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Guest Blogger John Hamer on News of the World by Paulette Jiles

I’m excited to share this initial contribution as we start welcoming more guest bloggers on Message in a Bottle. John Hamer is a retired editorial writer and columnist for The Seattle Times who founded the Washington News Council. He is also a Mercer Island resident, Brian Doyle fan, and devoted Island Books customer. Respond to John and us via the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. Welcome, John!


I always expect–and receive–excellent book recommendations at Island Books. I don’t expect the same at airport bookstores. But a recent experience proved me wrong.

My wife and I were at the San Antonio airport waiting for a flight back to Seattle. We decided to browse the small bookstore, even though we already had plenty of stuff to read on the plane.

In the regional section, I saw a book about the Texas Rangers. I recently reread Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, one of my all-time favorite novels. Someone told me that the two central characters, Gus McRae and Woodrow Call, were based on real-life Texas Rangers.

I asked the store’s proprietor – a man about my age, with a bald head and a white goatee – if that was true. He wasn’t sure, but said many Texas historical novels were indeed based on actual persons. He picked up a small paperback titled News of the World by Paulette Jiles. I’d never heard of it ... continued