Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger spent a year living in Odessa and following the Odessa Permian Panthers football team in 1988. He wanted to write a book about the importance of high school football in a town “that had seen better times.”
Odessa was suffering from a colossal oil bust, but Permian’s football fortunes and expectations continued to dominate Texas football.
The resulting book, Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and A Dream, was published in 1990 to great critical and best-selling acclaim — except perhaps in Odessa, Texas. A movie and a TV series eventually were spun off from the book.
Twenty-five years later, Da Capo Press has brought out a 25th anniversary edition of Friday Night Lights ($15.99 paperback), including a twenty-five-page afterword by Bissinger tracking down several of the players featured in the book and reporting how their lives have turned out since high school.
When the book first came out, Bissinger’s planned book tour of Texas was cancelled because of death threats, presumably from irate Permian fans who felt their team and their town had been unfairly portrayed.
Evidently emotions have calmed down quite a bit in the ensuing quarter of a century, because this month Bissinger, now sixty, embarks on that long-delayed Texas book tour. He will kick it off in Odessa on Sept.14, then proceed to Midland on Sept. 15, Houston Sept. 16, Abilene Sept. 18, Dallas Sept. 19, and Austin Sept. 20.
He will speak at the Abilene Public Library on Sept. 18 at a noon lunch program being billed as a pre–West Texas Book Festival “bonus event.” The festival actually begins the next Monday, but festival planners couldn’t resist lining up Bissinger when he became available. The program is free, with an optional lunch of Frito Pie for $5. Bissinger will talk for 30-40 minutes, then sign books.
If you haven’t read Friday Night Lights, this new edition provides a good opportunity to do so. Carlton Stowers and I included the original book as one of our sports selections in 101 Essential Texas Books last year. Lone Star Literary Life last month ranked it number one on a list of best all-time Texas football books.
Looking back, Bissinger says “the controversy that exploded after the publication of the book in 1990 made me a marked man.” While he felt he had written many good things about Odessa and especially the Permian players, he “also exposed thick veins of racism and misplaced academic and social priorities.”
He said he has been back to Odessa many times since the book came out and has several “friends for life” there.
“Odessans are more forgiving than they think,” he writes, “or maybe they just learned to ignore me, an old shoe, dusty and cobwebbed, kept in a forgotten corner of the closet.”
For more on Bissinger’s talk in Abilene on Sept. 18, or on the West Texas Book Festival Sept. 21–26, go to abilenetx.com/apl.
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Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In conjunction with Da Capo Press's August 2015 publication of the 25th anniversary edition of Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream, author 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 10th annual Texas Word Wrangler Festival, which will be held Fri., Sept. 11 in Giddings, Texas, began in 2005, when the town realized there were so many talented authors — many of them local and state — that their community would like to recognize and encourage. The Giddings Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Giddings Public Library and Cultural Center to create the Texas Word Wranglers — authors who use words to convey ideas and stories, and portray people and places.
The 2015 lineup, featuring more than forty guest authors, includes:
Bangs, Ken, Roscoe Jack of Gateway Farm
Barton, Angie , Hi, My Name is Hanna and I'm Adopted
Bell, Ann , The Sister of Mary Dyer
Bowden, Lurlene, Old Coot's Campfire Cookin' Book
Carson, Connie, Colonial Romance
Chapman, Lara, Accidently Evil
Costello, Art, Expectation Therapy
Crawford, Ann, Greenpark
Doerr, Bob, The Rescue of Vincent
Drulman, Dorothy, Gentle Adventures for Young Folks (electronic)
Durham, Pat, Nyger's Advent Journey
Eckroat, Laura W., Laura's Blogspot
A Donut-A Muffin, Edward, R. Wayne
Wayne's Website, Kids Only Land
Foley, Jamie S., Sentinel
Fritz, Randy, Hail of Fire
Frontiera, Deborah, Book on Author's Den
The Nature of Life
Hill, Lydia, Finding Home
Hutchins, Pamela, Heaven To Betsy
Huyser, Cindy, Burning Number Five
James, Brooklyn, Just Not Ready Yet
Johnson, Linda Baten, Henry Goes to Texas
Maloy, Donna, Celia and the Wolf
Masters, Nancy Robinson, Extraordinary Patriots
McIlvain, Myra, Stein House
Mueller, Don, Signs
Oliver, Becka, Writer's League of Texas, Executive Director
O'Loughlin, Peter, The Archimedes Signal
Peck, Connie, Legend of the Superstition Gold
Penny, Gean, Sally the Travelin' Saddle
Sharboneau, Shanalee, My Mama Loves Me
Shields, Kathleen, Hamilton Troll Meets Fiona The Dog
Smith, Jackie, PhD, Once More with Feeling
Stehle, Andrea, Daughter of Athena
Wallach, Elsie, Mysterious Mars
Wier, George, A Jealous God (electronic book)
Wilbur, Dee, A Jealous God (electronic book)
Winegarten, Debra L., Oveta Culp Hobby
For details, visit www.texaswordwrangler.com
Texas Tech University Press
9780896729308, paperback, 406 pgs., $34.95
July 1, 2015
SEX AS A POLITICAL CONDITION, the newest smartly designed title in Texas Tech University Press’s Americas series, is professor and activist Carlos Nicolás Flores’s latest novel. Sex As a Political Condition is about history, family, politics, economics, friendship, and religion. I am conflicted. The novel ambitious and has great potential but ultimately disappoints.
