Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
Diana Finlay Hendricks
Delbert McClinton: One of the Fortunate Few
Texas A&M University Press
Hardcover, 9781623495886 (ebook also available); 232 pages, 30 color/30 b&w photos, bibliography, index; $29.95
December 11, 2017
Reviewed by Si Dunn
The journey from the flat plains of West Texas to worldwide musical stardom can be long and hard, with ample opportunities to get lost on side roads or slammed into bar ditches by life’s passing eighteen-wheelers.
Lubbock native and blues rock singer-songwriter Delbert McClinton knows that he has been one of the “fortunate few” to complete that arduous journey from obscurity to fame. Now a three-time Grammy winner with many albums to his credit, McClinton has been on stage for more than sixty years. And he keeps performing his songs with his widely envied voice, plus his well-honed skills on harmonica, guitar, and piano. >>READ MORE
Fans of the mystery writing team that goes by the pen name of Miles Arceneaux will want to check out Hidden Sea, the fifth Gulf Coast novel featuring the adventures of Charlie Sweetwater ($11.99 paperback).
This one is set on the Texas and Mexican Gulf Coast but drifts into Cuba as well, as Sweetwater sets out to find his missing great-nephew in Mexico, accompanied by the boy’s father, Raul Sweetwater. Along the way they encounter drug cartels, smugglers, crooked politicians, pirates and sea slaves.
As always, the Arceneaux team (Brent Douglass, John T. Davis, and James R. Dennis) keeps the action flowing and the pages turning, with a couple of surprising twists at the end. This may be the best yet.
George Washington: Abilene author Rob Westman and Abilene artist Kay Walton have teamed up to produce a full-color coffee table book on George Washington’s Christian faith and values.
George Washington: Providence ($24.95 hardcover) makes its debut appropriately on Presidents Day, at a 7 p.m. event Monday at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Abilene.
Dr. Peter Lillback, author of the number one best-seller George Washington’s Sacred Fire, will speak, and Westman and Walton will sign books. Westman said he was inspired to write his book, and produce a one-hour documentary, after reading Lillback’s thoroughly researched account several years ago. Lillback helped Westman secure funding for his and Walton’s family-oriented volume.
“If George Washington is our measure,” Westman writes, “then God seems less interested in bravado and more interested in bravery. He was not a perfect man. But we can learn from his actions, as he attempted to walk according to the duties of the Christian faith.”
Reconstruction violence: Veteran Texas author Chuck Parsons has written an authoritative biography, Captain Jack Helm: A Victim of Texas Reconstruction Violence (University of North Texas Press, $29.95 hardcover).
Helm was a deputy sheriff, sheriff, and captain of the Texas State Police during Reconstruction. Often the suspected lawbreakers that he arrested never made it back to jail alive, and eventually his version of law and order brought about his own demise at the hands of notorious killer John Wesley Hardin. Little has been written about Helms until this book.
Texas State Historian Bill O’Neal says, “A biography of Jack Helm is long overdue. Captain Jack Helm is more than a fine gunfighter biography: it is a vivid statement about the murderous violence of Reconstruction in Texas.”
Business successes: The Entrepreneurial Spirit of Aggieland by Randy Burson ($34.99 oversized hardcover, $24.99 paperback) focuses on 12 Aggies who have succeeded while pursuing their dreams of launching their own business enterprises. The twelve stories are told in first person as the entrepreneurs relate their paths to success, the challenges they had to overcome, and their advice to young, aspiring business leaders.
“There is no secret recipe for success,” Burson writes. “Entrepreneurial success is about courage, self-discipline, vision, belief, capitalizing on opportunities, overcoming obstacles and, most of all, hard work.”
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Glenn Dromgoole has been writing his Texas Reads column since 2002, focusing on Texas books and authors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Hardcover, 978-0-7352-1771-3, (also available as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 256 pgs., $26.00
February 6, 2018
They come from Michoacán and Guadalajara, from Oaxaca and El Salvador. Men, women, children, entire families. Some are heroin mules, “coyotes,” and cartel scouts; some are pregnant women, children escaping gangs, and fathers who want to feed their kids. One man offers to clean up around the station while he waits for the bus that will return him to Mexico. Sometimes the migrants’ backpacks are dumped on the desert floor, the water drained, the clothes and food burned. Other times, the migrants’ blistered feet are washed and bandaged. There are abandoned drug loads and abandoned people, extraordinary cruelty and ordinary kindness, paranoia and compromising situations, kidney failure and the comatose and the dead. The Southwestern desert is a vast graveyard. A Texas sheriff notes, “For every one we find, we’re probably missing five.”
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border is the first book from Francisco Cantú, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent. His writing has appeared in Harper’s and Guernica, among other publications, and Cantú won a Pushcart Prize and the 2017 Whiting Award. The Line Becomes a River is a profoundly disturbing memoir of Cantú’s years in the Border Patrol during years of breathtaking violence, when Felipe Calderón was president of Mexico and challenged the cartels. >>READ MORE
Elephant Dreams: A Novel
Paperback, 978-1-6804-6532-7, (also available as an e-book), 224 pgs., $13.95
September 2, 2017
Sixteen-year-old Fiona Finn is homeless on the nineteenth-century streets of New York City. After her mother’s death from consumption, her father’s drinking problem subsumed him. Fiona was scavenging for food when the family was evicted; when she returns to the apartment, her father and little brother, Frank, are gone. Fiona has been living in the basement of a condemned tenement, and finally seeks help and refuge in a church after almost being nabbed on the street by a pimp.
