Books

David Williams

A Houston author who went to high school in San Antonio returns to the Alamo City for a bookstore visit.

“I am Walker Smith; I write historical novels.”

Smith has a fascinating backstory.

“My mother was a sort of beatnik type — a very literary beatnik type, [who] listened to classical and jazz. My father was a jazz musician. He was a drummer.”

They didn’t have money, but they used their library card a lot. And she could tell she had a literary bent of mind.

“It was either going to be music or it was going to be literature, so it ended up being both.”

Fans of Ayn Rand rejoice. The New American Library announced today that Rand's novel Ideal is finally being published in the form in which she intended it.

Rand, who died in 1982, wrote Ideal as a novel in 1934. But she didn't like it and set it aside. Later that year, she reworked it as a play, which The Wall Street Journal notes had its New York premiere in 2010.

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three jazz books out this holiday season—a singer's biography, a pianist's autobiography, and a fat coffee table book. Whitehead says they're all worth a look, though he has a couple of quibbles — and also a confession.

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Transcript

British mystery and crime novelist P.D. James, whose best-known works featured poet and Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh as a protagonist, has died at age 94, her publisher says.

Phyllis Dorothy James, a baroness and award-winning writer of such books as Shroud for a Nightingale, The Black Tower and The Murder Room, was born in Oxford began writing in her late 30s and published her first novel, Cover Her Face, in 1962.

Last year, when I heard that Anjelica Huston's memoir A Story Lately Told was about to come out, I was excited. I imagined that it would include a lot of inside stuff about the '70s and Hollywood and the actress' long relationship with Jack Nicholson. As it turned out, that book's subtitle was Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York, and it ended with Huston arriving in California. But I didn't miss the glitz. The story she had to tell was original.

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