Connecting Texas books and writers with those who most want to discover them
Lone Star Lit’s second annual Texas Readers’ Favorite Bookstores voting will be held May 1 through May 18, 2017. Readers, vote as often as you wish for your Favorite Texas Bookstore.
Like our claim-to-fame feature, Top Ten Bookish Destinations , Texas's Top Ten Favorite Bookstores counts down Number Ten through Number Six on June 3, and Number Five through Number One on June 10.
The Texas Readers’ Favorite Bookstores winners will be determined by reader vote via:
• Our website
• Our e-mail newsletter
• Our social media
• Direct ballots upon request
More than 1,000 readers voted in the 2016 Texas’s Top Ten Favorite Bookstores contest, and last year’s winners were:
South Plains Mall, 6002 Slide Road Lubbock
Wade Whatley, Manager
Community relations manager: Terry Handley
Date store opened: Nov. 4, 2009
109 E. Pacific, Gladewater
Owners: Peter Adams and Elizabeth DeRieux
Date store opened: March 2007
3270 Westheimer Rd., Houston
Owners: Michael and Josie Jones; Michael’s mother Jeanne Jard
Community relations manager: Whitney Corson
Date store opened- 1976
200 N. Locust, Denton
Owner: Don Foster
Community relations managers: Lacey Richins and Miles Foster
Date store opened: 1983
603 N.Lamar Blvd., Austin
Owned locally by BookPeople, Inc.; Steven Bercu is president of company and operates the store
Marketing director: Abby Feenewald
Opened in November, 1970
7700 West Northwest Highway, Dallas, TX 75225
Manager: Craig Schlabs
Community relations manager: Cody McMahan
Opened September 1998
174 Cypress St., downtown Abilene
Owners: Carol and Glenn Dromgoole
Opened July 22, 2004
5505 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX (3 miles north of the Queen Isabella Causeway)
Owners: Joni Montover and Griff Mangan
Opened February 9, 2009
2601 Preston Rd., Suite 1204, Frisco
Store Manager: Jamie Lockhart
Community Business Development Manager: Nicole Caliro
Opened August 2000
521 3rd Street/ Lexington
Owner: Heidi Frazier
Lubbock — The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts is pleased to announce the first-ever Lubbock Book Festival, scheduled for Sat., Oct. 28, 2017. With an impressive lineup featuring New York Times best-selling authors, award-winning Texas Tech writers and other regional and local favorites, the Festival will offer readings, signings, and entertainment for all ages throughout the day on the LHUCA campus, with Thursday and Friday related, off-site events leading up to it.
“We’re very excited to strengthen LHUCA’s connection to the literary arts,” said LHUCA executive director Jean Caslin. “The Lubbock Book Festival adds a rich new dimension to the activity that goes on here week in, week out.”
S. C. Gwynne will be the keynote author on Saturday afternoon. In 2010 his award-winning book about the history of the Comanches, Empire of the Summer Moon, spent four months as a New York Times top 10 Bestseller. He later published an acclaimed biography of Stonewall Jackson, Rebel Yell. But it’s his most recent book that should score with readers during football season in Lubbock. In The Perfect Pass, Gwynne tells the incredible story of how Hal Mumme and Mike Leach—two unknown coaches who revolutionized American football in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s—changed the way the game is played at every level, from high school to the NFL.
Distinguished Texas Tech alumna Jodi Thomas, who serves as writer-in-residence at West Texas A&M University, will talk about her journey to becoming a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with millions of books in print. Her Ransom Canyon series of West Texas novels launched in 2015; more highly anticipated new books in the series are forthcoming in fall 2017.
Terry Jennings was introduced to the music business at an early age through his work as production manager for his father, West Texas legend Waylon Jennings. His combination autobiography and memoir, Waylon: Tales of My Outlaw Dad, was praised by Willie Nelson as “a terrific tribute, from a son to his father.”
Houston-based chef and food writer Adán Medrano, author of Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes (Texas Tech University Press, 2015), will be featured in a lunchtime cooking demonstration, along with Lubbock Avalanche-Journal food columnist and The Whole Enchilada cookbook author Angelina LaRue. Lunch will be served at this paid, ticketed event.
A generation of children have grown up reading and listening to Panhandle storyteller John R. Erickson’s Hank the Cowdog books. In 1982, after receiving numerous rejection slips from large publishers, Erickson borrowed $2,000 and began his own publishing company, Maverick Books. Hank the Cowdog debuted in The Cattleman. Fifty years and seventy books later, Erickson’s iconic pup and his lackluster sidekick have sold 8.5 million books worldwide.
