Connecting readers, books, authors, writers, publishers, booksellers, and others interested in Texas books and letters


Texas books from crime to music to war… and more

Here’s a sampling of some new books of interest to Texans, reflecting the wide range of topics covered by Texas writers and publishers.


Deliver Us by Houston true crime author Kathryn Casey concerns the series of mysterious deaths of more than 20 young women along Interstate 45 between Houston and Galveston in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s (Harper, $7.99 paperback).


Caddo: Visions of a Southern Cypress Lake features the color photography of Carolyn Brown and text by historian Thad Sitton in a coffee-table book tribute to mysterious, complex, cypress-laden Caddo Lake, which lies half in East Texas and half in Louisiana (Texas A&M University Press, $30.00 hardcover).


Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell to Become the Man I Was Meant to Be by Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Shilo Harris, with Robin Overby Cox, is Harris’s gripping story revolving around the catastrophic injuries he sustained in Iraq when his vehicle was hit by a deadly homemade bomb. Harris, who lives in Texas, is a motivational speaker and an advocate for wounded warriors (Baker Books, $21.99 hardcover).


Goodbye, Mexico: Poems of Remembrance is an anthology edited by Sarah Cortez containing 76 poems by 46 poets, including several Texas poet laureates, reflecting on their experiences in Mexico before the drug cartel violence changed the country so drastically (Texas Review Press, $22.95 paperback).


The Flatlanders: Now It’s Now Again by Austin/Lubbock author John T. Davis tells the story of the legendary band—featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock—that has influenced numerous Texas performers over the years, including Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett (University of Texas Press, $19.95 paperback).


Crowded in the Middle of Nowhere is a collection of humorous and poignant stories by Lamesa veterinarian Dr. Bo Brock. “This book will make you smile,” the author promises (Rare Bird/CreateSpace, $17.50 paperback).


Texas History for Kids: Lone Star Lives and Legends by prolific children’s author Karen Bush Gibson is a condensed history of Texas combined with suggested related activities for kids, about 20 interesting sidebars and numerous illustrations (Chicago Review Press, $16.95 paperback).


Timmy Tattersail and Daisy Dewdrop: Best Friends Forever is a children’s book by longtime friends Cindy Reed of Lubbock and Judy Cocchiarella of Fort Worth. The story centers on two mice who are caught up in a tornado and become friends as they make their journey back home, experiencing a series of exciting adventures along the way (AuthorHouse, available in paperback and e-book formats).

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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

>> Read his past Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Literary Life here.




Texas Reads >> archive
Glenn Dromgoole


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The Big Drift
TCU Press, 978-0-87565-570-3

232 pp., $29.95, 2014

The Big Drift by Patrick Dearen begins in the Middle Concho of west Texas during a blizzard in December 1884. Zeke Boles, a black cowhand and former slave, is running from a hangman’s noose when he stumbles across Will Brite, a white cowhand pinned under his horse and caught up in the barbed wire of a drift line. This unlikely pair, brought together by chance, learns that they have more in common than that which separates them and they must depend upon each other for their very lives as each seeks redemption for his part in the memories they are each trying to outrun.


Dearen has a talent for describing this rugged country and the behavior of herd animals. The stampede caused by the blizzard is vividly evoked: “Thundering and bawling, a great shadow that seemed composed of many smaller shadows rushed pell-mell…”  >> read more

eds., Her Texas

of creative Texas women into a beautiful anthology of written and visual art. Each editor provides an introduction with her own distinctive voice that collectively function as a prelude to the work contained therein, microcosms of the macro-macrocosm of Texas.


