Author Archives: williamjcobb

About williamjcobb

William J. Cobb is a novelist, essayist, and short fiction writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, The Mississippi Review, The Antioch Review, and many others. He’s the author of two novels—The Fire Eaters (W.W. Norton 1994) and Goodnight, Texas (Unbridled 2006)—and a book of stories, The White Tattoo (Ohio State UP 2002). He has reviewed books for the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and the New York Times. He lives in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He may be contacted at wjcobb@gmail.com.

The Waste of Gadgets: a Quick Look at Nicholson Baker’s “Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids”

So the first thing I should note about Nicholson Baker’s excellent Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids (2016) is how funny it is. He’s got a keen eye for the absurdities in contemporary education, the unintentional comedy of … Continue reading

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Review of Francisco Cantu’s Memoir “The Line Becomes a River” in the Dallas Morning News

So my review of Francisco Cantu’s The Line Becomes a River, a memoir about his experience working as a Border Patrol Agent, appears in the Dallas Morning News today, and can be found here. It’s a good book, thoughtful and … Continue reading

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On Why I Read Dan Brown’s “Origin”: Or My Adventures as a Consumer of Best-Selling Drivel

So I was recently having dinner with a best-selling writer—a bit of literary socializing before said writer gave a reading on our campus—and we had reached the point of small-talk detailing what books we’d been reading. This is often the … Continue reading

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The West Is Burning: On Michael Kodas’s “Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame”

So after having owned a home in Custer County, Colorado (Go Wildcats!) for fifteen years and having been a frequent visitor to the Rockies since 1978—the year of my first trip to Yellowstone—I’m both fascinated by and have a fear … Continue reading

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Review of Kent Haruf’s “Our Souls at Night” as Tribute to the New Film Version Starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

So two years ago Kent Haruf published his last terrific novel, Our Souls at Night, which I reviewed for the Dallas Morning News, and as a tie-in and tribute of sorts, the DMN has republished my review today, which can … Continue reading

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On Alissa Nutting’s debut novel “Tampa”: So Bad She’s Good

So as a decidedly intermittent blogger (occasional blog-poster?) I feel ambivalent to weigh-in on most of the controversial news items and issues of the “day,” such as Harvey Weinstein’s sins, Donald Trump’s daily stupidities, or the blown-out-of-proportion NFL-player protests—but for … Continue reading

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Review of Gabriel Tallent’s “My Absolute Darling” in the Dallas Morning News

So my review of Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel, My Absolute Darling, appears in the Dallas Morning News today, and can be found here. The marketing of this novel seems odd: The combination of its sweet title, the brightly colored branches … Continue reading

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Hurricane Harvey Hits Home Town, Like I Predicted in “Goodnight, Texas”

So my misspent years in high school were dithered away in the Texas coastal town of Rockport, which appears to have been the epicenter of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall last night. Back in 2006 Unbridled Books published my novel Goodnight, Texas … Continue reading

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In the Country of “No Country for Old Men” and On the Trail of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian”: What I Did for My Summer Vacation

So late July found me (and my family) in (mythical) Cormac McCarthy country, at the Three River Petroglyph site near Three Rivers, New Mexico, which is a cool (and hot) place to be. We camped there for three days, watching … Continue reading

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Kayaking the Flathead River, Glacier National Park, Montana: What I Did for My Summer Vacation

So I feel sorry for my lonely blog in the summer months, as I’m scrambling around the country and doing various other things than spending time on the computer, but I’m back at work (and on my laptop) once again … Continue reading

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