Trinity University Press

Books about Memoir

100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do: How My Brother Disappeared

Kim Stafford (author)

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How many tricks does it take to grow up and survive? From a beautiful childhood, the older brother disappears into depression, leaving the younger to endure the story. 100 Tricks Every Boy Can Do explores memory to find a brother lost to suicide—the saint who teaches his family about depression, violence, and the ultimate quest for harmonious relationships. Taking its title from a pamphlet Kim Stafford’s brother,...

The style is spare and poetic, story and reflection, moving ponderously, smoothly and touchingly back and forth across time. — Portland Book Review

A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption

Matt Donovan (author)

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The title cloud of Matt Donovan’s A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape refers to the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD that buried the city of Pompeii under twenty feet of ash. It’s no surprise, then, that Donovan found the site of the sacred ruins an inspiration, using their legacy to form the beginning of this extraordinary nonfiction debut. Donovan pursues the image of the cloud throughout these fourteen...

Matt Donovan’s essays are haunted, searching, lyrical, and above all dogged in their ability to conjoin personal history with public history, whether he is investigating... — David Wojahn, author of World Tree

Crossing the Plains with Bruno

Annick Smith (author)

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Dogs, like humans, have memories, instincts, fears, and loyalties. But as far as we know, dogs do not get swept up in nostalgia, speculation, or self-analysis. Although they have hopes, they are not driven by regrets. In Crossing the Plains with Bruno, Annick Smith weaves together a memoir of travel and relationship, western history and family history, human love and animal love centering around a two-week road trip...

Annick Smith invites a chocolate Labrador retriever named Bruno to hop up into her Toyota 4Runner for a road trip from her home outside Missoula, Mont., to the North Side...The New York Times Book Review

Death Watch: A View from the Tenth Decade

Gerald Stern (author)

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In Death Watch, National Book Award–winning poet Gerald Stern uses powerful prose to sift through personal and prophetic history and contemplate his own mortality. Characteristically audacious, uncompromising, funny, and iconoclastic, Stern looks back at his life and forward to how his story will play out. Wrestling with his identity in Judaism, he explores how his name was uprooted from its origins, as so much of his...

Pittsburgh-born poet Gerald Stern’s latest collection of essays, 'Death Watch: A View From the Tenth Decade,' concerns itself almost exclusively with Mr. Stern’s impending...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford

Kim Stafford (author)

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A prolific writer, a famous pacifist, a respected teacher, and a literary mentor to many, William Stafford is one of the great American poets of the twentieth century. His first major collection, Traveling Through the Dark, won the National Book Award. He published more than sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose and was poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, a position now known as poet laureate. Before his...

A vivid, affectionate memoir.Library Journal

Getting to Grey Owl: Journeys on Four Continents

Kurt Caswell (author)

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Writer, teacher, and adventurer Kurt Caswell has spent his adult life canoeing, hiking, and pedaling his way toward a deeper understanding of our vast and varied world. Getting to Grey Owl chronicles over twenty years of Caswell’s travels as he buys a rug in Morocco, rides a riverboat in China, attends a bullfight in Spain, climbs four mountains in the United Kingdom, and backpacks a challenging route through...

Kurt Caswell is a man with an unrequited wanderlust.Barbaraq blog

Hail of Fire: A Man and His Family Face Natural Disaster

Randy Fritz (author)

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Hail of Fire: A Man and His Family Face Natural Disaster is an intimate account of the third worst wildfire in modern U.S. history, and the most destructive in the history of Texas. It is a memoir of what happened to Randy Fritz, an artist turned politician turned public policy leader, and his family during and after the Bastrop County Complex fire in 2011. Combining a searing account of the fire as it grew to...

If you've ever loved a tree—or a person—do yourself a favor: read this book, because at its core love in all its splendor and sadness is what it’s...Jan Jarboe Russell, author of The Train To Crystal City

Hi Mom, Send Sheep!: My Life as the Coyote and After

Tim Derk (author), David Robinson (foreword)

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At the age of forty-seven, Tim Derk’s career as mascot for the San Antonio Spurs was soaring as the team headed toward their third NBA Championship. That career ended abruptly when he suffered a massive stroke. Despite remarkable success in regaining speech and movement, Derk knew there was no going back. Hi Mom, Send Sheep! is his fond look at his years as the Coyote. Beginning with his recruitment from a community...

