Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall
Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road
Paperback, 978-0997411331 (also available as ebook), 308 pages, $15.95; April 2017
This new take on the 1934 deaths of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow is a fast-moving action-thriller rich with mystery, socio-political commentary, and lingering questions that set up a path for a possible sequel.
“What if?” is one of mankind’s oldest ways to launch a story. Yet, certain aspects of Bonnie and Clyde: Resurrection Road fit right into today’s contentious news headlines.
What if Bonnie and Clyde had not been killed by Texas and Louisiana lawmen in that infamous ambush that left two bodies riddled with rifle, pistol and machine gun bullets, plus shotgun pellets? What if they had been pulled out of their car before the ambush, gassed into unconsciousness and replaced by a pair of lookalikes who had no idea they were about to die a couple of minutes later and be buried as “Bonnie” and “Clyde”? >>READ MORE
Weather in Texas: The Essential Handbook by veteran Texas meteorologist George W. Bomar (University of Texas Press, $24.95 paperback) is essentially an updated third edition of Bomar’s Texas Weather, first published in 1983.
Bomar provides scientific and practical information about Texas weather, including what to do when a tornado threatens, depending on whether you are at home, at school, in a high-rise building, a mobile home, a hospital, a shopping mall, a vehicle, or outdoors.
The thirty-page appendix section is full of interesting statistical data statewide and city by city. For example, the coldest temperature ever observed in Abilene was minus 9 degrees on Jan. 4, 1947. The coldest in Laredo: (plus) 16 degrees, Dec. 21, 1973. Lubbock: minus 17, Feb. 8, 1933. Dalhart: minus 21, Jan. 4, 1959.
Abilene’s hottest? 111, Aug. 3, 1943. Lubbock, 114, June 27, 1994. Childress, Presidio, Wichita Falls and Wink topped out at 117.
Remember how hot it was in the spring and summer of 2011? That year Abilene had a record 81 100-degree days, San Angelo and Wichita Falls 100, and Laredo a scorching 145 100-degree days. Of course, some of the statistical records, especially related to rainfall, probably became outdated because of Hurricane Harvey while Weather in Texas was at the printer.
“Few subjects evoke as many tall tales and jokes as the weather,” writes Bomar, “especially the varieties that legitimize Texas as one of the more interesting places on Earth to visit — or live.”
A few years ago I penned a poem about Texas weather, and it seems an appropriate time to share it:
Texas Weather (It Could Be Verse)
Heavy rains are predicted in Beaumont, of course. Snow flurries are likely
at Amarillo and Morse.
Watch out for tornadoes around Wichita Falls. To beat the heat in Dallas,
hang out in the malls.
They’re fryin’ in Bryan, it’s clear in the east. There are blizzards in Winters
(until noon at least).
A norther is blowing from Lubbock to Post. There’s a hurricane watch
on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Drought conditions continue around Abilene. The Hill Country’s having
the worst flooding they’ve seen.
After scanning the radar, I think you could say: for Texas weather it’s just
a typical day.
Mucho queso: A whole cookbook devoted to chile con queso? Seriously? Yep.
Lisa Fain, best known for The Homesick Texan cookbook, turns her culinary attention to queso in Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip (Ten Speed Press, $15 hardcover). The book includes more than fifty recipes, including Chicken Fried Steak with Queso Gravy, Austin-Style Vegan Queso, West Texas Green Chile Queso Blanco, and Gulf Coast Crab Queso.
* * * * *.
Glenn Dromgoole’s latest book is West Texas Stories. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James P. McCollom
The Last Sheriff in Texas: A True Tale of Violence and the Vote
Hardcover, 978-1-6190-2996-5, (also available as an e-book), 272 pgs., $26.00
November 14, 2017
My dad, former deputy sheriff of Mitchell County, Texas, always said everything that happens in the big city happens in small towns, just not as often. The small towns in Bee County, Texas, were presided over by Sheriff Vail Ennis from 1945 until 1952. Ennis was a legend in his time, and his most dramatic exploit is also the beginning of this true story. Shot five times by an ex-con at a Magnolia station in Pettus, a wide spot in the road, on a cold November night in 1947, Ennis managed to empty his gun, reload, and kill both attackers before the ambulance arrived to speed him to a hospital.
The Last Sheriff in Texas: A True Tale of Violence and the Vote by Beeville native son James P. McCollom is told through the actions of two men, Sheriff Ennis and Beeville’s hometown-boy-made-good Johnny Barnhart. In the beginning it’s not clear what Barnhart’s part in the drama will be; we meet him as a yell leader and fraternity boy, then a law student, at the University of Texas at Austin. Barnhart returns to Beeville with his juris doctor, hangs out a shingle, and is promptly elected to the Texas lege, where his principles and idealism get him branded a subversive and smeared as a Commie during McCarthy’s Red Scare. >>READ MORE
Paperback, 978-1-6094-0544-1, (also available as an e-book), 200 pgs., $16.95
September 1, 2017
Carolyn Osborn is a grande dame of Texas letters. She has won awards from PEN and The Antioch Review, and the Lon Tinkle Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. Several of her short stories have been anthologized, including in The O. Henry Awards (Doubleday, 1990) and Lone Star Literature (Norton, 2003); she is the author of four short story collections and two novels.
Durations: A Memoir and Personal Essays is Osborn’s newest book. “Durations” is a recounting of her childhood in the United States during World War II, and the volume includes seven recent essays; several of these works have been previously published in various forms in such journals as the University of North Texas’s American Literary Review and Southern Methodist University’s Southwest Review. >>READ MORE
Houston author Sophie Jordan has published more than thirty books in the romance genre. Her latest launches December 26, about a heroine from the wrong side of the tracks who has nothing in common with the town hero. Jordan was interviewed by Lone Star Lit this week via email in advance of the book’s release, to talk with us about how she achieved and maintains her success.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Where did you grow up, Sophie, and how do you think your birthplace influenced your writing?
