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Author explores women’s roles in Texas history


Women in Texas History by Angela Boswell (Texas A&M University Press, $37 hardcover) traces the impact women have had on the state’s history from prehistoric times to the present.


“This book is a narrative of Texas women’s history,” Boswell writes. “It is based on a simple premise: what women did in the past is intrinsically worth knowing. Texas would not be Texas without one half of its population.”


Boswell tells the story of Texas women from numerous perspectives and points of view, giving “special attention to the differences in the lived experiences of Native Americans, Tejanas, African Americans, Anglos, Germans, and Asians.” She also examines the effects of class, religion, political ideology and sexuality.


Organized chronologically, Women in Texas History includes ten chapters and a conclusion, as well as extensive footnotes, bibliography and index, totaling about 375 pages. Each chapter includes a conclusion that concisely summarizes the era covered in that section.


Boswell begins with Native American, Spanish, and Mexican women, then focuses on the Frontier South, the Antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, settling the West Texas frontier, women’s activism from the 1870s to 1920s, women’s work during that same period, Depression and war, the postwar decades, and women taking charge at the end of the twentieth century.


Hailed as a “groundbreaking” book for its concept and approach, Women in Texas History is part of a series sponsored by the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation for Texas Women’s History. For more on the subject, see the foundation’s web site, womenintexashistory.org.



Texas before you die: Texas author E.R. Bills has put together a delightful and useful Texas travel guide called 100 Things to Do in Texas Before You Die (Reedy Press, $18 paperback).


Bills divides the state’s attractions into six categories: amusements and entertainment, parks and recreation, history and culture, food and drink, road trips, and photo ops.


Each attraction is covered concisely in one or two pages. Bills doesn’t limit himself to the usual tourist sites like the Alamo, Big Bend, Padre Island, Galveston, and the State Fair. They’re in there, but so are these:


Two-step at the Broken Spoke. Create graffiti at the Cadillac Ranch. Dive into a Texas swimming hole. Discover the Devil’s Sinkhole. Watch a six-man football game. Eat some chicken-fried steak. Stay in a small town. Take a friend to try the 72-ounce Big Texan steak challenge. Snap your picture at the Sam Houston or Buddy Holly or Lightnin’ Hopkins statues.


Fun stuff. And, along the way, you’ll probably learn something you didn’t know about Texas.


* * * * *


Glenn Dromgoole’s most recent book is The Book Guy: One Author’s Adventures in Publishing. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.


>> Check out his previous Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Literary Life



Rick Bass

The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with My Heroes

Little, Brown and Company

Hardcover, 978-0-3163-8123-9 (also available as an ebook and an audiobook), 288 pgs., $28.00

June 5, 2018


A soul-examining pilgrimage of the search for lessons in moving gracefully, maybe even joyfully, from middle-age into later years, The Traveling Feast: On the Road and at the Table with My Heroes is the new collection of essays from Rick Bass that will make you hungry for all things that nourish. The Traveling Feast is part memoir, part lessons in craft, part naturalist activism, part cookbook, part travelogue, part recommended-reading list, and wholly a feast of language. As we prepare for our feasts this week, Bass’s new collection is art to be thankful for.


Bass, born and raised in Texas, began his career as a petroleum geologist in Mississippi, spending his lunch hours and spare time writing and haunting the state’s famous bookstores. The author of thirty books, Bass won the Story Prize for his collection For a Little While and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for his memoir Why I Came West. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Esquire, and The Paris Review (his first acceptance!), among many other publications, has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories, won multiple O. Henry Awards and Pushcart Prizes, as well as NEA and Guggenheim fellowships. Bass left Mississippi for Montana’s remote Yaak Valley where he has lived for thirty years and where he is a founding board member of the Yaak Valley Forest Council.


The essays included in The Traveling Feast, with sixteen chapters each devoted to an individual writer, including Peter Matthiessen (RIP), Amy Hempel, Denis Johnson (RIP), and Terry Tempest Williams, who has been an inspiration and mentor to Bass in his work and how to live a meaningful life.  >>READ MORE


Sofia Grant

The Daisy Children: A Novel

William Morrow

Trade paperback, 978-0-0626-9344-1 (also available as an e-book and an audio-book), 432 pgs., $15.99

August 2018


Katie Garret is having a bad week — she’s been fired from her marketing design position; she’s failed to get pregnant this month, too; and she just accepted delivery of her husband Liam’s new $240 trousers. Then her mother, Georgina (a real piece of work, this one), calls to tell her that Grandma Margaret has died and Katie is named in the will. Katie, newly unemployed and un-enamored with her husband, decides to make the trip from Boston to rural East Texas, a kind of vacation from her real life. “She’d have a baby when she was meant to,” Katie thinks. “She’d get to New London and discover she’d inherited a fortune, or a pittance; she’d go to Dallas and bond with her mother or argue with her. All of it would be fine.”


