It's the 2023 ToB presented by Field Notes!

Welcome to the 2023 Tournament of Books presented by Field Notes. And look, a brand new website! It’s time to Rooster!

Letters From the Editor

Rendezvous Houston

—The flight out of New York has been delayed because “We’re sorry, our plane hasn’t shown up yet! Grab yourself something to eat and sit tight! But don’t go far!” I’m slumped in a bucket-seated terminal bench, watching the newsdump via the CNN monitor parked two feet from my toes. I see Saddam Hussein in a courtroom. I watch as a string of guests and commentators note, in many different segments, that Hussein looks to have dropped a few pounds. They all agree this is a good thing, that he looks “really good.” I lower my attention to the news ticker at the bottom of the screen and catch a typo in a bit about Chiquita’s laboratories adding additional fruit flavors to bananas: “devleop.”

—Aboard the flight, which took me out of LaGuardia an hour-and-a-half late, I’m seated next to a plump man who has no respect for my personal space. He’s awfully nice about it, though. When I make a big show of being uncomfortable, he takes notice and works himself back between his armrests. Minutes later, his hand is again resting upon my thigh. I squirm through the turbulence.

—I arrive in Houston just before midnight. It’s been raining here for weeks on end, and this, according to everyone I see, is the first time it’s let up. I’m jokingly thanked for “bringing some dry weather” with me. I chuckle. “Sure, no problem.”

—Driving around town the next couple of days, I notice the devotion Houston radio stations pay toward classic rock, which in this definition is anything between Van Halen I and 1984. A heavy nod is given toward the whole of the Rush catalog, as well. It’s not often you’ll hear something that was never at least originally pressed on vinyl.

—Two days now, and not a drop of rain has fallen. Another relative comments, “Thanks for bringing the dry weather with you.” I pause to consider it and reply, “You know, we may be onto something with this…”

—At the fireworks show, a band from the local high school plays its own songs, but with somebody else’s style—a fascinating car wreck of Creed, Nickleback, and Train. It occurs to me that these guys should listen to more of the local radio. I’m guessing they could at least pull off a decent version of “Tom Sawyer.”

—It’s distinctly possible that Outback and Red Lobster have the exact same salad-dressing supplier. Tasty, though.

—About to leave for the airport, when a torrential downpour erupts from above. If nothing else, at least I can control the weather. Must investigate this.


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

blog comments powered by Disqus