Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
J. Reeder Archuleta
The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station and Other Stories
Dog Ear Publishing
Paperback, 978-1-4575-5919-8 (also available as an e-book), 132 pages, $9.99; December 2017
Where most of us might see only dry, windy, hardscrabble land, Far West Texas native J. Reeder Archuleta can see beauty. Of course, it's beauty that can turn harsh and unforgiving if you forget to pay much attention to the vast sky sweeping overhead.
Likewise, we might notice a few weathered, seemingly nondescript people if we stopped for gas in a small town near the Texas–New Mexico border. Archuleta, however, would see human stories spanning much of life’s emotions and experiences.
The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station and Other Stories, Archuleta's second book, is an absorbing coming-of-age tale that unfolds within a collection of eight short stories. Set in the 1950s and ’60s, in a small town that is not named, the stories have changing viewpoints and changing casts of interconnected characters. Yet one figure is present in each story — an abandoned child named Josh, who grows into manhood over the course of this well-written collection. >>READ MORE
San Angelo author Preston Lewis picks up his H.H. Lomax series of delightfully humorous western novels with Bluster’s Last Stand (Wild Horse Press, $19.95 paperback), a tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek account of the military disaster at Little Bighorn in 1876.
Lomax finds his life in danger as General Custer’s army approaches Little Bighorn, not only because of the threat of Indians but because Custer himself has vowed to shoot him.
Lomax consistently refers to Custer as “General Bluster” because of his arrogance and maintains that the general ill-advisedly waged battle against the Sioux and Cheyenne to bolster his chances of becoming president. Lomax finds a way to get the entire army laughing at Custer behind his back as they pick up the mysterious chant, “Ciaha!,” which further infuriates the general against Lomax.
Author Lewis, in his introduction, makes a convincing case that there actually was an H.H. Lomax and that Lomax chronicled his adventures on Big Chief tablets that made their way into the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech. The reader should keep in mind that Lewis writes fiction, even in his introductions.
In his three previous novels in the series, Lewis has Lomax hanging out with Billy the Kid and Jesse James and being on the scene at the O.K. Corral — a blend of historical and hysterical fiction.
Historical fiction: San Antonio author Max L. Knight covers a lot of colorful historical western characters and events in his novel, Palo Duro (Page Publishing, $16.50 paperback).
Among them: Quanah Parker, Charles Goodnight, Billy Dixon, Ranald Mackenzie, Geronimo, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and John Wesley Hardin.
“The characters that populate my book,” Knight writes, “are a composite of both real people and the products of my imagination… The dialogue, with very few exceptions, is strictly fictional but captures the essence of the events portrayed and the people involved.
“I’ve tried to portray the savage nature of the conflict between the Southern Plains Indians and white settlers, buffalo hunters, merchants and soldiers as evenly as possible without bias to either side, and I’ve tried to portray the difference between the lawman and the lawless as a fine line that was often crossed.”
Readers of historical fiction will find much to savor in Knight’s novel.
Obituary: I’m sad to report that prolific Texas mystery writer Bill Crider of Alvin died last month at the age of 76.
His more than sixty novels included the Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series, the 24th of which came out last summer, Dead to Begin With. Crider always worked in a murder in the small-town series, but his mysteries were not dark and gruesome and I always looked forward to his next installment.
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Glenn Dromgoole has been writing his Texas Reads column since 2002, focusing on Texas books and authors. Contact him at email@example.com.
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Admit it: bookfans love traveling almost as much as they love reading itself. Beginning March 4, 2018, Lone Star Literary Life will roll out #10 through #6 in our annual list of Top Texas Bookish Destinations, for readers who want to visit the settings of their favorite books, the birthplaces and haunts of favorite authors, and hot spots for book buying, readings, and other literary activity.
But throughout Texas’s 268,597 square miles, there are also lots of out-of-the-way points of interest that we don’t always have space to cover in our Top Ten pages.
Watch this space each week for a new bookish place that you’ll want to add to your own travel list. Be the first to email us with the correct identification, and win a prize!
This week, we continue with a bookish place that’s located in 2017’s #2 Top Bookish Destination. There’s plenty of poetry in this literary-rich city, but there’s a Poet Tree, too. Can you name the city? And extra credit for telling our readers the neighborhood or street where they can find it, too.
LAST WEEK’S PHOTO (below) was correctly identified as the Capitol Gift Shop, inside the state capitol building in Austin. Congratulations — your prize is on the way!
Double Vision: The Unerring Eye of Art World Avatars Dominique and John de Menil
Alfred A. Knopf
Hardcover, 978-0-3754-1543-2, (also available as an e-book), 784 pgs., $40.00; March 27, 2018
“I’m after the excitement not the object per se—after the light, not the bulbs. I’d like to provide for people plenty of bulbs to switch on.” —Dominique de Menil
Y’all know that old question asking who you’d invite to your dinner party if you could invite anyone you wanted? I’d invite Dominique and John de Menil.