But even after the mugging and the appearance of astonishing cousin Scarlett and being mistaken for a vagrant and then a burglar and uncovering the clues that gradually reveal generations of family secrets that echo loudly into the present, Katie is worrying about the wrong things. “The thing she really ought to be worrying about,” Grant writes, “was that Texas would seep into her pores and take root.”


The Daisy Children: A Novel is new fiction from Sofia Grant, whom y’all probably know better as Sophie Littlefield, author of more than two dozen books in many genres including YA, apocalyptic fiction, thriller, domestic suspense, and women’s fiction, this last being assigned to The Daisy Children metadata. This is unfairly reductive; what it should say is a carefully and elegantly constructed exploration of a hundred years of dysfunctional family relationships, the nature of secrets, and the potential for healing.  >>READ MORE



Twig’s Top Ten Bestsellers

October 2018

What are Texans reading these days, you ask? Lone Star Lit’s newest regular feature is a monthly list of trending titles at the Twig Book Shop, 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.


1  Reyna Grande, A Dream Called Home: A Memoir, 978-1-501171420

2  Mitch Albom, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven: The Sequel to the Five People You Meet in Heaven, 978-62294449

3 Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (Harper Perennial), 978-0-062315007

4  Andrew Sean Greer, Less, 978-0-31631613X

5  Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow, 978-0-670026197

6 Brene Brown, Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts, 978-0-399592522

7  Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, 978-0762490547

8  Isabel Allende, In the Midst of Winter, 978-1-501178146

9  Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See, 978-1-501173219

10  Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States, 978-0-393635249







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WAIT FOR ME by Susan May Warren  Visit with Susan through November 21, 2018

11/18/18 Excerpt StoreyBook Reviews

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Gratitude: The Art of Being Thankful by Vickie Phelps


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LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

11.18.2018  Jardine Libaire’s writing life connects Austin, New York, and Los Angeles


When Texas Monthly asked well-regarded Texas authors to select their favorite books for 2017, readers of Lone Star Literary probably recognized writers such as Attica Locke, Amanda Eyre Ward, Joe R. Lansdale, and Lawrence Wright, among others. But they might not be as familiar with Jardine Libaire, who was asked by the beloved periodical to weigh in. Libaire’s 2017 novel White Fur (Penguin Random House) is white hot, garnering rave reviews from NPR, Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus, and more, and has been optioned by Amazon for a new television series for which Libaire will be the writer. We caught up with her via email in Los Angeles, where she is now living, although she says she will never leave Austin.

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Where did you grow up, Jardine, and how would you describe those days?


JARDINE LIBAIRE: The south shore of Long Island was my childhood home, and growing up there was great. We lived in a small town on the bay, and my brothers and I roamed pretty freely, playing in the woods, sailing, biking around on adventures. My parents are a happy and generous couple, so we had a house full of family friends, dinner parties, lots of books and gardens, and a ram named Stanley and a pair of peacocks. It was a lovely place to start out.



What brought you to Austin?


In 2007, after living in Brooklyn and Manhattan for ten years and loving New York City so much it hurt, I suddenly woke up one day and had a deep desire to wander and live somewhere completely different, to slow down, and to get more sunshine. These vague desires eventually led me to rent a friend’s house for a month in south Austin, to see what the city was like. Within a couple days of being there, on a street lined with houses lit up by string lights and crowded with cactus plants and roses and jalapeños, after meeting neighbors and getting a sense of the place, I knew I wasn’t leaving. I love Austin so much, and am so lucky to have landed there.



Tell us about your most recent book, the highly acclaimed literary novel White Fur.