Former narcotrafficante and all-around punk (“from a long line of vain and violent men, always in trouble with women or the law or both”) Honoré del Castillo runs his family’s Mexican curio shop in Escandón (a.k.a. Laredo), Texas. He’s gone straight thanks to his mentor, Juan Sánchez Trusky (a.k.a. Leon Trotsky), a revolutionary. Honoré and Trotsky are part of a humanitarian aid convoy to the Nicaraguan contras. Difficulties ensue: Feds, federales, the CIA, feminists, Republicans, hillbillies, the Guatemalan army, old grudges from narco days. >>READ MORE
Grand Central Publishing
978-1-4555-8116-0, hardcover, 410 pgs., $26.00
August 18, 2015
FRICTION is the latest thriller from the prolific Sandra Brown, who has more than 70 books to her name, 68 of which are New York Times best sellers. Friction follows the tried-and-true formula that is so well established. Set in deep East Texas, Friction has all of the patented Sandra Brown elements: political intrigue, family drama, romantic entanglement, numerous plot twists; Friction also has Texas Rangers, organized crime, and fracking.
Texas Ranger Crawford Hunt is in the witness box in Judge Holly Spencer’s courtroom for a custody hearing that will determine whether he regains custody of his daughter, Georgia, from her maternal grandparents, when a gunman bursts through the doors. Hunt throws himself atop the judge to protect her and then pursues the gunman when he flees the courtroom. Hunt confronts a man on the roof holding a gun, and SWAT takes him out. As the investigation proceeds, doubts about the identity and motivation of the suspect arise and Ranger Hunt’s past comes back to threaten him and those he loves in the present. >>READ MORE
Lisa Wingate is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, with twenty-five bestselling books. Her novels have become a hallmark of inspirational Southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader’s Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, and American Profiles and have been chosen for book recognition in a variety of venues. She is a Christy Award and an ACFW Carol award winner, with multiple nominations for both.
Lone Star Literary Life corresponded with her as one in a series of profiles tied to the national conference of American Christian Fiction Writers, slated for Dallas, Sept. 17–20.
LISA WINGATE: I wrote articles for various magazines and small-town newspapers, all of which I enjoyed. I can still lay out a newspaper page by hand, with a grid and a sticky-wax roller. I’m sure I never will again, but I do remember how. What journalism and technical writing taught me was that, as beautiful as words are, there’s a time and place for economy of language. Writing for newspapers and magazines also gave me an appreciation for the fact that, in terms of story, a golden nugget can be waiting around the most ordinary-looking corner.
>> READ MORE
HOUSTON Tues., Sept. 8 University of Houston - Downtown, reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, 5:30PM (also reading in Houston Sept. 10)
University of Houston - Downtown, reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, 5:30PM
MARFA Wed., Sept. 9 Marfa Book Company, Ray Caballero, former mayor of El Paso, will read from Lynching Pascual Orozco, 6PM
Marfa Book Company, Ray Caballero, former mayor of El Paso, will read from Lynching Pascual Orozco, 6PM
HOUSTON Thurs., Sept. 10 Holocaust Museum Houston, The Red Handkerchief: A Holocaust Memoir discussion and signing, 6:30PM
Holocaust Museum Houston, The Red Handkerchief: A Holocaust Memoir discussion and signing with Yvonne Ward-Hughes and Maria Spronk-Hughes, 6:30PM
GIDDINGS Fri., Sept. 11 Texas Word Wrangler Festival
Texas Word Wrangler Festival, Giddings, Sept. 11.
The Texas Word Wrangler Festival began in Giddings in September of 2005. The town realized there were so many talented authors out there, many of them local and state, who we would like to recognize and encourage. To that end the Giddings Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Giddings Public Library and Cultural Center to create the Texas Word Wranglers. Word Wranglers use words to convey ideas, stories, portray people and places.
