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The Arts

Joan Hallmark

Joan Hallmark
  • Writer


Texas Sound Bites
StoneGate Books
http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Bites-Joan-Hallmark/dp/0983120196 recollections

Subtitled “Behind the Scenes with Presidents, Movie Stars, Great Athletes & War Heroes,” popular TV journalist Joan Hallmark’s new book, Sound Bites, is all that and more. As a journalist, Hallmark has had access to many sometimes iconic people many of us would like to meet. For almost 40 years, the native East Texan’s “Proud of East Texas” segments have been among KLTV 7 News in Tyler’s most popular programs, as has been her more recent “Freedom Fighters” productions. She’s won numerous awards for her work, including induction in 2011into the Lone Star Emmy Silver Circle. Hallmark has interviewed John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, George Foreman, Hank Aaron, Carol Burnett, and other celebrities. In Sound Bites, She writes about them, and about covering Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Texas, about the long-ago national champion Athens High School basketball, and about the many artists and musicians who’ve called East Texas home, and hundreds more.The book is not a transcript of the shows, but is Hallmark’s memories and quick, conversational and positive impressions of the people she’s interviewed. None is in great detail, but all are good indicators of how Hallmark has approached her work and life. Even when she criticizes some subject’s behavior, she does so in a caring way. Not quite a third of the book’s more than 240 pages are dedicated to thoughts about her “Freedom Fighters” segments where she interviewed veterans from Pearl Harbor to Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s a little bit of autobiography, and lots of emphasis on her impressions of many of the people she’s interviewed over the years, people who have in many cases shaped East Texas and the world. The book, from Longview-based StoneGate Publishing, contains few errors I could find, although in her section about writer Jory Sherman she mentions “Getty, Kernac, and Ginsburg,” which I assume refers to Sherman’s early San Francisco contemporaries Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. That’s a quibble; Sound Bites is a welcome, upbeat, and refreshing read. – Tom Geddie Amazon

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