Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
Texas Review Press
978-1680030204 Paperback, 158 pages; spiral bound, $22.95, 2015
Reviewed by Rashda Khan
Cooking with the Texas Poets Laureate is a gem. The slim volume contains a bounty of riches in terms of words, wisdom, and recipes. The book features eleven Texas poets laureate — luminaries like Jan Seale, Walt McDonald, Red Steagall, Karla K. Morton, and more — who share their poetry, essays, and family recipes. It is a feast of offerings that you want to take time and savor.
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Harelik, Tiffany; foreword by Grady Spears
American Palate (History Press)
978-1626197220 Paperback, 288 pages; $24.99, 2014
The Big Bend Cookbook is a lush love letter to the remote and wildly beautiful region in southwest Texas. Author Tiffany Harelik has put together a gorgeous collection of photographs, facts, personalities, and recipes.
Photographs showcase natural vistas, flora, and fauna; others highlight regional murals and signs. Harelik has included both historical and contemporary photographs of people and places, adding more depth and interest for the reader. >> READ MORE
Read by Elisabeth Rodgers
Audible audio edition, 11 hours and 47 minutes, unabridged, $21.95
The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy is an entertaining and illuminating exploration of the false dichotomy between loyalty to country and personal conviction. Moving backward and forward in time between World War II Germany and present-day El Paso, Texas, McCoy draws parallels between those who did what they could to help the Jews and those who do what they can to help Central American immigrants. >> READ MORE
Trinity University Press
320 pages, $24.95
June 12, 2015
“[I]in the modern era, there have been only two wildfires, both in California, more vicious and pitiless than the one that changed my life after nearly killing me.”
Hail of Fire: A Man and His Family Face Natural Disaster is Randy Fritz’s memoir about the Bastrop County, Texas, wildfire of 2011 — the most destructive in Texas history — that incinerated the Lost Pines area (almost fifty-five square miles) and left nearly 1,700 families (including the Fritz family) homeless.
Fritz viscerally conveys the horror, loss, and regret he experienced. He finds that the John Wayne personality traits that served him well before the fire — antiauthoritarian, argumentative, stubborn, self-absorbed, prideful bordering on hubristic — fail him utterly when depression and the five stages of grief set in. After a diagnosis of PTSD, Fritz finds relief in therapy, surprising himself. >> READ MORE
Writer Maria Kernahan and artist Michael Schafbuch have teamed up to produce a new, very colorful alphabet book, T is for Texas (Dry Climate Studios, $19.95 hardcover). The book explores some different topics than most Texas alphabet books.
For example, B is for Brands, with eighteen brands shown. D is for dancing, which is illustrated by several pair of colorful boots. E is for Enchanted Rock, K for king-sized, illustrated by thirteen other states that fit inside the shape of Texas. The author got pretty creative when it came to X and Z — with X being for roadrunner tracks in the shape of an X, and Z for the zig-zag of the Rio Grande through Big Bend.
Children should be attracted to the large, bright illustrations and the rhyming, easy-to-read text.
World War II novel: Swift by College Station author Robert A. Shearer is a short, fast-paced historical novel set in Texas in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, $15 paperback).
“The attack on Pearl Harbor changed the lives of millions of Americans,” Shearer writes. He was three, living with his parents in Dallas, when the war broke out. Soon they were in a small town, where Shearer’s mother said they couldn’t leave their apartment for three weeks. “This is a historical account of how murder, mayhem, morbid racism, mental illness, and mobilization for war changed our lives. Some of the details are fictional, and all of the names of original characters have been changed, so the story is historical fiction, a murder mystery, a chronicle of a case of military justice, and a case study in mental disturbance,” Shearer says. Read more at www.tamupress.com.
Series completed: Abilene novelist Lynn Vadney completes her five-book “The Compound Series” of post-apocalyptic adventure novels with the publication of The Stone Is Turned (Desert Willow Publishing).
The series began with two novels, Sinking Sand and Not the Least Bit Sorry, set two and a half years after massive terrorists’ attacks virtually destroy society.
“The series has been about our nation in crisis,” writes Vadney. “May our leaders, in whatever capacity, remain fearless and dedicated.” The Stone Is Turned covers the period from May to December, three years after the attacks, Vadney notes, and “law and order is gaining a toehold in one small Texas town.”
