... well, congratulations! We lived there for a total of four years during and after my wife's time as a U of Texas doctoral student in linguistics, and like all former residents have memories that are (pleasantly) dominated by barbecue joints, Tex-Mex, beer halls, music, Barton Springs, etc. Plus, of course, "study" and "work." The big constant in Austin life is the "Oh, it used to be so great here, but growth has spoiled the 'real' Austin" lament. That is what we heard from old timers on arrival in the mid-70s, and it's what we've heard on all return visits since. I'm sure the complaint is always true -- and always false, because it still seems pretty great.

This weekend in particular, Austin will be graced by the 2010 Texas Book Festival, an event started by Laura Bush when she was the state's First Lady in the mid 1990s. I've mentioned several times over the past year -- including here, here, and here -- my admiration and enthusiasm for Matterhorn, the majestic novel of the Vietnam war by Karl Marlantes. I'm delighted to have a chance to interview Karl Marlantes at the festival, at 10am Saturday morning. Details here and here. Be there!

Also, at 3:15, I'll have a chance to interview another book festival author: a product of the University of Texas's linguistics department who has written about the pleasures and satisfactions of learning the Chinese language. Looking forward to that one too.

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