What are Texans reading these days, you ask?

“'Tis education forms the common mind; just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.”

Lone Star Lit has your monthly roundup of regional reads from The Twig Book Shop, a leading independent bookseller in San Antonio. Click on any title for the buy link.

 

AUGUST 2022

The Last Karankawas (Henry Holt & Company) by Kimberly Garza

 

A kaleidoscopic, emotionally charged debut about a tight-knit community of Mexican and Filipino families on the Texas coast. Unflinching, lyrical, and singular, The Last Karankawas is a portrait of America rarely witnessed, where browning palm trees and oily waters mark the forefront of ecological change. It is a deeply imagined exploration of familial inheritance, human perseverance, and the histories we assign to ourselves, establishing Kimberly Garza as a brilliant new literary voice."

 

Money, Murder, Sex, and Beer:: The Texas Trial of Emma Burgemeister (State House Press) by Robert L. Gulley

There was never any doubt that Emma Burgemeister shot and killed beer and real estate magnate Otto Koehler on November 12, 1914. The question remained: Why? The deceased was one of the wealthiest and most respected persons in the Southwest and a pillar of the community. As a result, his murder and trial drew national attention. Soon, the entire affair was one of the most famous murder cases ever tried in Bexar County--a part of Texas known to have some notorious characters. Now, for the first time ever, MONEY, MURDER, SEX, AND BEER presents testimony from the trial, legal analysis, and other information that allows the readers to draw their own conclusions regarding the guilt or innocence of the alleged murderer. What makes the story unique is the efforts of officials in San Antonio and friends of Otto Koehler--the victim--to subvert the judicial process to avoid having the case go to trial. For a dead man with a recently spurned mistress, who could predict what secrets might come to light on the witness stand?

 

Texas Dives: Enduring Neighborhood Bars of the Lone Star State (Texas A&M University Press) by Anthony Head

 

While sometimes mischaracterized as the last respite of alcoholism, despair, and questionable motives, Texas dive bars are a reminder that life is not limited to the pressures and profits of the 9-to-5 world. A true dive earns its status through age and patron loyalty, so while dives are outposts from much of society, they’re typically stable businesses and often active in their neighborhoods. Dives are also gathering places, where the members, lubricated by affordable beer and long pours of whisky, solve the world’s problems on a regular basis.

 

A Ballad of Love and Glory (Atria Books)  by Reyna Grande

A forgotten war. An unforgettable romance.

The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south to provoke war with México over the disputed Río Grande boundary.​

Ximena Salomé is a gifted Mexican healer who dreams of building a family with the man she loves on the coveted land she calls home. But when Texas Rangers storm her ranch and shoot her husband dead, her dreams are burned to ashes. Vowing to honor her husband’s memory and defend her country, Ximena uses her healing skills as an army nurse on the frontlines of the ravaging war.

Meanwhile, John Riley, an Irish immigrant in the Yankee army desperate to help his family escape the famine devastating his homeland, is sickened by the unjust war and the unspeakable atrocities against his countrymen by nativist officers. In a bold act of defiance, he swims across the Río Grande and joins the Mexican Army—a desertion punishable by execution. He forms the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a band of Irish soldiers willing to fight to the death for México’s freedom.

When Ximena and John meet, a dangerous attraction blooms between them. As the war intensifies, so does their passion. Swept up by forces with the power to change history, they fight not only for the fate of a nation but for their future together.

Heartbreaking and lyrical, Reyna Grande’s spellbinding saga, inspired by true events and historical figures, brings these two unforgettable characters to life and illuminates a largely forgotten moment in history that impacts the US-México border to this day.

Will Ximena and John survive the chaos of this bitter war, or will their love be devoured along with the land they strive to defend?

 

The Bodyguard (St. Martin's Press) by Katherine Center

 

She’s got his back.
Hannah Brooks looks more like a kindergarten teacher than somebody who could kill you with a wine bottle opener. Or a ballpoint pen. Or a dinner napkin. But the truth is, she’s an Executive Protection Agent (aka "bodyguard"), and she just got hired to protect superstar actor Jack Stapleton from his middle-aged, corgi-breeding stalker.

He’s got her heart.
Jack Stapleton’s a household name—captured by paparazzi on beaches the world over, famous for, among other things, rising out of the waves in all manner of clingy board shorts and glistening like a Roman deity. But a few years back, in the wake of a family tragedy, he dropped from the public eye and went off the grid.

