Nichols' wit holds hard truths

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By Arin McKenna

Author John Nichols said once that he wanted to write “art with a social conscience.”
True to that calling, Nichols plunges fearlessly into difficult issues such as water rights, racial bias or–in the case of his most recent book, “On Top of Spoon Mountain”–man’s degradation of his environment with grace and wit that is an art form in and of itself.
Nichols has written 20 books, including “The Milagro Beanfield War,” “The Sterile Cuckoo,” and “The Wizard of Loneliness.” Nichols also wrote screenplays for all three (Robert Redford directed “The Milagro Beanfield War.”) He also wrote the screenplay for Constantinos Costa-Gravis’ “Missing,” which won an Oscar for Best Screenplay Adaptation.
At his best, Nichols does not hit his readers over the head with his message, but sprinkles it over healthy doses of laughter and spoon feeds it to his readers.
“I get tired of just gloom and doom speeches. I get tired of Armageddon stories, which I’ve written plenty of,” Nichols said, then lists off a few, including “The Magic Journey,” “Nirvana Blues” and “American Blood.”

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