For more on the series, go to desertwillowpublishingonline.com.
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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lone Star Literary Life’s Best Texas Football Books special section kicks off Sunday, Aug. 9
Two-a-days, the Twelfth Man, and the Cotton Bowl are just some of the iconic touchstones of Texas culture and by extension Lone Star literature.
On Sun., Aug. 9, we pay tribute to the best Texas football books by interviewing H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, as his publisher releases the 25th anniversary edition of the book. (See his fall event schedule in Texas, below.)
We’d like to bring you in on some coverage as well. (Zone, no blitz). We’re doing an informal poll of the best Texas football books through the years. Titles like Semi-Tough, The Junction Boys, The Hundred Yard War, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk come to mind. What are yours?
Email your suggestion to us at email@example.com, and we’ll publish the poll results in our Aug. 9 issue. And you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of Friday Night Lights 25th Anniversary Edition.
It's been a big year for the Michener Center's Elizabeth McCracken. In March she won the $20,000 Story prize, the largest first-prize amount of any annual U.S. book award exclusively for fiction, for her short-story collection Thunderstruck & Other Stories (Dial Press, 2014). Earlier this month the Writers' League of Texas selected this collection as its Best Fiction of 2014; it's also been longlisted for the National Book Award.
Elizabeth McCracken: I always say that Texas is the one place in the world where people are nice to you in stores, and get your jokes. I’m from New England, where people are funny, but, well, crabby. Proudly crabby, I’d say. Nevertheless, my first months in Austin, I was surprised by how many great conversations I had with people—at the mechanic, at the Social Security Office, just anywhere. >> READ MORE
RICHARDSON Mon., July 27 Alamo Drafthouse, Ernest Cline with his new novel, Armada, 7PM
Mon., July 27: Alamo Drafthouse, talk, Q&A and book signing of Ernest Cline’s new novel, Armada, 7PM [tickets required].
Tues., July 28: Cline will also visit BookPeople, Austin, speaking & signing Armada, 7PM
Sat., Aug. 1: Austin Books and Comics, Ernest Cline to sign Armada, 12PM
AUSTIN Tues., July 27 Cheer Up Charlie's, Everything Is Bigger Poetry Reading, 7:30 PM
Cheer Up Charlie's, Everything is Bigger reading with poet James Shea, local writer Sarah Rafael García, local poet Jesse Bertron, and special guest Hannah Kenah, 7:30PM
SILVERTON Tues., July 27 Silverton Public Library, Texas Writes, Debra Winegarten & James Haley,
Silverton Public Library, Texas Writes (a program from Writers' League of Texas) with Debra Winegarten and James Haley, 5PM
HOUSTON Sat., Aug. 1 Blue Willow Bookshop, Adan Medrano will discuss and sign his new cookbook, Truly Texas Mexican, 2PM
Blue Willow Bookshop, Adan Medrano will discuss and sign his new cookbook, TRULY TEXAS MEXICAN, 2PM
President Jimmy Carter will be at BookPeople in Austin, Sat., Aug. 1 at 2:30 p.m. to sign his new book, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety (Simon & Schuster, July 2015), a memoir of pride, humor, and a few second thoughts. Carter has lived one of the great American lives — from rural obscurity to world fame, universal respect, and contentment.
This is event is a signing only. President Carter will not give a public talk. Tickets are required to join the signing line. Tickets are available to purchase online and in-store. (As of July 27, tickets are still available.) >>READ MORE
The seventh annual East Texas Book Fest takes place on Friday, Aug. 21, and Saturday, Aug. 22, in Tyler's Harvey Convention Center, located at 2000 West Front Street, Tyler. The event is free.
One hundred Texas authors who write in many genres and for all ages will display their books and chat with readers.
Cynthia Leitich Smith (left), author of Tantalize, Eternal, Blessed, and more
Don Tate, author and Illustrator of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Sept 2015), It Jes' Happened When Billy Traylor Started to Draw (2012), and more
SO YOU WANT TO PUBLISH A BOOK?