They’ve got a secret.
When Jack’s mom gets sick, he comes home to the family’s Texas ranch to help out. Only one catch: He doesn’t want his family to know about his stalker. Or the bodyguard thing. And so Hannah—against her will and her better judgment—finds herself pretending to be Jack’s girlfriend as a cover. Even though her ex, like a jerk, says no one will believe it.

What could possibly go wrong???
Hannah hardly believes it, herself. But the more time she spends with Jack, the more real it all starts to seem. And there lies the heartbreak. Because it’s easy for Hannah to protect Jack. But protecting her own, long-neglected heart? That’s the hardest thing she’s ever done.

 

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JULY 2022

Red Sky Morning: The Epic True Story of Texas Ranger Company F  (St. Martin's Press) by Joe Pappalardo

 

The explosive and bloody true history of Texas Rangers Company F, made up of hard men who risked their lives to bring justice to a lawless frontier.

 

Between 1886 and 1888, Sergeant James Brooks, of Texas Ranger Company F, was engaged in three fatal gunfights, endured disfiguring bullet wounds, engaged in countless manhunts, was convicted of second-degree murder, and rattled Washington, D.C. with a request for a pardon from the US president. His story anchors the tale of Joe Pappalardo's Red Sky Morning, an epic saga of lawmen and criminals set in Texas during the waning years of the “Old West.”

 

Alongside Brooks are the Rangers of Company F, who range from a pious teetotaler to a cowboy fleeing retribution for killing a man. They are all led by Captain William Scott, who cut his teeth as a freelance undercover informant but was facing the end of his Ranger career. Company F hunted criminals across Texas and beyond, killing them as needed, and were confident they could bring anyone to “Ranger justice.” But Brooks’ men met their match in the Conner family, East Texas master hunters and jailbreakers who were wanted for their part in a bloody family feud.

 

The full story of Company F’s showdown with the Conner family is finally being told, with long dead voices being heard for the first time. This truly hidden history paints the grim picture of neighbors and relatives becoming snitches and bounty hunters, and a company of Texas Rangers who waded into the conflict only to find themselves over their heads – and in the fight of their lives.

 

 

Miraflores: San Antonio's Mexican Garden of Memory (Maverick Books) by Anne Elise Urrutia and foreword by Tomás Ybarra-Frausto,

 

Aureliano Urrutia, a prominent physician and public servant in Mexico City, built Miraflores garden after he immigrated to San Antonio, Texas, from Mexico in 1914 during the Mexican Revolution. A man of science, Urrutia professed the importance of nature, art, literature, history, music, and community.
Everything in Miraflores, located near the headwaters of the San Antonio River--the plants, architecture, sculpture, and artisanship--formed an atmospheric landscape reflecting Urrutia's love for and memory of his homeland. Sculptures and fountains created by Luis L. Sanchez, Ignacio Asnsolo, and Dionicio Rodriguez, and other Mexican artists and artisans evoked the ideals of Mexican culture, all surrounded by Talavera tile and plant species native to Mexico.
The wear of time saw many of the garden's features, artworks, and landscape elements decayed, lost, or significantly altered. Despite being one of the country's unique cultural landscapes, situated at the edge of historic Brackenridge Park, the garden became barely recognizable.
In Miraflores, Anne Elise Urrutia, the great-granddaughter of Urrutia, recounts the garden's history, drawing on family archives and other primary sources to reconstruct this remarkable story.
Miraflores celebrates the importance of green spaces in urban areas and the vitality of a place's cultural, historical, and artistic meanings. Urrutia's garden was a magical gift to Texas and an international tribute to his Mexican homeland.

 

 

Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules! (Candlewick Press (MA)) by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Pat Zietlow Miller, & Joe Cepeda (Illustrator)

 

When Lupe Lopez struts through the doors of Hector P. Garcia Elementary in sunglasses with two taped-up Number 2 pencils--drumsticks, of course--poking from her pocket, her confidence is off the charts. All day, Lupe drums on desks, tables, and chairs while Ms. Quintanilla reminds her of school rules. Lupe has her own rules: 1) Don't listen to anyone. 2) Make lots of noise. Rataplan! 3) Have fans, not friends. But with her new teacher less than starstruck, and fans hard to come by, Lupe wonders if having friends is such a bad idea after all. Can it be that true star power means knowing when to share the spotlight?

