June 11, 2019
Style books exist in plenitude. But not many invite you into the frenzy of an iconic editorial department while doling out their do’s and don’t’s. Through advice, examples and personal stories-some thrilling and gossip-filled (remember the NYT’s Putin op-ed?)-Trish Hall’s, Writing to Persuade is a style book with both gravitas and grins. The former editor of the New York Times op-ed page underscores familiar writing rules while pulling some intriguing new rabbits out of her journalistic hat. “Facts aren’t magic,” Hall warns op-ed writers and no matter how many convincing sentences you craft, people will believe what they believe. Regardless of that frustration, she’s firm in her assertion that getting into fights on the page won’t win you converts. Writing to Persuade is a fun and telling read: a book authors of any genre can learn from and enjoy.