Tim’s life is his best act. Picking up the house key can be more heroic than a back flip basket dunk in a furry costume. It’s heart we’re talking about, and Tim’s heart... — Phil Hardberger, former mayor of San Antonio

In a Special Light

Elroy Bode (author)

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In a Special Light is a collection of essays and short pieces by Texas writer Elroy Bode. In simple but memorable prose, Bode explores his home city of El Paso, as well as the land and people of Central Texas. He observes everyday events—a young boy in a barbershop; plaza life; a young couple in Smoky’s Barbecue. Bode also reflects on his life as a high school English teacher, a father, and a writer. The work of Bode,...

This polished Texas writer is drawn to look for meaning in the simple moment observed. — Dianne Young

In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico

Arturo Madrid (author), Miguel Gandert (photographs)

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In the Country of Empty Crosses is Arturo Madrid’s complex yet affirming memoir about northern New Mexico—places such as Tierra Amarilla, San Augustín, and Los Fuertes that were once among the most remote in the nation. This is Madrid's homeland, a place in which his ancestors predate those who landed at Plymouth Rock. Madrid grew up in a family that was doubly removed from the community: as Hispanic Protestants,...

In the Country of Empty Crosses arrives as an event in the literary annals of America’s epic pageant of anathematized New World identities, prophetically remembered. Read... — John Phillip Santos

In the Sun’s House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation

Kurt Caswell (author), Rex Lee Jim (afterword)

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In the Sun's House chronicles one academic year of Caswell’s life during which he taught at a small elementary and middle school at Borrego Pass, a remote Navajo community in northwest New Mexico. Caswell struggles all year to earn respect in the classroom, as his students know that he is an interloper, just one white teacher in a long string of white teachers who come to the reservation with no intention of staying....

Teaching language arts to middle school students on a Navajo reservation is not for the fainthearted, as Kurt Caswell demonstrates in this probing memoir.the Rumpus

I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing: Field Notes on Poetry, Illness, and Nature

Lucia Perillo (author)

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During her days as a park ranger, Lucia Perillo loved nothing more than to hike the Cascade Mountains alone, taking special pride in her daring solo skis down the raw, unpatrolled slopes of Mount Rainier. Then in her thirties she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. In I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing Perillo confronts, in stark but often comic terms, the ironies and losses of going from an outdoors person to...

Encourages us to see the common and invisible through new eyes.Bookslut

Memoirs of Mary A. Maverick: A Journal of Early Texas

Mary A. Maverick (author), Maverick Fairchild Fisher (editor), Rena Maverick Green (editor), Paula Mitchell Marks (foreword), George Madison Maverick (contributor)

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This new edition of the Memoirs of Mary A. Maverick—until now unchanged since the first in 1921—is carefully reedited with new illustrations and, for the first time, an index and extensive annotations to put the leading characters and subjects into perspective.As the young wife of Samuel A. Maverick, a Yale-educated landholder whose name has entered the English language, Mary Adams Maverick came to Texas less than two...

A vivid picture of life on the Texas frontier. — New Handbook of Texas

A Novel Approach to Life

Coleen Grissom (author)

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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...

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...Margaret Atwood

Open Midnight: Where Ancestors and Wilderness Meet

Brooke Williams (author)

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Open Midnight weaves two parallel stories about the great wilderness—Brooke Williams’s year alone with his dog, ground truthing backcountry maps of southern Utah, and that of his great-great-great-grandfather, William Williams, who in 1863 made his way with a group of Mormons from England across the ocean and the American wild almost to Utah, dying a week short. The story follows two levels of history—personal, as...

"... a complex book.... In a partly imagined biography reconstructed from the few details of William Williams' life that still survive, Williams follows his ancestor's...Moab Sun News

Rainy Days and Starry Nights: Growing Up in the South Texas Brush Country

Lois Zook Wauson (author)

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Depression and the worst drought in Texas history did not make life easy for a large family on a small South Texas farm in the mid-twentieth century. Lawrence Zook tried growing cotton, corn, peanuts, even black-eyed peas on his 100 sandy acres thirty miles southeast of San Antonio, near Floresville, known today as the Peanut Capital of Texas. His family survived, though he tended to be disagreeable when it didn’t...

The South Texas brush country appears to the alien visitor a desolate landscape that is far removed from the beaten path of urban society. To those who call the region...Journal of South Texas

The Ranch That Was Us

Becky Crouch Patterson (author), Willie Nelson (foreword)

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Braiding strands of earthen insight with uproarious storytelling, legendary Texas Hill Country author Becky Patterson recreates the history of the Stieler Hill Ranch in twenty-four anecdotal chapters interspersed with original artwork. The result is a mixture of memoir and montage, treasure chest and tableau vivant of a world that’s beautiful, brash, and wonderfully heartbreaking. Patterson, the daughter of Texas folk...

