Malcolm Jones

The Story of Willie

Nashville rejected him as a singer, but he turned out to be one of the best songwriters in history. This is how Willie Nelson—poet, author, activist, cowboy, outlaw, outcast, misfit, and everyman—became the enduring face of American music.

Just Play It

David Byrne has been performing all his life, so why not write about it? He talks to Malcolm Jones about 'How Music Works.'

A New Civil War Book Makes History Feel Fresh

The last time the United States observed a major anniversary of the Civil War, the centennial celebration in 1961–65, things quickly fell apart. When the Civil War Centennial Commission held a national convention in Charleston, S.C., where the war began with the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861, it denied a black delegate admission to the convention's segregated hotel.

Books: A Room With No View

Only a handful of authors have ever known how to get inside the mind of a child and then get what they know on paper. Henry James, Mark Twain, William Faulkner, and, more recently, Jean Stafford and Eric Kraft come to mind, and after that one gropes for names. But now they have company. Emma Donoghue's latest novel, "Room," is narrated by a 5-year-old boy so real you could swear he was sitting right beside you.

The Resurrection of Charlie Chan

Who under the age of 50 remembers Charlie Chan? Like his more bloodcurdling kinsman, Dr. Fu Manchu, and like Stepin Fetchit, Amos and Andy, and many other racial stereotypes who once populated American novels and movies, he has been politically corrected out of the cultural landscape. Now a new book reinterprets his legacy.

R. Crumb Speaks ... Again

R. Crumb is talking about himself again. On his Web site—he doesn't run it but he does contribute—there's a new interview conducted this summer called "Hey, I'm Still Here ..." Crumb fans will eat up every scrap. As for the uninitiated among you—and surely the bestselling status of Crumb's recent illustrated version of the Book of Genesis earned him new legions—here's a good place to start, Matey.