Every year authors submit their stories to the library and up to 30 are chosen based on certain criteria. To be in the Texas Word Wrangler Festival an author must either have a new book that has been published within the past year or they must be first time attendants. The Texas Word Wrangler Festival gives them the opportunity to meet their public and sell and sign their books.
DALLAS Sat., Sept. 12 LuminArte Gallery, Authorlink Sociable Lecture Series with Sarah Bird, Bryan Mealer, and Hugh Aynesworth, 3PM
LuminArte Gallery, Authorlink Sociable Lecture Series with Sarah Bird, Bryan Mealer, and Hugh Aynesworth, 3PM
Each year hundreds of veteran authors and those just learning the craft of Christian fiction come to ACFW. Lone Star Literary Life’s coverage of this national fiction convention in Dallas begins today and continues next week. We’ll bring you:
In my role as the senior book buyer for LifeWay Christian Stores, everyone thinks I’m such a well-rounded reader. That I’ve read all of this year’s top new releases from all of the popular writers as well as all of the Christian classics. They expect that I’ve read enough books to sniff out a bright new voice and that I’ve devoured the popular “it” book of the moment. >> READ MORE
LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: At ACFW 2015, you’ll be co-teaching a class at ACFW on social media — a technology that seems to have really changed publishing and literature. Were you an early adapter or did you have to gradually warm up to social media?
BECKY WADE: I had to gradually warm up to it! Social media didn’t appeal to me at all at first. I didn’t understand how to use it and so was intimidated by it. Also, many people mentioned to me how time consuming it could be. As an author, wife, and mom to three, I wasn’t exactly eager to embark on something that would demand oodles of my time.
AUSTIN—A record 300 authors are coming to the 2015 Texas Book Festival, Oct. 17 and 18, the largest number in the Festival’s twenty-year history. Nationally renowned authors include Margaret Atwood, Taye Diggs, Nick Flynn, Linda Gray, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Gary Hart, Luis Alberto Urerra, Margo Jefferson, Attica Locke, Marie Lu, Chuck Palahniuk, Tavi Gevinson, and Adrian Tomine.
Other headlining authors include Sandra Cisneros (the only 2015 author who was part of the first Festival in 1995), Steve Inskeep, Azar Nafisi, Leonard Pitts, Jr., Mary Helen Specht, Jonathan Lethem, Lauren Groff, John Sununu, Scott Simon, and Robert Christgau. The full list of authors and their featured books is available online at www.texasbookfestival.org. >>READ MORE
AUSTIN—Acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood (below, right); actor, Broadway star, and children’s book author Taye Diggs (center); and National Public Radio host and author Scott Simon (left) will be featured presenters at the Texas Book Festival’s First Edition Literary Gala at the Four Seasons Hotel Fri., Oct. 16, 2015. >>READ MORE
The Permian Basin Writers’ Workshop will be held September 18–19, 2015. Sponsored by the Midland Library Foundation, the workshop has been designed to offer two tracks that attendees may move between at their discretion. One track addresses elements of the writing process, and the other will focus on navigating the industry.
Venues will be Midland Centennial Library and Midland College, and registration cost is $35.
Presenters include Sara Cortez, Stephen Graham Jones, Seth Fishman, Kay Ellington, and Barbara Brannon.
The West Texas Book Festival, which will celebrate its 15th annual festival this year during the week of September 21-26 at the Abilene Public Library in Abilene, Texas, announced its lineup of authors this week.
The festival seeks to celebrate books, literacy, and reading, with a special emphasis on local and regional authors. The event is community driven and provides the public with the chance to interact with local authors on a more personal level. The festival includes a number of meet and greet sessions as well as readings and talks. For more information contact Janis Test at (325) 676-6017.
Clockwise from upper left: O'Neal, Bissinger, Castillo, Kent, Thomas, Dearen, Specht (photos from Amarillo Public Library website)
>> READ MORE/FULL LIST
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VISIT WITH SANDRA through SEPT. 18
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Sept 10 - Bookishjessp
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Sept 13 - The Page Unbound
Sept 14 - All For Love of the Word
Sept 15 - Book Crazy Gals
VISIT WITH POLLY through SEPT. 8
Sept 6 - The Page Unbound - review
Sept 7 - Hall Ways - Author Q&A
VISIT WITH POLLY through SEPT. 13
Sept 6 - TexasBookLover Author Q&A
Sept 7 - The Page Unbound promo
Sept 8 - Because This is My Life, Y’all promo
Sept 9 - Bookishjessp Author Q/A or guest post
Sept 10 - My Book Fix Review
Sept 11 - Texas Book-aholic Review
Sept 12 - Missus Gonzo Review
Sept 13 - Hall Ways Review
VISIT WITH DIANE THROUGH SEPT. 3
Aug 30 - Hall Ways Review
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Sept 1 - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books Review
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