SOPHIE JORDAN: I grew up in the Texas hill country. Thirty-five miles from any major city. No Internet. Maybe three channels on TV. Suffice to say my imagination was all I had. Books were the only entertainment available and (ultimately) my writing.
What kinds of books did you enjoy reading when you were growing up?
When I was in middle school and high school, the young adult genre was virtually nonexistent. It was a tiny fraction of the bookstore. I can still remember visiting the Book Stop in San Antonio and how small the “Teen” book shelf was. Needless to say, I went through what was available in YA quickly, jumping from Judy Blume and Christopher Pike to adult authors like Stephen King and Victoria Holt. At the age of fourteen, I discovered romance, and my love of the romance genre was born.
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer yourself?
I fell in love with writing as a teenager, but I didn't seriously consider it as a viable career option until my late twenties. >>READ MORE
SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK
EL PASO Sun., Dec. 10 Pershing Inn, Cinco Puntos Press presents La Mama Bravo’s Book Club & Social Hour: Benjamin Alire Sáenz reading from The Last Cigarette on Earth, 6PM
GROESBECK Mon., Dec. 11 Maffett Memorial Library, sportswriter Byron Riddle signing Above the Net: 50 Years of the Best Volleyball in Texas, 12PM
ALSO SIGNING IN WACO Sat., Dec. 16 Morrison's Gifts, 11AM
WEBSTER Mon., Dec. 11 B&N - Baybrook, Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery book signing with astronaut Scott Kelly, 7PM
MIDLAND Tues., Dec. 12 Midland County Library - Downtown, Holiday Open House, 4PM
SAN ANTONIO Wed., Dec. 13 The Twig Book Shop, Gemini Ink Poetry at the Twig: Reading & Book Signing with Natalie Diaz, Joe Jiménez, and Saretta Morgan, 6:30PM
SAN ANTONIO Wed., Dec. 13 San Antonio Public Library - Central, Talking Tamales: An Evening with Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark and San Antonio Poet Laureate Dr. Carmen Tafolla as they read from their book, Tamales, Comadres and the Meaning of Civilization, 6:30PM
KATY Thurs., Dec. 14 James E. Taylor High School Performing Arts Center, Dan Rather presents his new book, What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism, 7PM
MIDLAND Thurs., Dec. 14 Midland County Library - Centennial, Holiday Open House, 4PM
LUBBOCK Sat., Dec. 16 Patterson Library, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY HERO: T. J. PATTERSON'S SERVICE TO WEST TEXAS book launch and signing with T. J. Patterson and author Phil Price, 3PM
AUSTIN Sun., Dec. 17 BookWoman, Winter Solstice Celebration with poetry and music, 2PM
It’s that time again — Top Ten time, that is. Time to reflect on the literary year past as we consider which Texas books to wrap up as gifts for our best bookish friends and family.
As always, the team at Lone Star Literary Life hopes you’ll agree with us that Texas is in many ways its own nation of books — great titles in every genre, great authors, great bookstores and publishers worth supporting.
Click through to check them out, with links to our reviews. >>READ MORE
Presenter: Dr. Gretchen Busl, Texas Woman’s University
Date and location: Monday, December 11, 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Denton South Branch Library
This session draws inspiration from Italo Calvino’s “Why Read the Classics?,” in which he gives a number of striking definitions of a “classic” text. >>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
Available in trade paper, library hardcover, and ebook Fall 2017
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.
11.26.17 The Texas Poetry Calendar 2019 seeks submissions of poems about the culture(s), geography or iconography of Texas. Submissions open December 1st 2017- February 20th 2018. We pay contributors for the work we publish. See for guidelines.
>>READ MORE CLASSIFIED LISTINGS
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12/11/17 Promo Forgotten Winds
12/12/17 Author Interview The Page Unbound
12/13/17 Review Margie's Must Reads
12/14/17 Promo A Page Before Bedtime
12/15/17 Review Texan Girl Reads
12/16/17 Excerpt Books in the Garden
12/17/17 Promo A Novel Reality
12/18/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/19/17 Audio Interview Chapter Break Book Blog
12/20/17 Review Syd Savvy
12/13/17 Excerpt 1 Syd Savvy
12/14/17 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
12/15/17 Review Bibliotica
12/16/17 Character Spotlight Hall Ways Blog
12/17/17 Review Forgotten Winds
12/18/17 Scrapbook Page Texan Girl Reads
12/19/17 Review The Clueless Gent
12/20/17 Excerpt 2 The Page Unbound
12/21/17 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
12/22/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/10/17 Review The Librarian Talks
12/11/17 Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
12/12/17 Promo Missus Gonzo
12/13/17 Review The Page Unbound
12/14/17 Author Interview Books and Broomsticks
12/15/17 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/16/17 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews
12/17/17 Review Momma on the Rocks
12/18/17 Promo Margie's Must Reads
12/10/17 Excerpt Texan Girl Reads
12/11/17 Review Missus Gonzo
12/12/17 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
12/13/17 Review Reading by Moonlight
12/10/17 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
12/11/17 Author Video 2 StoreyBook Reviews
12/12/17 Review Syd Savvy
12/13/17 Scrapbook Page Chapter Break Book Blog
12/14/17 Review Hall Ways Blog
12/10/17 Review StoreyBook Reviews
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