If you think Texas BBQ: Small Town to Downtown (University of Texas Press, $39.95 hardcover) is a book of barbecue recipes, you would be wrong. There are no recipes.

Rather, Texas BBQ is a colorful, updated photographic tour by barbecue lover Wyatt McSpadden, and it will make you want to visit the 48 establishments pictured in the coffee table volume – or at least seek out a favorite one nearby.  

When I told my daughter Jennifer that her favorite barbecue place (Gatlin’s, Houston) was included, she remarked, “Too bad it’s not a ‘scratch and sniff’ book!”

McSpadden’s photos and sparse text -- with essays by Austin BBQ pitmaster Aaron Franklin and Texas Monthly BBQ editor Daniel Vaughn – pay tribute to the richness of the Texas barbecue tradition in small towns like Marlin and Lexington or large cities like Dallas, Houston and Austin.   The author provides a handy index to give readers a list of barbecue joints within driving distance.

Astronaut’s Story: Astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent almost a full year in space living and working on the International Space Station, has written a children’s book about his life and his space adventures.

My Journey to the Stars is an easy reading book for children in grades 1-3. It is available in hardcover ($12.95) or paperback ($4.99), published by Random House as part of its Step into Reading series.

Kelly said he was a “terrible student” in school, but the school principal encouraged him not to give up. When Scott read the book, The Right Stuff, he said it changed his life. He became determined to be an astronaut. After many years of training, he and his twin brother Mark joined NASA in 1996.

Scandal: The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland, a disturbing story of abuse that began in Texas and ended in Iowa, is now available in paperback (Harper, $16.99).

The book, by Dan Barry, tells how a well-intentioned program that put intellectually disabled men to work on a turkey farm in Texas and won a national award in 1968 eventually became the source of a scandal that rocked Iowa and the nation.

The story revolves around 32 men, most of them former residents of the Texas State School network, who lived in an old schoolhouse in a small Iowa town and worked at a turkey processing plant for $65 a month for 35 years.

When Iowa authorities finally intervened in 2009, they found the men living in roach-and-rat-infested squalor and suffering from numerous neglected physical ailments.

 

 

 

 

 

Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.