 

 

More Than You'll Ever Know (William Morrow & Company) by Katie Gutierrez

 

The dance becomes an affair, which becomes a marriage, which becomes a murder...

In 1985, Lore Rivera marries Andres Russo in Mexico City, even though she is already married to Fabian Rivera in Laredo, Texas, and they share twin sons. Through her career as an international banker, Lore splits her time between two countries and two families—until the truth is revealed and one husband is arrested for murdering the other.

In 2017, while trawling the internet for the latest, most sensational news reports, struggling true-crime writer Cassie Bowman encounters an article detailing that tragic final act. Cassie is immediately enticed by what is not explored: Why would a woman—a mother—risk everything for a secret double marriage? Cassie sees an opportunity—she’ll track Lore down and capture the full picture, the choices, the deceptions that led to disaster. But the more time she spends with Lore, the more Cassie questions the facts surrounding the murder itself. Soon, her determination to uncover the truth could threaten to derail Lore’s now quiet life—and expose the many secrets both women are hiding.

Told through alternating timelines, More Than You’ll Ever Know is both a gripping mystery and a wrenching family drama. Presenting a window into the hearts of two very different women, it explores the many conflicting demands of marriage and motherhood, and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love.

 

 

 

Personal Geography (Welcome Rain Publishers) by Geoff Rips

 

The world is falling apart at every turn as New York investigator Giacomo Berg undertakes a desperate search for longtime friend Peter Proust before he disappears from the face of the earth. Set in the chaotic months leading up to the millennium, Peter, last heard from in Texas, seems to be working intently to fade into the landscape.

Berg's search leads deep into the underbelly of America, where he encounters a survivalist waiting for the bomb, people dodging space debris, and a commune hidden in the East Texas woods run by a messianic rock star. All are trying to protect themselves in a world gone haywire.

Berg is joined by Texas-born friend Bonita "B.C." Boyd, who works documenting disappeared persons and assisting political refugees. Before they can continue on Peter Proust's trail, they are pulled into a frantic investigation by Boyd's friends living in a Houston suburb, who believe they are being poisoned by local chemical plants.

The tortuous course of their quest for Peter is mirrored by the meandering trajectory of their relationship as Berg and B.C. navigate the swamps, deserts, and mountains of the Southwest, determined to rescue Peter Proust before he vanishes completely.

 

 

 

Oleander City: A Novel Based on a True Story (Blackstone Publishing) by Matt Bondurant

 

In the wake of the 1900 Galveston hurricane, three lives converge despite persecution from the Ku Klux Klan, a bare-knuckle boxing match gone wrong, and the recovery efforts of the American Red Cross.

Based on a true story

The hurricane of 1900, America's worst natural disaster, left the island city of Galveston in ruins. Thousands perished, including all ninety-three children at the Sisters of the Incarnate Word orphanage--except six-year-old Hester, who miraculously survived. Oleander City is the tale of this little girl and the volatile collision between the American Red Cross, the Ku Klux Klan, and one of the most famous boxing matches in American history. The bout, organized to raise money for the recovery effort, featured the enigmatic veteran Chrysanthemum Joe Choynski, the most successful Jewish boxer in America, and Jack Johnson, a young hometown hero known as the Galveston Giant. The storied battle forged a bond between the two legendary fighters and put Johnson on the path to become the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.

Meanwhile, Clara Barton and the Red Cross minister to the sick and hungry as mounted vigilantes use the chaotic situation to settle old scores. After witnessing a terrible crime, Hester finds sanctuary with the ladies of the Red Cross, in a heartrending convergence of these historic figures.

 

 

The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border (Random House Studio) by Stephen Briseño, Magdalena Mora (Illustrator)

After traveling to Tijuana, Mexico, Noemi and her mother are denied entry at the border and must find the refugee in charge of the notebook, an unofficial ledger of those waiting to cross into the United States. Includes author's note.

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JUNE 2022

Nobody's Pilgrims (Cinco Puntos Press) by Sergio Troncoso

No Country for Old Men meets Contagion in this story of three teenagers on the run, carrying a great menace, and chased by a greater evil.

Three teenagers are traveling northeast in a navy blue Ford pickup. Turi has fled his abusive family to see the beautiful New England landscape he's always dreamed about. Arnulfo is undocumented and wants only to find someplace to work and live. Molly seeks a new life far away from her nowhere Missouri town. Turi and Arnulfo are best friends. Molly and Turi are falling in love.

