Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them

Lone Star Reviews

Texas Reads

>> archive

A behind-the-scenes look at Texas high school football

 

If you really like high school football, let me recommend one of the best books I’ve read on the subject.

 

Gray Levy, a former high school football coach in Nevada, spent five months in 2012 going behind the scenes with 11 successful Texas high school teams and offers rare insights into how and  why they consistently win.

 

His new book, Big and Bright: Deep in the Heart of Texas High School Football (Taylor Trade Publishing, $27.95 hardcover), takes an in-depth look at football programs from different size schools in different parts of the state. He details how the coaches and players prepare for their upcoming games and focuses on the importance of administrative and community support.

 

The 11 programs profiled are: La Marque (near Galveston), Carthage (East Texas), Port Lavaca (Gulf Coast), Stamford, Abilene High, Throckmorton and Idalou (West Texas), Aledo and Cedar Hill (Metroplex), Round Rock Stony Point (near Austin), and Harlingen (Rio Grande Valley).

 

Throckmorton plays six-man football, Stamford and Idalou are smaller division programs, Carthage, Port Lavaca, La Marque and Aledo are mid-level divisions, and Abilene High, Stony Point, Cedar Hill and Harlingen play in what is now 6A.

 

Levy said he focused on Texas because “no one does high school football like Texas. I came because I’d become disillusioned with the changing priorities of public education and hoped to restore my faith.” In Texas, he found, “high schools are still the seat of community pride.”

 

After five months, 59 games, and 19,689 miles, Levy said he went back home convinced that Texas “has the best system of public school athletics in the country.”

 

However, he also found that “Texas is also the perfect example of what not to do when it comes to assessment and accountability. No other state has allowed assessment to overwhelm education like Texas. Teachers and administrators are effectively handcuffed into removing creativity or personal initiative from their curriculum.

 

“I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say that the excellent condition of the state’s extra-curricular programs saves Texas from having the worst educational system in the country. I saw this in my 11 schools. They do well despite ridiculous state mandates precisely because those communities and schools believed in something beyond test scores.”

 

Big and Bright adds to a growing collection of very readable books about Texas high school football, most of them focusing on one specific school. The best known is Friday Night Lights, but here are some other favorites:

  • Where Dreams Die Hard by Carlton Stowers, about a six-man team in tiny Penelope.
  • Champion of the Barrio by Gaines Baty, about his father’s El Paso Bowie team in the 1950s.
  • Twelve Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent, about the Fort Worth Masonic Home Mighty Mites in the 1930s.
  • Remember Why You Play by David Thomas, about the Faith Christian School Lions in Grapevine.
  • The Team of the Century by Al Pickett, about Abilene High in the 1950s.
  • Texas High School Football Dynasties by Rick Sherrod, profiling teams that have won at least four state championships.

 

 

 

* * * * *

Glenn Dromgoole, co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books, has teamed up with Jay Moore to write a children’s picture book, Abilene A to Z, about the city’s history and culture – published fall 2015 by Abilene Christian University Press. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

>> Check out his previous Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Lit

 

5th annual Dobie Dichos slated for Nov. 6 in Oakville

 

On Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, the 5th annual Dobie Dichos storytelling event will take place at the Historic Oakville Jailhouse Lodge in Oakville, Texas, from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. The cost of meal and performance is $15; admission for the performance only is $10.  Tickets go on sale in September

 

Presented by George West Storyfest Association, Inc., this event honors Live Oak County’s most famous son, J. Frank Dobie, to celebrate Dobie’s works and contributions to literature, folklore, and storytelling.  >>READ MORE

 

  • Alfred A. Knopf

    Hardcover, 978-0-385-35133-1 (also available as ebook and audiobook), 400 pgs., $28.95

    October 6, 2015

     

    “As I write this, I’m ending my sixth decade. A new cycle in my life is opening and old one is closing. I wish to look backward and forward all at once.”

     

    A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros is an autobiography of sorts, an assemblage of nonfiction pieces spanning the years 1984 through 2014. Cisneros has always written about borders: personal, political, cultural, sexual, spiritual, geographical; she has always written about identity; and she’s always been searching for her true home. “I’m gathering up my stray lambs…and herding them under one roof, not so much for the reader’s sake, but my own. Where are you, my little loves, and where have you gone? Who wrote these and why? I have a need to know, so that I can understand my life.”

    >>READ MORE

  •  

     

IT'S TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL WEEK!

