By Glenn Dromgoole
Over the course of the year, I receive probably 200 or more books to consider for Texas Reads, and I try to get around to as many as possible. So far I’ve been able to write about, or at least mention, 110 titles by Texas authors or about Texas subjects, covering a wide range of interests and genres, and I hope to get around to several more this month before taking off a couple of weeks.
As we enter the home stretch, here are a dozen of my favorites from the year. They’re not necessarily the best, or the best-selling, Texas books, just some that I found particularly appealing.
Let’s start with two entertaining titles: W. F. Strong’s book of “Stories from Texas: Some of Them Are True” ($11.99 paperback) and “100 Things to Do in Texas Before You Die” by E.R. Bills ($18 paperback). Both are fun to read, and I learned something from each one that I didn’t know about Texas.
I’ve mentioned several times that this has been a good year for elegant coffee-table books. My three favorites (it was a hard choice) are “A Mile Above Texas” featuring spectacular aerial photographs by Jay B. Sauceda ($45 hardcover); “Horses of the American West: Portrayals by Twenty-Four Artists” by Heidi Brady and Scott White ($40 hardcover); and “As Far As You Can See: Picturing Texas,” gorgeous nature photos by Kenny Braun ($45 hardcover).
Fiction? A lot of good ones, but I’ll go with mega-best-selling author James Patterson’s fast-paced “Texas Ranger” ($28 hardcover, Andrew Bourelle co-author) and Katherine Center’s “How to Walk Away,” about a young woman’s heroic struggle to survive after a private plane crash ($26.99 hardcover).
Another favorite novel, intended for middle grade boys, is S.J. Dalstrom’s “Black Rock Brothers” ($9.95 paperback), the fifth book in his “The Adventures of Wilder Good” series, which I highly recommend.
Also, I have to include John Erickson’s 71st “Hank the Cowdog” novel, “The Case of the Monster Fire” ($5.99 paperback). The story grew out of the 2017 Panhandle wildfire that destroyed Erickson’s own ranch home.
Gotta have a couple of football books. My picks this year are “The 50 Greatest Players in Dallas Cowboys History” by Robert W. Cohen ($24.95 hardcover) and “Playing for More: Trust Beyond What You Can See,” an inspiring story about faith, family and football by Abilene’s own Case Keenum, now the quarterback for the Denver Broncos ($22.95 hardcover).
Finally, I really enjoyed Don Graham’s book going behind the scenes of one of Texas’s iconic movies, “Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber and the Making of a Legendary American Film” ($27.99 hardcover). After I read it, I checked out the DVD from the library and watched “Giant” again for the first time in several years.
Glenn Dromgoole’s latest book is “Book Guy: One Author’s Adventures in Publishing.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.