The author's recollection of meeting Somerset Maugham -- one of the author's literary heros -- struck a chord with me. Having the occasion to meet a few of the people I looked up to as a teen, it brought to the surface those nervous feelings of wanting to register on that person's radar and say the right things in the fleeting moment you have with him or her.
It's amazing how much you can learn about people and culture through the study of the lowly potato.
I love the photos of the abandoned movie theaters in Texas featured -- some of them constructed in incredibly opulent taste. The contrast between the evident disuse and the obvious splendor that the theaters offered when they were still shiny says much more than words can. Although the author does a good job in his own right as well.
When I think of Texas I don't immediately think "Lighthouses" -- and I grew up on the coast. T. Lindsey Baker does his usual excellent job of exploring his subject showing that Lighthouses are as "Texas" as oil wells. Also the paintings are quite peaceful.
Unless you are a Burroughs scholar, you probably don't know much about his time in Texas and Mexico other than the infamous "William Tell" episode. The author unearths new material, fleshing out this little-known time in Burroughs’s life and how it shaped him and his writing as he tried to move beyond it.