cover image Trillin on Texas

Trillin on Texas

Calvin Trillin. Univ. of Texas, $22 (192p) ISBN 978-0-292-72650-5

These 18 previously-published articles, many seen originally in The New Yorker, deal with the state to which Trillin's paternal grandparents emigrated only a few years into the 20th century, and tackle food, politics, crime, literature, and several other subjects. "By Meat Alone" deals with barbecue in general and Snow's BBQ in Lexington in particular, named the Lone Star state's top barbecue joint in 2008 by Texas Monthly. "In central Texas," Trillin writes, "you don't hear a lot of people talking about the piquancy of a restaurant's sauce or the tastiness of its beans; discussions are what a scholar of the culture might call meat-driven." Pieces on Texas politicians continue to carry weight: "The Dynasticks," "If the Boot Fits%E2%80%A6" and "Presidential Ups and Downs," about former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, will arguably be relevant forever. The same can not be said of "Mystery Money," about two teen-age boys who find half a million dollars, which fizzles despite promise; written in 1984, it now feels slight. The disappointments are rare, however, and these essays will impress Texans and non-Texans alike. (Mar.)