Celebrity Reviews

Syndicated trivia columnist L.M.Boyd has a long-running bit called "The Proper Job Club" in which he humorously noted people whose last names fit their occupations. Here at The Austin Chronicle, our version of The Proper Job Club is having notable folks review books in their area of expertise. We hope you find this informal roundup of reviews entertaining and, of course, proper. - Claiborne Smith

  • Jim Hightower, nationally syndicated talk radio host and author of There's Nothing in the Middle of the Road but Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos, still enjoys popping a beer and watching re-runs of Nixon's "I am not a crook" speech.
  • D. Marion Wilkinson has worked as a carpenter, oil field worker, salesman, mortgage loan officer, legal investigator and also enjoyed a short run as a failed entrepreneur. His first novel, Not Between Brothers, won the 1997 Violet Crown Award for best fiction and his second novel, The Empty Quarter, is due in May.
  • Jan Grape is the co-editor of an anthology of female mystery writers Deadly Women. She is presently deciding which of her 35 pairs of grape earrings she will wear to the Mystery Writers Award Banquet this week in New York, where she is up for an Edgar Award for Best Critical Work.
  • Tom Grimes has written three novels and two plays and is the director of the creative writing program at Southwest Texas State University.
  • Tom Doyal is an Austin writer and attorney who owned Liberty Books as long as he could afford it. He is the author of "Uncle Norvel Remembers Gandhi," and other short stories, two of which are in SMU Press' Texas Bound II.
  • Evelyn Palfrey is a municipal court judge who writes romance novels for "marvelously mature" women. Her latest, The Price of Passion, is set in Austin.
  • Marian E. Barnes is a storyteller, author, lecturer, and editor of Talk That Talk Some More: On the Cutting Room Floor. Barnes was named Honorary Storyteller of Austin in 1989 and Yellow Rose of Texas by Governor Richards in 1994. In March she was inducted into the African-American Women's Hall of Fame.
  • Elizabeth Crook is the author of The Raven's Bride and Promised Lands, two works of historical fiction. She's currently working on a Victorian murder mystery set on the New Mexican frontier.
  • Jim Bob McMillan is the Executive Director of the Austin Writers' League. It is said that New York publishers have an easier time associating Jim Bob McMillan with Texas because his first two names are their idea of what most Texans are named.
  • Barbara Bonds Thomas owns Toad Hall Children's Bookstore. Later this month, she will step down from two terms as the president of the American Booksellers Association.
  • Jesse Sublett is the author of three mystery novels and 25 documentary films. He dates his interest in the U.S.S. Monitor to a fifth grade project in history class, for which he fashioned a model of the legendary ironclad using a wooden plank, a tuna can, and some gray paint.

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