VIEW/DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL MAPS

VIEW/PRINT SCHEDULE GRID

>> Read MORE FESTIVAL INFO

 

LONE STAR LISTENS interviews   >> archive

 

Jeff Guinn on weaving the past into fiction and nonfiction

 

Jeff Guinn, whose newest book launched last week and who will be a featured author at the 2015 Texas Book Festival, has written about everyone from Santa Claus to Charles Manson—literally. And it’s his sense of the literal in historical fiction that has created such a huge following and a fan base for the Fort Worth writer. Known for his meticulous and extensive research, Guinn often debunks historic myths in his novels. His latest, Buffalo Trail: A Novel of the American West (Putnam, 2015), is sure to attract Texas readers and discussion with its retelling of the Second Battle of Adobe Walls. Guinn took time from launching his new book to chat via email.

 

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE: Jeff, you are a self-described military brat who grew up mostly in Italy, Germany, and England, but you spent much of your adulthood in Fort Worth, Texas. In the course of these interviews we’ve run across many Texas authors who hail from Fort Worth—Gary Cartwright, Sandra Brown, Dan Jenkins, among others. It seems to be fertile ground for writers. How has living in Fort Worth informed your writing?

 

JEFF GUINN: You can't live in the same city as Dan Jenkins and Sandra Brown, meet and talk with them, and not learn a great deal about effective storytelling. Beyond that, one of my greatest advantages in living in Fort Worth was becoming books editor of the Star-Telegram. I spent years interacting with exceptional writers who were generous in describing their work habits and writing techniques. I tried to listen carefully. The drawback to living in Fort Worth is that, with Dan and Sandra also here, I can never rise higher than #3 local author. >>READ MORE

 

Bookish Texas event highlights  10.16.2015
>> GO this week   Michelle Newby, Contributing Editor

  • HOUSTON  Mon., Oct. 19  Brazos Bookstore, An Evening of Poetry: Nick Flynn, Rachel Eliza Griffiths & Gregory Pardlo, 7PM

    Brazos Bookstore, An Evening of Poetry: Nick Flynn, Rachel Eliza Griffiths & Gregory Pardlo, 7PM

  • IRVING Mon., Oct. 19  Irving Public Library - South, Middle Grade Mania with four children's authors: Polly Holyoke, Jennifer Ziegler, Jeramey Kraatz, & Kate Hannigan, 7PM

    Irving Public Library - South, Middle Grade Mania with four children's authors: Polly Holyoke (The Neptune Challenge), Jennifer Ziegler (Revenge of the Angels), Jeramey Kraatz (The Cloak Society) & Kate Hannigan (The Detective's Assistant), 7PM

  • AUSTIN Tues., Oct. 20, BookPeople, musician ELVIS COSTELLO in conversation with Evan Smith about Costello's new book, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, 7PM

    BookPeople, Grammy Award-Winning Musician ELVIS COSTELLO in conversation with Evan Smith about Costello's new book, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, 7PM

  • WICHITA FALLS  Tues., Oct. 20, Hastings, Dr Ben Carson will sign A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, 7:30PM

    Hastings Entertainment, Dr Ben Carson will sign A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, 7:30PM

  • SAN ANTONIO  Thurs., Oct. 22, San Antonio College, Canto Mundo Poetry Reading and Reception with Texas State Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla and San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero, 6:30PM

    San Antonio College, Canto Mundo Poetry Reading and Reception with Texas State Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla and San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero, 6:30PM

  • GALVESTON  Sun., Oct. 25, 1892 Bishop's Place, Kenneth Hafertepe lectures from and signs A Guide to the Historic Buildings of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County, 1PM

The many faces of Texas Book Festival 2015

Click here to view a full slide show of Saturday's activities

 

Texas poets featured in sessions Saturday, Sunday afternoons sponsored by Texas Institute of Letters

 

Poetry readings by the poets laureate and award-winning poets of Texas will be held in Austin Friday, Oct. 17, and Sat., Oct. 18 from 1 to 3 p.m., Capitol Ext. Room E1.016, as part of the Texas Book Festival. These readings are open to the public and are sponsored by The Texas Institute of Letters.

 

Hosted by Kurt Heinzelman of the University of Texas at Austin, the sessions will take place Sat., Oct. 17, and Sun., Oct. 18 from, 1 to 3 pm each day in Capitol Ext. Rm. E1.016 and are open to the public. The lineup of readers is as follows: >>READ MORE

Highland Park presents Sinatra biographer Kaplan in Authors LIVE! Oct. 29

 

The Friends of the Highland Park Library, the Highland Park United Methodist Church, and the Friends of the SMU Libraries will host James Kaplan in an Authors LIVE! program 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at Wesley Hall at Dallas's HPUMC.