Chris Rogers, author of Emissary (Nov. 2014), Here Lies A Wicked Man, Write the Scene 3 Easy Ways, Ramp Up Tension 3 Easy Ways, Plot Your Story 3 Easy Ways, and more
CONNECTING WITH THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF YOUNG ADULTS
Dr. Rene Saldaña, author of Heartbeat of the Soul of the World, Dancing With the Devil and Other Tales of Beyond, ¡Juventud! Growing up on the Border, The Jumping Tree, and more
AWARD-WINNING FICTION FOR ADULTS
Ben Fountain (far left), author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Thomas McNeely (left), author of Ghost Horse
WRITING BOOKS and SINGING SONGS
Mike Blakely, author of A Song To Die For, What Are the Chances, A Tale Out of Luck, Come Sundown, Comanche Dawn, and more
WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW
Antonio Ruiz-Camacho (left), author of Barefoot Dogs: Stories
Tracy Dahlby, author of Into the Field: A Correspondent's Notebook
M. J. Mooney, author of The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle: American Sniper, Navy SEAL
M. M. McAllen, author of Maximilian and Carlota: Europe's Last Empire in Mexico
Dr. Carlos K. Blanton, author of George I. Sánchez, The Long Fight for Mexican American Integration
FAMILIES ARE HISTORY
Chris Tomlinson, author of Tomlinson Hill and producer of Tomlinson Hill: Are We Equal Yet?
Odessa College and the Odessa Council for Arts & Humanities are partnering to bring David Sedaris to Deaderick Auditorium on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. The show is free to the public. Tickets will be available in August.
(Information from Odessa Council for Arts & Humanities)
In conjunction with Da Capo Press's Aug. 11 publication of the 25th anniversary edition of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, uathor H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger returns to Texas for a series of events. The publisher announced the following schedule this week:
Buzz Bissinger Book Events, Fall 2015
THE PRISON TRILOGY
Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed,
envy, manipulation... even crime!
Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America's highest ranking military officer
convicted of spying.
Observer: The Prison People; The Prison Experience
For four years running, downtown Abilene has transformed into a childhood adventure, as the annual Children’s Art & Literacy Festival (CALF) celebrates the work of children's illustrated books. Through Sept. 25 the work of 2015 featured artist David Shannon (right), will be on display at the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in an exhibition titled "David Goes to the Museum." Visit www.abilenecalf.com.
>> LISTEN NOW (mp3)
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The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation... even crime. When Jackie Bancroft's husband died in 1952, he left her an heiress.
Almost fifty years later, Jackie would marry Ronnie Lee Morgan, a fifty-year old gay interior decorator. Morgan was one of many clients in the active law practice of author Glen Aaron. This unusual marriage lasted until Jackie's mysterious death five years later. Throughout that period, Aaron became entwined in the personal lives and demands of the couple, along with handling many of their legal affairs. This book in Aaron’s Prison Trilogy tells that inside story.
Watch for dates beginning July 30.
July 26: Secret Asian Girl
July 27: Because This is My Life, Y’all
July 28: The Crazy Bookseller
July 29: Writings of Author Jas T. Ward
Cliff Hudder, Pretty Enough for You (Texas Review Press, paperback, July 15, 2015, 344 pgs., 978-1680030389). Selected by Lone Star Literary Life as a Best Texas Beach Read 2015. Ne’er-do-well immigration attorney Harrison Bent is trying to juggle an angry wife, an inscrutable stalker, an obsessed girlfriend, and an unsolved murder, while trying to forge a successful outcome to a case that might revive his career and help pay for his autistic son’s special school, and his day has just started. Author Cliff Hudder takes Harrison’s story on the road in a Lone Star Book Blog Tour.
The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate (Tyndale House, 2014). 2015 Christy Award Winner
July 28 - Bookishjessp
with tour coordinator Tabatha Pope
Despite the wealth of opportunities for audiences to meet authors around Texas any day of the week, it’s not always possible for authors to participate in appearances as often as they’d like, to connect with their readers and fans. Enter the Book Blog Tour. >> READ MORE
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Starting in June 2015, we'll help you find them in our online classifieds section. If you're interested in advertising for pennies a day, contact ads@LoneStarLiterary.com to run your listing here.
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