The Children’s Aid Society wants to send Fiona west on an orphan train, but her father refuses to sign the documents. He, too, thinks she can make money on street corners, enough to keep him insensately soused. So the society arranges for Fiona to work for them, helping on the trains with the orphans who do go west to new lives. When Fiona’s father stows away on the train, she escapes during a stop in Houston and finds her way to a circus—"The Mollie A. Bailey Show, A Texas Show for Texas People.” >>READ MORE
For three decades he's been writing books about inspiring and underappreciated stories of African-American football. Now, the author of Thursday Night Lights: The Story of Black High School Football in Texas (University of Texas Press, 2017), will be inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters in April, and he's been a part of the most notable book festivals across the state. Michael Hurd kicks off the Texas Writers Series in Abilene this week, and he talks with us via email for Lone Star Listens.
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Where did you grow up, Michael, and how would you describe those days?
MICHAEL HURD: I was born in Texarkana, Texas side (!). Despite the segregation in the 1950s, I look back at that as the best time in my life. We had a wonderful family centered around my maternal grandmother — my “Big Momma!” There was always somebody to give you a hug, or tell you to get me a switch!, or offer a lap to sit in, or walk with you to church every Sunday. My grandmother, Ellen Baxter, my uncles and aunts, cousins were the best people I’ve ever known. Solid human beings who loved family, loved kids, and were well-respected in the community. It was such a loving and supportive environment. We moved to Houston when I was ten, and I was mad at my parents for the longest time because I didn’t understand why we had to move, why we had to leave that.
How old were you when you first played football, and what position did you play?
I didn’t participate in team sports at school, but played sandlot games — touch football, sometimes tackle, basketball, Little League baseball. I started playing those sports early on with my friends, and we’d have neighborhood teams that played against neighborhood rivals. >>READ MORE
SPECIAL EVENTS THIS WEEK
ABILENE Mon., Feb. 19 Abilene Public Library - Downtown, Texas Author Series: Michael Hurd discussing and signing Thursday Night Lights, 12PM
DALLAS Mon., Feb. 19 Belo Mansion, World Affairs Council of DFW hosts former Mexican president Vicente Fox discussing and signing Let’s Move On: Beyond Fear and False Prophets, 12PM
ARLINGTON Tues., Feb. 20 UT Arlington - Texas Hall, Maverick Speaker Series presents best-selling author and sustainable food advocate Michael Pollan: "One Writer's Trip: From the Garden to the Plate and the Beyond," 7:30PM
ALSO SIGNING IN HOUSTON Tues., Feb. 13 Blue Willow Bookshop, 7PM
DALLAS Tues., Feb. 20 Interabang Books, Michelle Staubach Grimes launches her newest children's book, PIDGE TAKES THE STAGE, 6PM
AUSTIN Wed., Feb. 21 Harry Ransom Center, Early Digital Facsimiles: Sarah Werner, who previously served as Digital Media Strategist at the Folger Shakespeare Library and author of the forthcoming Studying Early Printed Books, 1450–1800: A Practical Guide, will discuss the rise of digitization and its impact on the study of early modern books, 4:30PM
COLLEGE STATION Thurs., Feb. 22 TAMU - Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, "How to Become a Star Writer" by Skip Hollandsworth, author of The Midnight Assassin, 1PM
EL PASO Thurs., Feb. 22 B&N - Sunland Park, Meet Crazy Horse family members and W. Matson, author of Crazy Horse: The Lakota Warrior's Life & Legacy, 5PM
SAN ANTONIO Thurs., Feb. 22 San Antonio Central Library, A Public Platica on the current state of the literary arts in San Antonio, with the debut and signing of Literary San Antonio, featuring Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto Bryce Milligan, Texas Poet Laureate Rosemary Catacalos, San Antonio and Texas Poet Laureate Jenny Browne, journalist and cultural historian Cary Clack, and San Antonio book collector extraordinaire Bill Fisher, 6:30PM
SAN MARCOS Thurs., Feb. 22 Texas State - Alkek Library, the Wittliff Collections presents a reading and signing with Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 3:30PM
ALSO SIGNING IN KYLE Fri., Feb. 23 Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center,7:30PM
ALPINE Fri., Feb. 23 Front Street Books, Ben H. English discussing and signing Yonderings: Trails and Memories of the Big Bend, 6PM
AUSTIN Sat., Feb. 24 BookWoman, TORCH Wildfire Reading series featuring Dr. Jacqueline Allen Trimble, author of American Happiness, winner of the 2016 Balcones Poetry Prize, 7PM
HOUSTON Sat., Feb. 24 Blue Willow Bookshop, Lincee Ray will discuss and sign her new book, WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS, 11AM
AUSTIN — The Texas Teen Book Festival is excited to announce that its 10th annual Festival will take place Sat., Oct. 6, at St. Edward’s University. Young adults and YA-genre fans can expect a fun day filled with entertaining panels and inspiring sessions led by some of 2018’s best-selling and most critically acclaimed Young Adult authors, along with interactive activities, games, book signings, and more.
