A Novel Approach to Life
A collection of frank and hellaciously funny speeches by a Texas legend
A Novel Approach to Life gathers a selection of the many noteworthy speeches Coleen Grissom has delivered over the years, entertaining and enlightening San Antonio audiences. On the page, these speeches read like the carefully crafted essays they are and, among other things, provide an intimate view of five decades on an American university campus—Trinity University.
Grissom celebrates her love of literature and shares the wisdom she has gleaned from her favorite writers and a life dedicated to reading. She mourns the tragic deaths of students, friends, and family. She tracks the changing role of women as feminism develops and urges us to embrace both “feminine” and “masculine” traits to become full human beings.
The book is not only a historical record of events and changing times on the Trinity campus but also a moving memoir of a bookish, athletic girl raised in East Texas who grew up to become one of San Antonio’s most memorable citizens. Here is an inspirational chronicle that teaches us to embrace literature, intellectual curiosity, and the spirit that brings us together in a community of learning and tolerance.
“Coleen Grissom is a superb example of Dear Reader—the intelligent, passionate, fully engaged, gets-all-the-jokes audience. And she’s not exactly shy about sharing her enthusiasms, so she’s also a brave advocate. If there’s ever a last-stand fort of reading and writing to be defended, Coleen Grissom will be right up there on the battlements. Readers like her raise the bar for writers.”
— Margaret Atwood
“Coleen Grissom is an indelible original, a straight-talkin’ virtuoso of radiant and glittering mind, as well as one of the funniest people alive. Anyone who gets to hear her speak will never forget it; the rest of the world will seem slightly duller by comparison. Or, you will feel recharged to discover more about the rest of the world—its literature and films and wisdom, its small towns, its animals—more about everything interesting in general. Reading Grissom’s passionate and brilliant speeches may be nearly as good as hearing them. At least we will have them in hand to return to whenever we need some high-voltage uplift.”
— Naomi Shihab Nye