White Fur was started at least seven years ago, and I think the seeds of it were planted earlier. I wanted to write a love story that felt real to me, even though it has a pulpy, fairy-tale back bone. The idea of portraying the strange and underexplored side of love and obsession was part of the impetus. And then social class in America was very much on my mind, as another under-explored modern topic. Mid-’80s New York City just seemed like the perfect place to play out both those ideas. And from all that came the characters and the world of their lives. >>READ MORE


Texas's only statewide, weekly calendar of book events
Bookish Texas event highlights  11.18.2018
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor



  • No special events this week



  • Literary Frontiers: Historical Fiction & the Creative Imagination, San Marcos, August 1-December 14
  • “Dawoud Bey: Forty Years in Harlem” photography exhibition (from the book Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply), Austin, August 29-December 8
  • Finding Sophie Blackall Exhibition, Abilene, October 11-February 1
  • Texas Writers (a Humanities Texas exhibition), Livingston, November 1-30


DALLAS  Mon., Nov. 19 First United Methodist Church, An evening with Dr. Diana Butler Bass, author of Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks, 7:30PM


RICHARDSON  Mon., Nov. 19  The Twig Book Shop, Pete Gershon discussing and signing Collision: The Contemporary Art Scene in Houston, 1972-1985, 5PM


SAN ANTONIO  Mon., Nov. 19  Richardson Public Library, Writers Guild of Texas workshop: "Memoir Publishing" with Alice Parker, 7PM


ARLINGTON  Tues., Nov. 20   UTA, Maverick Speaker Series: Naomi Oreskes, author of The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, 7:30PM


SAN ANTONIO  Tues., Nov. 20 The Mix, PuroSlam presents PuroBattle: Vets vs Rookies, 9:30PM


HOUSTON Wed., Nov. 21 Write About Now, Wansgiving Potluck & Poetry Open Mic, 7:30PM


Thurs., Nov. 22  HAPPY THANKSGIVING  No public events scheduled today




DALLAS  Fri., Nov. 23  Heroes Lounge, Dallas Poetry Slam presents Black Friday Sale, 8PM


EL PASO  Fri., Nov. 23  Fahrenheit 180, Barbed Wire Open Mic Night, 8PM




BEE CAVE  Sat., Nov. 24   B&N - Hill Country Galleria, Author Signings: Recipes From A Daughter Of The World by Shama Verma, Every Christian's Call by Kevin Almond, and LaLa Feels Blah-La by Tela Kayne, 2PM


CANYON  Sat., Nov. 24   Burrowing Owl Books, Jodi Thomas signing Mistletoe Miracles, 12PM


GALVESTON  Sat., Nov. 24  Galveston Bookshop, E.R. Bills signing 100 Things to Do in Texas Before You Die, 2PM


HOUSTON  Sat., Nov. 24  Murder By the Book, Small Business Saturday with Guest Booksellers William Dylan Powell and S.C. Perkins, 1PM


SAN ANTONIO  Sun., Nov. 25  The Twig Book Shop, Jason Salas signing The Sugar Skull Ghost Thief, 12PM


News Briefs 11.18.18

Letters About Literature 2018 open for submissions from young readers


AUSTIN — Has a book brought you to laughter or tears, or changed your life? Write a letter to the author.



Letters About Literature is a reading/writing contest for fourth through twelfth graders under the direction of the Library of Congress. Texas submissions for the 2018–19 contest are due to the new online submission platform by December 14, 2018. A permission form is required for all students under the age of 13 on November 1, 2018.


Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. State winners receive $100 and a trip to the Texas Library Association Conference. National winners receive $2,000 and travel assistance to Washington D.C. for a special awards ceremony.


How to enter

There are three categories for contestants:

Level 1 — Grades 4-6

Level 2 — Grades 7-8

Level 3 — Grades 9-12


Read: Select a fiction or nonfiction book, a poem or play you have read that you feel strongly about. It might be a book that helped you through a difficult time, or it might be a book that simply touched your heart or inspired you.  >>READ MORE


Writespace to offer emerging writer fellowships


HOUSTON — According to Writespace Houston’s website, as part of their ongoing commitment to encourage and support exciting new voices, in 2019 Writespace will award Emerging Writer Fellowships to two exceptionally talented writers selected from the Houston community.


Both published and unpublished writers are welcome to apply. Special consideration will be given to outstanding candidates from historically underrepresented populations. Applicants must live within sixty miles of Writespace and provide proof of demonstrated financial need.


Emerging Writer Fellowship Prize

Over the course of one year, each recipient of the Writespace Emerging Writer Fellowship will be eligible to receive at no cost:


• Four multi-week Writespace workshops (four to ten sessions each)

• Six one-day Writespace workshops

• Seven-day pass to Writefest, Writespace’s flagship literary festival

• Four consultation sessions with Writespace director Elizabeth White-Olsen or Writespace associate director Cassandra Rose Clarke (optional)

• One Writespace membership   >>READ MORE


 ——­——— A D V E R T I S E M E N T —————

Lone Star Listens compilation available fall 2018, for readers, fans, and writers everywhere


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 Summer 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.


  • Examination and review copies will be available fall 2017 in watermarked pdf format.



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