literature | Texas Public Radio


Review: 'Likes' By Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum

Sep 16, 2020
Mara Casey

Likes is the latest short story collection by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, featuring nine stories.

In these, she imagines Black and brown characters who don’t easily fall into neat categories and defy an easy understanding from those around them. Some of these characters are young girls. 

Joshua Bennett’s latest poetry collection is Owed. That’s O-W-E-D.  The book is a series of odes — lyric poetry in the form of an address to a particular subject — but it is also about what is owed to Black Americans during this time of racial reckoning.

Review: 'Each of Us Killers' By Jenny Bhatt

Sep 9, 2020

Fifteen stories make up the debut collection by Jenny Bhatt, and each story is as different from the next as it can be, featuring diverse settings, characters, and conflicts. Points of view vary as well. Flash fiction pieces are interspersed here among the much longer stories, but you’ll luxuriate for as long in a story that spans a couple of pages and be haunted by its lingering lessons.

Review: 'Pandemia & Other Poems' By Edward Vidaurre

Sep 2, 2020
Edward Vidaurre is the 2018-2019 City of McAllen, Texas Poet Laureate.  He is the author of "Pandemia & Other Poems" published by Aztlan Libre Press.

The first thing you notice when you pick up this slim volume is the image on the cover featuring a young girl facing one way, standing on a shore by the water’s edge. In the foreground, a man wearing a mask walks in the other direction.

These masks are ubiquitous now, but they never fail to surprise a little — still — to push us back toward the heart-sinking knowledge of the COVID-19 pandemic — its threat on our lives and livelihoods, its global stranglehold and its more local and personal assaults.

Steven Kellman is a professor at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Calvin Hoovestol

Some students at the University of Texas-San Antonio have a new English literature class this fall that should resonate in their modern lives, although the course’s title doesn’t sound too inviting. Steven Kellman will teach it.

'August': Callan Wink’s Complex Coming-Of-Age Novel

Aug 28, 2020

In Callan Wink’s novel, August, we follow the title character, August, from ages 12 to 19.  His parents divorce. He observes the many ways their union was illogical. He is quiet and unassuming like his father, but he has a natural curiosity and hunger to learn like his mother. He lives with one parent in Michigan and then the other in Montana.  Eventually, a dramatic and violent situation makes him strike out on his own where he continues to discover that people in small, quiet spaces live complicated lives.  The experiences lead him to conclusions about his own parents and his own future.

The Heart and Other Monsters is a grief memoir, one that also intersects with a murder mystery. The first thing we learn when we read the first page of the book is that Rose Andersen’s sister has been murdered, but Andersen has no proof.  She admits this up front before guiding us through a plausible series of events that implicate a number of people in bringing Sarah’s short life to a sad end.

Mike Tapia is the author of "Gangs of the El Paso-Juárez Borderland: A History."

This week’s Pop-Up Book! is Gangs of the El Paso-Juárez BorderlandA History by Mike Tapia. The book offers a 100-year history of the subcultures of the El Paso-Juárez Borderland.

When Alice King is murdered in her home in the South Side of Chicago, her daughter, Ruby, despairs at the thought of being left to live with her father in a house that holds a silenced history of dysfunction and abuse. Her goal is to flee and start fresh in new place. But the path will not be an easy one.

Review: 'Someone's Listening' by Seraphina Nova Glass

Aug 12, 2020

In "Someone's Listening" by Seraphina Nova Glass, protagonist Faith Finley seems to have everything going for her. She’s a psychologist with a thriving practice, a bestselling author, and the host of a popular radio program. Her handsome husband, Liam is a successful food critic.