“Creative Nonfiction” appropriately begins with the inspiration for this project and grande dame of Texas literary criticism, the late Lou Halsell Rodenberger. Donna M. Johnson’s “Mockingbird Lane” reminds us that there are many ways to be absent; “The Man at the End of the Hall” is Guida Jackson’s hymn to the plains and the “...whining, twanging, nerve-jangling never-ending wind”; Christine Warren’s “Let Her Roll” is a paean to the Guadalupe River in a time when outlaw country “sounded the way Texas felt.” >> read more

Bookish Texas event highlights  3.8.2015  >> this week
Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor


  • AUSTIN Malvern Books, Novel Night with Thomas McNeely & Mike Freedman, Thurs., Mar. 12, 7PM


  • HOUSTON Brazos Bookstore, Beats Party: celebrate Jack Kerouac’s birthday & the Beat Generation Fri., Mar 13  6:30PM

    Brazos Bookstore, Beats Party: celebrate Jack Kerouac’s birthday and the legacy of the Beat Generation featured readers include Inprint’s Rich Levy, Houston Chronicle’s Maggie Galehouse, Gulf Coast’s Adrienne Perry, local poets Erika Jo Brown and BJ Love, and more, 6:30PM

  • GALVESTON Galveston Bookshop, Galveston’s Maceo Family Empire: Bootlegging & The Balinese Room, Sat., Mar. 14, 2PM

    Galveston Bookshop, Nicole Boatman, Dr. Scott Belshaw, and Richard B. McCaslin will discuss and sign Galveston’s Maceo Family Empire: Bootlegging & The Balinese Room, 2PM

Lone Star Book Reviews >> more
Michelle Newby, NBCC,

Contributing Editor


>> archive
Patrick Dearen:
the man who measures
his writing in words
per mile

Kay Ellington


Midland author Patrick Dearen has published more than twenty books, capturing the history of Texas through fiction and nonfiction, and today he talks about starting out as a journalist, his writing influences, and a unique work process that includes walking, and writing, and words per mile.



LSLL: You have a long track record of using Texas history in fiction. What made you choose this most recent episode in The Big Drift?


PATRICK DEAREN: Although my family roots in West Texas go back to the 1880s, it was only after I set out on a lore and legend quest in 1982 that I began to appreciate the region’s historical heritage. When I put on my novelist hat, I always look for some overlooked aspect of that history. For The Big Drift, I found it in the riveting accounts of the massive cattle drift of 1884–85, when a Great Plains blizzard pushed hundreds of thousands of open-range cattle south to the Pecos and Devils Rivers.  >> more

Texas Institute of Letters to hold annual meeting April 10-11, name Lawrence Wright Lon Tinkle Award winner


The Texas Institute of Letters will honor acclaimed Austin writer Lawrence Wright as winner of its Lon Tinkle Award for an outstanding career in letters that has brought honor to the state. The award will be presented at TIL’s annual spring membership meeting in Houston. Wright was selected for that honor by TIL’s council and past presidents at Sept. 13 meeting in Austin.


Lon Tinkle was a longtime book editor at the Dallas Morning News, professor of comparative literature at Southern Methodist University, and prominent member of TIL.


Winning awards is not new for Wright. His book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Knopf, 2006), won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, among other honors. It has been published in some twenty-five languages

>> read more

American Gods author Neil Gaiman featured at One Book Odessa May 20


Neil Gaiman will be the author for the third One Book Odessa citywide read via a partnership with the Odessa Council for the Arts and Humanities, the Friends of the Ector County Library, the Education Foundation of Odessa, Odessa College, and the Ellen Noël Art Museum.


Gaiman will appear at the Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center on May 20, 2015, at 7 p.m. for an evening of discussion on his work, a reading from his latest short story collection, Trigger Warning, and audience Q&A. The event is free and open to the public; however, tickets will be required and are available online (convenience charge may apply).


Gaiman is the New York Times bestseller of more than twenty books. His works for adults include Neverwhere (broadcast as a BBC radio adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch); Anansi Boys; Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett); and the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. His most recent novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was described by The Guardian as “a book that summons both the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, and the complicated landscape of memory and forgetting.”

>> read more


San Antonio Book Festival slated for

Sat., April 11



IS YOUR COMMUNITY A TOP STOP FOR TEXAS BOOK LOVERS?  Maybe you've preserved the birthplace of a well-known Texas writer. Maybe you host an annual gathering for authors and readers. Maybe you have a popular indie bookstore. Or maybe your locale was made famous in a Texas book. Watch this page as we launch LSLL's top picks during spring break 2015, with tantalizing descriptions, delectable photos, scrumptious slide shows, and inviting hotlinks. Chambers, bookstores, events, publishers: advertise alongside affordably. Contact Kay by MARCH 10 at ads@lonestarliterary.com.


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