For us non-native Texans it would be impossible to understand the Nachfolge of Hondo’s Texas without the tales of our old schoolmate from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School....Alexandra and Terrence Malick

Remedios: The Healing Life of Eva Castellanoz

Joanne Mulcahy (author)

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For more than a decade, Joanne Mulcahy worked with Eva Castellanoz to capture her astonishing and sometimes harrowing life story from a poor farm worker in the Rio Grande Valley to a life of dignity and recognition. Former President Ronald Reagan called Eva Castellanoz a "national treasure" when he awarded her a National Heritage Fellowship in 1987. Featured in National Geographic, on National Public Radio, and in...

Mulcahy offers us an up-close look at the life of the healer woman. We can't help but be inspired—maybe even healed.San Antonio Express-News

River of Traps: A New Mexico Mountain Life

Alex Harris (author), William deBuys (author)

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River of Traps combines words and photographs to tell the story of Jacobo Romero, an oldtime northern New Mexico villager who befriends the authors and initiates them into knowledge of land, water, and a way of life long rooted in the mountain valley that became their common home. Critically acclaimed and widely admired, River of Traps has been justifiably called a western classic.

Anyone who wishes to know [northern New Mexico] can skip the galleries full of pink howling coyotes, stay home and read an exceptional documentary book, River of Traps.New York Times Book Review

Self-Portrait with Dogwood

Christopher Merrill (author)

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In the course of researching dogwood trees, poet and essayist Christopher Merrill realized that a number of formative moments in his life had some connection to the tree named—according to one writer—because its fruit was not fit for a dog. As he approached his sixtieth birthday, Merrill began to compose a self-portrait alongside this tree that, from an early age, he has regarded as a talisman.Dogwoods have never been...

Christopher Merrill has always believed in quests. Over many years and many books he has traveled out, confronting fear, admiring the courage and conviction of others,...Los Angeles Review of Books

Song from the Forest: My Life among the Pygmies

Louis Sarno (author), Alex Shoumatoff (foreword), Michael Obert (afterword), David Rothenberg (afterword)

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For twenty-five years American Louis Sarno has been recording the polyphonic and hypnotic music of the Bayaka people in Central Africa. His book is a first-person narrative of his life among a hunter-gatherer people and an account of their culture’s extraordinary beauty. Sarno recounts his efforts to protect the Bayakas’ fragile existence in an increasingly destructive world.   Song from the Forest has inspired a...

Conveying the deep connection Sarno feels with the Bayaka and their perilously endangered corner of the world.Independent

Stealing History

Gerald Stern (author)

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In eighty-four short, intermingling essays, Gerald Stern moves nimbly between the past and the present, the personal and the philosophical. Creating the immediacy of dailiness, he writes about what he’s reading at the moment, be it Spinoza or John Cage, Maimonides or Lucille Clifton, and then seamlessly turns to memories of his student years in Europe on the G.I. Bill, or early family life in Pittsburgh, or his...

Gerald Stern is one of those writers whose style insinuates itself into your consciousness like a catchy tune, so that you find your thoughts echoing its rhythms, bopping...Philadelphia Inquirer

The Walk

William deBuys (author)

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From Pulitzer Prize finalist William deBuys comes an uncommonly beautiful book—a testament to a particular place and to the horses that inhabit it, all of which help him rediscover hope after the end of a long marriage and the death of a friend. Set, like deBuys’s book River of Traps, on the small farm in a New Mexico mountain valley that the author has tended since 1977, The Walk explores the illuminating ways in...

DeBuys’ pensive and quiet book offers a way out of despair and toward hope.San Francisco Chronicle

What I Can’t Bear Losing

Gerald Stern (author)

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In stunning personal essays that combine autobiography and meditation, poet Gerald Stern explores significant events in his life. As in his poetry, Stern discovers his subject as he goes along. His poetry has been variously praised for its visionary quality, its passion, its wholehearted embrace of life, its scope, its tenderness, and its use of paradox and irony. He is often compared to Walt Whitman, but Kate...

National Book Award–winning poet Stern brings the same renowned voice to prose, from a life that began in 1925 in what he recalls as the ‘Calvinist’ Pittsburgh of his...Kirkus