Born in France at the beginning of the twentieth century, they came to Houston, Texas, in the early 1940s with the family oilfield services multinational that would become Schlumberger Limited. John de Menil was a baron; Dominique the heir to Schlumberger, descended from a distinguished line of French intellectuals, important to the governments of kings and emperors. Over the decades, the de Menils built the Menil Collection, the Rothko Chapel, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel, and the Cy Twombly Gallery, and underwrote the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Their personal collection exceeded 20,000 works of art, including paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, rare books, and decorative objects. >>READ MORE
Everyone Knows You Go Home
Hardcover, 978-1-5420-4637-4, (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible) 334 pgs., $24.95
March 13, 2018
Isabel sees dead people. She and Martin were married on Día de los Muertos, “which no one gave much thought to in all the months of planning, until the bride’s deceased father-in-law showed up in the car following the ceremony.”
Martin’s father, Omar, and his mother, Elda, crossed the Rio Grande while she was pregnant with Martin, delivered to McAllen to make what they could of their new beginning. Several years later, Omar disappeared without a trace and without explanation when Martin was seven years old. Two decades later, Isabel knows very little about Omar; no one in Martin’s family speaks of him. Omar reappears each year on Isabel and Martin’s wedding anniversary, and Isabel begins to ask questions. When Eduardo, a teenage cousin of Martin’s from his father’s side of the family in Mexico, arrives in an HEB parking lot, telling how Omar helped him make the journey to the border, the entire family must reckon with secrets from the past, and the precariousness of lives lived in-between. >>READ MORE
From the spur of Texas’s boot-heel to the tip of the toe, we’ve traveled the state in search of some delectable destinations for book lovers. Check out #10 through #6 on our 2018 list this week—then next Sunday we’ll reveal the top 5 plus some honorable mentions. >>READ MORE
When a city celebrates 300 years of existence and an even longer tradition of diverse cultures, it takes a profound editorial vision to understand how those cultures have come together in the present. Author, editor, and musician Bryce Milligan definitely has the long view. It’s only fitting that we talked with him via email during the week of our Top Ten Texas Bookish Destinations coverage, to share with our readers what Milligan appreciates about literary San Antonio.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Bryce, I understand you were born in Dallas but have lived in San Antonio since 1977. What brought you to the Alamo City?
BRYCE MILLLIGAN: I met my wife in one of the only creative writing classes either of us ever took—at the University of North Texas—when we were both freshmen. Mary was from San Antonio, so when she finished her MLS a few years later, we moved here so she could take a job in the public library while I commuted to Austin to work on my MA. I’d had a fascination with San Antonio since childhood, which only deepened as I came to know the city better.
You were twenty-four when you arrived in San Antonio. In many ways, you and the city have grown up together. What was San Antonio like in 1977?
There were several independent bookstores. The most important was Rosengren’s, which was located on the bottom floor of the Crockett Hotel behind the Alamo. Florence Rosengren’s store was known throughout the country as an intellectually and culturally important place where writers gathered and readers found nirvana. As Robert Frost said, it was “the best of bookstores.”
There were plenty of used bookstores too. The best known of those was Brock’s, which occupied half of a city block downtown. Norman Brock had amassed close to a million books—so many that when part of a floor gave way, it was supported by a pillar of books in the basement. It’s hard to believe now that they let people down there, but intrepid book scouts like myself thought of it as a place to go treasure hunting. >>READ MORE
SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK
DALLAS Mon., Mar. 12 Interabang Books, Tom Clavin discussing and signing DODGE CITY, 7PM
HOUSTON Mon., Mar. 12 Katy Budget Books, Lunch and book signing of The Third Victim with Phillip Margolin, 12PM; Murder By the Book, Margolin will sign and discuss The Third Victim, 6:30PM
SAN ANGELO Tues., Mar. 13 San Angelo Writers' Club, Dana Glossbrenner presentation on "Self-Promotion and Other Monsters," 7PM
SAN ANTONIO Tues., Mar. 13 The Library at Hotel Emma, When Words Sing: An Evening of Poetry with Barbara Ras, 6:30PM
HOUSTON Wed., Mar. 14 Brazos Bookstore, story time celebrates our Houston Space Center with guest author and former NASA flight controller Marianne Dyson (SPACE STATION SCIENCE; HOME ON THE MOON; and the forthcoming TO THE MOON AND BACK: MY APOLLO ADVENTURE, a pop-up book written with astronaut Buzz Aldrin), 10:30AM
NEW BRAUNFELS Fri., Mar. 16 The Purple Chair, Story time with Sandy Loker, author of Snipets from Heaven, 10:30AM
AMARILLO Sat., Mar. 17 Chase Tower, Texas High Plains Writers meeting: "Adding Humor to Your Writing" with K.J. Waters and Kim Hunt Harris, 10AM
BIG SPRING Sat., Mar. 17 Heritage Museum, Bryan Mealer discussing and signing The Kings of Big Spring, 6:30PM
DENTON Sat., Mar. 17 Recycled Books, an evening with Grady Hendrix, author of Paperbacks from Hell, 6PM
HOUSTON Sat., Mar. 17 Brazos Bookstore, Victoria Surliuga discussing and signing EZIO GRIBAUDO: MY PINOCCHIO, 6PM
SAN ANTONIO Sat., Mar. 17 The Twig Book Shop, Lynn Maverick Denzer signing Old Villita and La Villita Continues, 11AM
HOUSTON Sun., Mar. 18 Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, Inprint Cool Brains! Spring Break Fest with JUAN FELIPE HERRERA, 2PM
KYLE — March 9 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Katherine Ann Porter House’s purchase by Preservation Associates on March 9, 1998. The KAP House was the childhood home of Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Katherine Anne Porter, author of the besetselling Ship of Fools.