The 2017 Texas Teen Book Festival welcomed more than 4,000 attendees and an all-star lineup of more than thirty celebrated YA authors, including keynote speakers Jason Reynolds and Marie Lu. The 2017 TTBF also introduced the iTent and We Need Diverse Books for a special session on professional opportunities in the book and publishing industry.
“We are ecstatic to announce that the 2018 Texas Teen Book Festival will be returning for its 10th year,” said Shawn Mauser, TTBF festival director. >>READ MORE
SAN ANTONIO—The San Antonio Book Festival (SABF) has released its lineup of more than 90 national, regional, and local authors who will appear at the 6th annual Festival, which will take place on Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 9 am to 5 pm at the Central Library and Southwest School of Art. A detailed schedule of the Festival’s author sessions will be available at l in March.
Headlining the 2018 lineup is Emmy award-winning journalist Jorge Ramos with his latest book, Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era. Ramos has been the anchorman for Univision since 1986 and was hailed as “one of the 25 most influential Hispanics in the United States” by TIME magazine. His 2016 documentary, Hate Rising, investigates the state of hate in America.
Other top attractions in the SABF lineup include popular comedian Paula Poundstone with her book exploring happiness, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness; Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea with his new novel, The House of Broken Angels; former San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros with Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth; Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird and former writer for the TV show Empire; National Book Award finalist Carmen Maria Machado with her debut collection of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties; former LBJ Presidential Library director Mark Updegrove with The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship Between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
MacArthur Fellow and best-selling author Sandra Cisneros will appear with her memoir, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life. >>READ MORE
BLACK HISTORY MONTH FOCUS
ABILENE — The Coretta Scott King Book Awards have been given annually since 1969 to African-American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults for demonstrating African-American culture and values. The largest exhibit honoring these authors and illustrators opened last week at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene.
An exhibit three years in the making, “Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards” will run through at least May 19, 2018, according to Sujata Shahane, director of education and exhibitions programming at the NCCIL.
LEFT: 2017 Texas Poetry Out Loud competitors
AUSTIN — The Texas Commission on the Arts will host the Texas Poetry Out Loud recitation contest for high school students at 1:00 pm Sat., Feb. 24, 2018, in Austin. The finals, graciously hosted by the Bullock Texas State History Museum, will be open to the public and free to attend. 27 students will represent their schools in the competition. The event will be hosted by internationally renowned Texas poet Naomi Shihab Nye. >>READ MORE
Lone Star Literary Life covers the Texas literary scene like no one else, week in and week out. Since 2015, we’ve given Texas authors, booksellers, libraries, publishers, and readers a trusted platform of their own. With shrinking coverage devoted to books in mainstream media — and most of that focused on the same handful of national bestsellers — where were Texas authors to get noticed, and where were Texas readers to discover the books they crave? >>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.
1 Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House 9781250158062
2 Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 1 9780141986005
3 Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 9780997895827
4 Mary Oliver, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver 9780399563249
5 Rupi Kaur, The Sun and Her Flowers 9781449486792
6 Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey 9781449474256
7 Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life 9780762447695
8 Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow 9780670026197
9 Paulette Jiles, News of the World 9780062409201
10 (tie) Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere 9780735224292
10 (tie) Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale 9781328879943
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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2/21/18 Author Video StoreyBook Reviews
2/22/18 Guest Post 1 Texas Book Lover
2/23/18 Review Reading by Moonlight
2/24/18 Guest Post 2 Forgotten Winds
2/25/18 Trip Pic Books and Broomsticks
2/26/18 Review Missus Gonzo
2/27/18 Trip Pic A Page Before Bedtime
2/28/18 Guest Post 3 The Librarian Talks
3/1/18 Review Bibliotica
3/2/18 Review The Clueless Gent
2/13/18 Notable Quotable A Page Before Bedtime
2/13/18 Notable Quotable Hall Ways Blog
2/14/18 Review Missus Gonzo
2/15/18 Playlist Reading by Moonlight
2/15/18 Author Interview The Librarian Talks
2/16/18 Review Forgotten Winds
2/17/18 Guest Post Texas Book Lover
2/17/18 Excerpt The Page Unbound
2/18/18 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/19/18 Notable Quotable Syd Savvy
2/19/18 Notable Quotable A Novel Reality
2/20/18 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
2/21/18 Top Five Momma on the Rocks
2/22/18 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
2/22/18 Review Margie's Must Reads
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’ll start with a bookish place smack in the heart of 2017’s #1 Top Bookish Destination. History-hungry tourists rub elbows with elected officials in this small space chock-full of Texas-related books and souvenirs. (You can pick up a copy of our Literary Texas guidebook here, too!)
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