We’re just days away from the 2019 Texas Book Festival, which is Oct. 26-27. As our staff sends scores of emails about itineraries, tents, microphones and book orders, my focus is entirely on the more than 300 authors heading to Austin and the many, many books they’ll share and discuss with us. This month, my picks are all great books by authors you can meet at this year’s Texas Book Festival. Check out the full festival schedule on our website and in a special section inside today’s Austin American-Statesman. Hope to see you there!
“Dominicana” by Angie Cruz
Based on her mother’s experience moving to New York City from the Dominican Republic in the 1960s, Cruz’s new novel tells the story of Ana, a 15-year-old girl who comes to America via an arranged marriage. Her life is cast against the political turmoil of the time, the Vietnam War in America and Trujillo’s assassination in the Dominican Republic. A story of coming of age and coming into a new culture, this is also Ana’s story of resilience, strength and discovery both of herself and the new world she’s found herself in.
“Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom” by Thomas E. Ricks
Bestselling historian Thomas Ricks is joining us with the paperback edition of his acclaimed look at the lives of George Orwell, the author of “1984” and “Animal Farm,” and Winston Churchill. In this insightful look at history, Ricks observes how both men watched the rise of authoritarian figures in the 1930s and then worked in their own ways through the 1940s to resist Hitler’s militaristic and psychological forces.
“Erosion: Essays of Undoing” by Terry Tempest Williams
Terry Tempest Williams has been an iconic voice for conservation for decades, speaking with compassion and humanity about the environment and the consequences of our behavior. In her new collection of essays, she considers the many aspects of erosion: of the earth, the self, belief. Overwhelmed by the current environmental crisis, she writes about her concern for our future and also how she finds sources of relief and hope.
“All This Could Be Yours” by Jami Attenberg
Meet the Tuchmans, a dysfunctional family if there ever was one, as they gather from their respective corners of the country to meet at the deathbed of their patriarch, an unequivocally reprehensible human being named Victor whose criminal life has left mystery, shame, betrayal and psychological complexes in its wake. As his daughter seeks answers from her mother, and his wife tracks her steps around the hospital floor, and his son bottoms out in Los Angeles, and his daughter-in-law buys another tube of lipstick to cope with her choices, we see the close weave of a family’s deep reckoning with itself.
“From Scratch” by Tembi Locke
Picked by Reese Witherspoon for her influential Hello Sunshine book club, this memoir by writer and actress Tembi Locke is a poignant look at grief, love and the many roads we take to family. When her husband suddenly dies, Locke is thrust into a new closeness with her late husband’s family in Sicily, who originally struggled to accept her, a black American woman, as their son’s wife. Spending summers in Sicily with her daughter, Locke finds unexpected healing and comfort in the countryside, its food and new family bonds. Her story is touching and well told, a reminder of what can happen when we open ourselves up to the unexpected. (Note: You also can catch Tembi’s sister, Attica Locke, at the fest this year.)