A presenter whose face is familiar in Lubbock as co-anchor of the 6 pm and 10 pm news for KCBD-TV. Karin McCay is one half of the longest-running anchor team in the nation and regularly emcees events, judges science fairs, speaks at luncheons, and reads to classes in elementary schools. She is also an Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network, having co-hosted that Telethon for 34 years. Now, she’s the author of the Magic Mommy children’s book series, Marvin and the Giant Bubble and Marvin and the Surprise Package, forthcoming in fall 2017.
In addition to sessions by Texas Tech faculty poets and writers and selected creative writing graduate students, the lineup to date includes:
Mystery writer Linda Castillo of Amarillo • Miles Arceneaux, the pen name for a trio of Texas mystery writers — and the persona of their book series. • The Adventures of Wilder Good series of novels for young readers by Lubbock’s S. J. Dahlstrom • Spur award winner Patrick Dearen of Midland • Bestselling author of gothic/fantasy tales A. G. Howard of Amarillo • Nancy Draves with A Promise Fulfilled: The Kitty Anderson Diary and Civil War Texas, 1861 • Retired journalist Bob Horton with his memoir Of Bulletins and Booze: A Newsman’s Story of Recovery • Rosa Walston Latimer of Post, with her histories of Harvey Houses in the Southwest • Texas Tech alumna and mystery author Melissa Lenhardt of Dallas • Author and playwright Tim Lewis of Canyon • Singer, songwriter, and children’s storyteller Tim A. McKenzie of Lubbock • Texas deejay Ruben Molina with Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture • Texas Tech engineering professor Michelle Pantoya with a middle-readers activity connected with her book Designing Dandelions • Janet M. Neugebauer of Lubbock with her recent biography A Witness to History: George H. Mahon, West Texas Congressman • Texas Tech alum Frank Sikes, telling the story of West Texas middleweight LaVern Roach • Award-winning poet Laura Van Prooyen of San Antonio • Poet and Dos Gatos Press publisher Scott Wiggerman • Award-winning Christian historical romance author Karen Witemeyer of Abilene.
Press release by Anne Wheeler, LBJ Foundation, May 4, 2017
The 2017 Lady Bird Johnson Environmental Award has been presented to Ken Burns for reawakening a nation’s consciousness to the natural world through his work, including The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. As a direct result of the publicity and broadcast of this documentary, national parks across the country saw a dramatic increase in attendance. Burns has directed and produced some of the most influential, important and popular historical documentaries of our time.
The $25,000 award was given to Burns on April 27 at a program at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. Presenting the award were Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson’s daughters, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson.
The Lady Bird Johnson Environment Award honors outstanding achievements in the preservation, restoration or improvement of the natural world that embrace Mrs. Johnson's style, energy and commitment to her work. Its mission is to increase public awareness of the environmental challenges facing our country by highlighting the work of selected individuals, corporations, and non-profit organizations.
“Lady Bird Johnson was one of the most impactful environmentalists of the 20th century,” said Larry Temple, chairman of the LBJ Foundation. “With her voice and her actions she elevated to the general public’s consciousness the importance and significance of protection and enhancement of our land, our waterways, our air, our forests and our parks and every facet of the environment. Lady Bird Johnson would have taken great pride in knowing this Award was being presented to Ken Burns.”
In his forty years of filmmaking, Burns has reached millions of viewers of PBS through his inventive style of storytelling.
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, broadcast on PBS in 2009, captured an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. It was filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature’s most spectacular locales — from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska.
The musician Wynton Marsalis has called Burns “a master of timing, and of knowing the sweet spot of a story, of how to ask questions to get to the basic human feeling and to draw out the true spirit of a given subject.” Burns’ films have won fifteen Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
(Information from organization’s press release)
“Lend us and ear and we’ll give you more corn,” was how those who attended the first O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships were welcomed in 1977. Shucks! Now, forty years later the Pun-Off continues to a-maize people with wacky wordplay and home groan wit from powerful punsters who are out standing in their field.
The event will celebrate its 40th Anniversary Sat., May 13, 2017, with a fun exhibit “Once a-Pun A Time” with photos, an interactive game, and memorabilia in the Susanna Dickinson Museum at 409 E. Fifth Street, Austin, in the back yard of the O. Henry Museum, also known as Brush Square.
For information about the O. Henry Pun-Off event, call (512) 472-1903 between noon and five p.m., Wednesday to Sunday or leave a voice message. Please note that registrations to compete can only be made online following instructions on the registration page at
(Information from organization’s website)
Houston poet Sarah Cortez has won the Editing Award from the Press Women of Texas for Vanishing Points: Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials (Texas Review Press, 2016).