 

Kaplan’s new biography, Sinatra:  The Chairman, will be signed and available for purchase before and after the program. The 7 p.m. program is free and open to the public. >>READ MORE

 

 

Bestselling author Lisa Wingate on The Sea Keeper’s Daughters and the Huckleberry Report

 

Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of 25 books, talks about her latest novel, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, and publishing mainstream and Christian fiction. >> LISTEN NOW (mp3)

 

 

Christy nominee Allison Pittman and the shifting sands of a writing career

 

Alison Pittman, author of 13 Christian novels, three of which have been Christy nominees, talks about her latest novel, On Shifting Sand.

>> LISTEN NOW (mp3)

 

WHERE IN TEXAS?

SUBSCRIBE

Don't miss a reading or a good read! Sign up for our FREE weekly
e-newsletter

 

 

 

 

 

NOW ON TOUR: TEXAS COOKING

Texas Is Chili Country by Judy Alter

VISIT WITH JUDY OCT. 15–OCT. 29

 

Oct 15  The Crazy Booksellers promo

Oct 16  Books and Broomsticks Guest Post or Promo

Oct 17  My Book Fix promo

Oct 18  Because It’s My Life Y’all promo

Oct 19  Texas Book Lover  promo

Oct 20  Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books promo

Oct 21  The Page Unbound  promo

Oct 22  A Novel Reality - Guest Post or Promo

Oct 23  Hall Ways promo

Oct 24  Missus Gonzo review

Oct 25  All For the Love of the Word review

Oct 26  Belle Whittington - Author Q&A

Oct 27  Because It’s My Life Y’all review

Oct 28  Texas Book-aholic review

Oct 29  Book Crazy Gals promo

 

NOW ON TOUR: FICTION

Deadlock by DiAnn Mills

VISIT WITH DiANN THROUGH OCT. 26

Oct. 16  - Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books review

Oct. 17  - Hall Ways Author Q&A

Oct. 18  - MissusGonzo review

Oct. 19  - The Page Unbound promo

Oct. 20  - Books and Broomsticks Author Q&A

Oct. 21 - The Crazy Booksellers promo

Oct. 22 - Texas Book-aholic promo

Oct. 23 - All For the Love of the Word review

Oct. 24 - Because This is My Life, Y’all promo

Oct. 25 - My Book Fix review

Oct. 26 - Book Crazy Gals review

 

CONTINUING ON TOUR: FICTION

Sex As a Political Condition: A Border Novel
by Carlos Nicolás Flores

VISIT WITH CARLOS OCT. 17–31

 

Oct 17  All For the Love of the Word promo

Oct 18  Texas Book Lover Guest Post or promo

Oct 19  Missus Gonzo promo

Oct 20  The Crazy Booksellers promo

Oct 21  Hall Ways promo

Oct 22  The Librarian Talks Guest Post

Oct 23  Because It’s My Life Y’all promo

Oct 24  Texas Book-aholic promo

Oct 25  Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books promo

Oct 26  Because It’s My Life Y’all review

Oct 27  My Book Fix Author Q&A

Oct 28  Book Crazy Gals review

Oct 29  All For the Love of the Word review

Oct 30  Hall Ways review

Oct 31  MissusGonzo review

 

NOW ON TOUR: WESTERN HISTORY

Finding the Great Western Trail
by Sylvia Gann Mahoney

VISIT WITH SYLVIA OCT. 15–29

 

Oct 15  Books and Broomsticks Promo

Oct 16  Texas Book Lover  promo

Oct 17  Texas Book-aholic promo

Oct 18  The Page Unbound  promo

Oct 19 All For the Love of the Word

Oct 20  Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books promo

Oct 21  Missus Gonzo Guest Post or Promo

Oct 22  Hall Ways Author Q&A

Oct 23 The Librarian Talks review

Oct 24  The Crazy Booksellers promo

Oct 25  My Book Fix promo

Oct 26  Texas Book-aholic review

Oct 27  Because It’s My Life Y’all review

Oct 28  Book Crazy Gals review

Oct 29  A Novel Reality Author Q&A

 

 

RECENTLY ON TOUR: FICTION

Stillwater by Melissa Lenhardt

 

RECENTLY ON TOUR: NONFICTION

Dr. Mütter's Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

RECENTLY ON TOUR: MEMOIR

I Hate Pinatas: Surviving Life's Unexpected Surprises by Heather Maloy

 

Lone Star Literary Life Facts and FAQs

Editorial policies

Review policies

Advertising policies

Event and resource list policies

 

Lone Star Literary Archives

• Weekly issues

• Lone Star Listens Interviews

• Lone Star Book Reviews

• Texas Reads

• Events

• Announcement: LSLL Launches

 

COMING SOON: Bookish Texas Classifieds

Looking for a job, a designer, an editor, a publisher?

Starting in fall 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.

 

 

 

 

LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE   copyright © 2015–17 Paragraph Ranch LLC  •  All rights reserved  •  CONTACT US