We Have an Issue: Read Before Burning

Welcome to the Books Issue

Cover by Zeke Barbaro / Getty Images

Welcome to the Books Issue. It's a far-ranging thing: We've got stories on the scary rise in book banning, "man of letters" Owen Egerton bidding farewell, the history of Prohibition as told by the co-founder of Still Austin, music bios, postapocalyptic sci-fi, Austin Noir, and much more.

What we don't have are any stories about bookstores. Find something you like in these pages? Grab a copy from your local independent shop if you can.

Me, I stretch the definition of "local" to include Letters Bookshop in Durham, N.C., which is owned by one of my oldest and dearest friends. I'm only back home maybe once a year, so I always factor in a book-buying spree while I'm there. Otherwise, I try to put in an order every few months via bookshop.org, which sends a chunk of a book's list price to the independent bookstore of your choosing – the easiest way I've found to support indie places that don't have the resources to ship direct to you. I just got a package on Tuesday, in fact. Goodies include the new Lorrie Moore (my grad school career can basically be summed up as "Tried to Write a Perfect Lorrie Moore Short Story. Failed."), plus Hetty Lui McKinnon's all-veg cookbook Tenderheart and My Murder, the new novel from my pal Katie Williams, who had to suffer through my Lorrie Moore knockoffs in fiction workshops at the Michener Center for Writers.

That's what I'm reading next. What I'm reading now is Lone Stars Rising: The Fifty People Who Turned Texas Into the Fastest-Growing, Most Exciting, and, Sometimes, Most Exasperating State in the Country. It's an anthology of essays from Texas Monthly, released on the occasion of the magazine's 50th anniversary. (Mazel tov, friends!) I'm enjoying jumping around chapters and eras: Cat Cardenas' lovely meditation on Selena, grief, and identity; Dan Solomon's succinct distillation of H-E-B Chairman Charles Butt. (Speaking of Dan! Click here to learn about his young adult book that was inspired by his reporting on Wendy Davis' historic filibuster, one of the stories I am most proud of publishing.)

Another of the 50 people profiled in the book is my predecessor, Chronicle co-founder and longtime editor Louis Black. Author Michael Hall beautifully captures the essence of Louis – what a dazzling showman he is; also: brilliant, ­openhearted, infuriating. Hall – a Chron staffer from before my time – also elegantly embeds not one but two(!) digs about the Chronicle in one sentence: "As of this writing, the paper has outlasted more storied alt-weeklies like the Village Voice and the Boston Phoenix."

Reader, I laughed out loud. As of this writing, we're still getting a paper out the door every week. But if you've got some loose change you want to send our way, we're always happy for the help: austinchronicle.com/support.


The Tragic Truth Behind the Sugar Land 95: Amelia Nonemacher talks with the hosts of Sugar Land, a new investigative podcast series about what happened when an unmarked cemetery containing 95 bodies was discovered in a suburb of Houston.

Crime and Legislation: Former Chronicle News Editor Michael King on the disgrace of Bryan Slaton and Ken Paxton ... and the rest of the rot at the root of the Texas GOP.

Alice Longyu Gao (Photo by Wayne Lim)

Hyperpop + Punk: Adam Cherian reviews Alice Longyu Gao's "outrageously fun" show at the Ballroom in support of March album Let's Hope Heteros Fail, Learn and Retire.

Shane Whalley Won't Back Down: The founder of local LGBTQ consulting company Daring Dialogues discusses the effects of DEI bans from the Lege.

A Bogey's Bad, Right? Native – the former hostel, bar, and event space at 807 E. Fourth – has shuttered, displacing tenants; a 27-hole mini-golf concept, Holey Moley, is expected to open on-site in November.

Feast for the Senses: James Beard winner Nixta Taqueria has announced plans to expand its front patio into a new venture, the poetically named Flor Xakali, which will feature an eight-course tasting menu.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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We Have an Issue, Owen Egerton, book bans, Prohibition, Austin Noir, Lone Stars Rising, Texas Monthly, Dan Solomon, Michael Hall, Cat Cardenas

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