The judge of the contest commented, “Excellent and extensive poetry set apart with extraordinary photography. The collection is unique and the writing is a perfect match with the art.”
Selected as one of 2016 Southwest Books of the Year, Vanishing Points features the poignant drama of Texas’s lonesome highways and bustling intersections illustrated by the stunning photography of Dan Streck. Four poets respond to the visual summons of roadside memorials with lyric intensity: Larry D. Thomas, Jack B. Bedell, Sarah Cortez, and Loueva Smith. Graphic designer Nancy J. Parsons was responsible for layout and design.
At the 2017 Western Heritage Awards in Oklahoma City in April, S. J. Dahlstrom of Lubbock won the Outstanding Juvenile Book award for The Green Colt (Paul Dry Books, 2016), which was also a Spur finalist earlier this year. Dahlstrom’s Wrangler award was presented by legendary stuntman Dean Smith.
The Western Heritage Awards were established in 1961 as the pinnacle commemoration of the American West by honoring the legacy of men and women for their works in literature, music, film, and television.
(Information from author and awards website)
Austin — The Texas Book Festival will host its Reading Rock Stars program on Friday, May 19, 2017, at Thomas Tolbert Elementary School. Beginning at 11 a.m., the school will host three authors —James Luna, author of two bilingual picture books; Hena Khan, Pakistani-American author of Amina’s Voice, and Texas Book Festival Founder, beloved First Lady, and bestselling children’s book author Laura Bush. Additionally, Mrs. Bush will announce the 2017 recipients of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries grants.
The Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars literacy program brings books to life for children in low-income schools by inviting authors and illustrators into classrooms with entertaining presentations that inspire students to read, write, and create. The Texas Book Festival also gives each student an autographed copy of each author’s book and provides the school library with a new set of books. After each presentation, the author personally hands a signed book to each student. Texas Book Festival will be donating a total of 580 books to Thomas Tolbert Elementary School.
The Texas Book Festival has coordinated more than 350 author visits and provided more than 81,000 books to students in Title I schools across Texas since its inception.
For more information on the Texas Book Festival and Reading Rock Stars, visit www.texasbookfestival.org. For more information on the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, visit www.laurabushfoundation.org.
WHO: James Luna – The Place Where You Live
Hena Khan – Amina’s Voice
Laura Bush – Our Great Big Backyard
WHEN: Friday, May 19
11 a.m. – Pre-K & Kindergarten – James Luna (library)
11a.m. – Grades 4 and 5 – Hena Khan (gym)
12:45 p.m. – Grades 1, 2, and 3 – Laura Bush (auditorium)
WHERE: Thomas Tolbert Elementary School
4000 Blue Ridge Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75233
(Information from organization’s website)
CANYON — West Texas A&M University will welcome author and motivational speaker Cara Brookins as the keynote speaker for the West Texas Writers’ Academy Writers’ Roundup dinner on Monday, June 5. Brookins’s memoir, Rise: How a House Built a Family, details how she and her children left a traumatic situation and built a house from the ground up with their own hands.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with a book signing by authors from across the nation who are attending the Writers’ Academy at WTAMU. Authors will include New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas, Reader’s Digest Select author Timothy Lewis, USA Today Bestselling author Bethany Claire, and Harlequin author and bestselling hybrid author of contemporary and historical romance Jolene Navarro. Readers will find books of various genres from romance to western to thriller. Authors will sell their books and talk to readers until 7 p.m.
Dinner and remarks from Lewis will begin at 7 p.m. ,with Brookins taking the stage at 7:30 p.m.
After escaping two abusive marriages, Brookins was in desperate need of a home but without the means to buy one. So she did something incredible. Equipped with only YouTube videos and a 9-month bank loan, Brookins built her own house—all 3,500 square feet of it—from the foundation to the roof (and everything in between) with a work crew made up of her kids. The completed house has five bedrooms, a three-car garage, a shop, and even a two-story tree house.
Rise is Brookins first work of nonfiction. Other books by Brookins include Little Boy Blu, Timeshifters triology—Mark of the Centipede, Mark of the Serpent and Mark of the Spider— Gadget Geeks, Doris Free: A Harvest of Friends, Doris Free and Treasure Quest.
The Writers’ Roundup dinner is open to the public. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased with advance reservations by calling Education on Demand at 806-651-2037.
(Information from organization’s press release and website)
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