AUSTIN —Steve Bercu, who has been CEO of Austin’s independent bookstore BookPeople for almost 20 years, plans to retire from full-time bookselling this coming June.
As part of the transition, Elizabeth Jordan has been named general manager of BookPeople. She has worked at the store since 2002 as a bookseller, manager, adult book buyer and inventory operations supervisor. In her new position, she will oversee day-to-day operations of the store, with an emphasis on improving communication among departments, creating efficiencies and increasing sales. >>READ MORE
The present generation of Texas authors is the most diverse ever in gender, age, and ethnicity, and in subject matter as well.
Week in, week out, Lone Star Literary has interviewed a range of Texas-related authors with a cross-section of genre and geography. To capture this era in Texas letters, we're pleased to bring you
Lone Star Listens:
Texas Authors on Writing and Publishing
edited by Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon; introduction by Clay Reynolds
Available in trade paper, library hardcover, and ebook Spring 2018
360 pages, with b/w illustrations and index
Featuring novelists, poets, memoirists, editors, and publishers, including:
Rachel Caine • Chris Cander • Katherine Center • Chad S. Conine • Sarah Cortez • Elizabeth Crook • Nan Cuba • Carol Dawson • Patrick Dearen • Jim Donovan • Mac Engel • Sanderia Faye • Carlos Nicolás Flores • Ben Fountain • Jeff Guinn • Stephen Harrigan • Cliff Hudder • Stephen Graham Jones • Kathleen Kent • Joe R. Lansdale • Melissa Lenhardt • Attica Locke • Nikki Loftin • Thomas McNeely • Leila Meacham • John Pipkin • Joyce Gibson Roach • Antonio Ruiz-Camacho • Lisa Sandlin • Donna Snyder • Mary Helen Specht • Jodi Thomas • Amanda Eyre Ward • Ann Weisgarber • Donald Mace Williams
As a collection of insights into the writing and publishing life, the book will be useful in creative writing classes (not just in Texas alone) and other teaching settings, as well as for solo reading and study—and a great Texas reference volume.
What are Texans reading these days, you ask? Lone Star Lit’s newest regular feature is a monthly list of trending titles at the a leading independent bookseller in San Antonio. Click on any title for the Buy link. And we'll also include a hotlink to related content in Lone Star Literary Life.
2 Carina Chocano, You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Train Wrecks, & Other Mixed Messages 978-0544648944
3 Naomi Shihab Nye, Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners 978-0062691842
4 Gay Gaddis, Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life 978-1478948216
6 Jeremy Banas, Bill Jones and Kit Goldsbury, Pearl: A History of San Antonio’s Iconic Beer 9781625858283
7 Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey 978-1449483135
9 William H. McRaven, Make Your Bed 978-1455570249
10 (tie) Mary V. Burkholder, The King William Area: A History and Guide to the Houses
2.11.18 Panther City Review, an annually published print journal, is seeking creative non-fiction, novel excerpts, poetry, short stories, short plays/screenplays, as well as cover art, for the 2018 issue centered on the theme of “Wisdom.” The deadline for submission is Sunday, April 29, 2018, by 11:59pm. For guidelines, please visit .
>>READ MORE CLASSIFIED LISTINGS
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3/13/18 Notable Quotable Texas Book Lover
3/13/18 Promo Book Fidelity
3/14/18 Review Hall Ways Blog
3/14/18 Bonus Post Dressed to Read
3/15/18 Notable Quotable Books and Broomsticks
3/15/18 Review Momma on the Rocks
3/16/18 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
3/16/18 Author Favorites Tangled in Text
3/17/18 Review Reading by Moonlight
3/18/18 Review Forgotten Winds
3/19/18 Excerpt The Page Unbound
3/19/18 Notable Quotable The Librarian Talks
3/20/18 Review #Bookish
3/21/18 Scrapbook Page A Page Before Bedtime
3/21/18 Promo Syd Savvy
3/22/18 Review The Clueless Gent
3/16/18 Excerpt Chapter Break Book Blog
3/16/18 Bonus Post Hall Ways Blog
3/17/18 Review Missus Gonzo
3/18/18 Author Interview Texas Book Lover
3/19/18 Review Nerd Narration
3/20/18 Author on Video Books and Broomsticks
3/21/18 Author on Video The Page Unbound
3/22/18 Review StoreyBook Reviews
3/23/18 Author on Audio Reading by Moonlight
3/24/18 Author Interview The Clueless Gent
3/25/18 Review A Page Before Bedtime
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