But for all their innocence, violence follows the trio at every turn. The mean viejito who owns the truck wants it back. The narco who hid a deadly shipment in the truck really, really wants it back. And the imperturbable hitman the narco sends after the trio will kill anyone who stands in his way. Turi, Arnulfo, and Molly might outrun the carnage that's stalking them ... but they can't elude the chaos they're carrying, no matter how far they go.

A literary novel with the propulsion of a thriller, a genre joyride written in the prose of a master, Nobody's Pilgrims both offers and questions the possibility of escape in America -- like Huckleberry Finn with a gritty frontera twist.

 

Unsettled Land: From Revolution to Republic, the Struggle for Texas (Basic Books) by Sam W Haynes

A bold new history of the origins and aftermath of the Texas Revolution, revealing how Indians, Mexicans, and Americans battled for survival in one of the continent’s most diverse regions 

 
The Texas Revolution has long been cast as an epic episode in the origins of the American West. As the story goes, larger-than-life figures like Sam Houston, David Crockett, and William Barret Travis fought to free Texas from repressive Mexican rule. In Unsettled Land, historian Sam Haynes reveals the reality beneath this powerful creation myth. He shows how the lives of ordinary people—white Americans, Mexicans, Native Americans, and those of African descent—were upended by extraordinary events over twenty-five years. After the battle of San Jacinto, racial lines snapped taut as a new nation, the Lone Star republic, sought to expel Indians, marginalize Mexicans, and tighten its grip on the enslaved. 
 
This is a revelatory and essential new narrative of a major turning point in the history of North America. 

 

Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (W.W. Norton Company) by Kelly Lytle Hernández

"Rebel historian" Kelly Lytle Hernández reframes our understanding of U.S. history in this groundbreaking narrative of revolution in the borderlands.

Bad Mexicans tells the dramatic story of the magonistas, the migrant rebels who sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution from the United States. Led by a brilliant but ill-tempered radical named Ricardo Flores Magón, the magonistas were a motley band of journalists, miners, migrant workers, and more, who organized thousands of Mexican workers—and American dissidents—to their cause. Determined to oust Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz, who encouraged the plunder of his country by U.S. imperialists such as Guggenheim and Rockefeller, the rebels had to outrun and outsmart the swarm of U. S. authorities vested in protecting the Diaz regime. The U.S. Departments of War, State, Treasury, and Justice as well as police, sheriffs, and spies, hunted the magonistas across the country. Capturing Ricardo Flores Magón was one of the FBI’s first cases.

 

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas (Henry Holt & Company) by Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt's The Ambassador of Nowhere, Texas is a stunning post-9/11 companion to the National Book Award-winner When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.

Decades after the Vietnam War and Toby’s life-changing summer with Zachary Beaver, Toby’s daughter Rylee is at a crossroads—her best friend Twig has started pushing her away just as Joe, a new kid from New York, settles into their small town of Antler. Rylee befriends Joe and learns that Joe’s father was a first responder on 9/11. The two unlikely friends soon embark on a project to find Zachary Beaver and hopefully reconnect him with Rylee's father almost thirty years later.

This beautiful middle grade novel is a tribute to friendships—old and new—and explores the challenges of rebuilding what may seem lost or destroyed.

 

Did Beatniks Kill John F. Kennedy?: Bongo Joe's Requiem for the President (Beatdom Books) by Rob Johnson

 

Rob Johnson shines a new light on the Kennedy assassination, framing it through the lens of a beatnik bar that was frequented by the Secret Service the night before the President was shot dead in Dallas.

 

The Ghostly Tales of the Haunted Southwest (Spooky America) (Arcadia Children's Books) by Alan Brown

Ghost stories from the Southwestern United States have never been so creepy, fun, and full of mystery

The haunted history of the Southwest comes to life--even when the main players are dead. Visit Fort Huachuca to catch a glimpse of the ghosts of Buffalo Soldiers. Or spend the night at the Museum of Colorado Prisons in Canon City, but don't count on getting much sleep while surrounded by restless spirits. Dive into this spooky chapter book for suspenseful tales of bumps in the night, paranormal investigations, and the unexplained; just be sure to keep the light on.

MARCH / APRIL 2022

 

The Texas Job (Poisoned Pen Press) by Reavis Wortham 

 

Texas Ranger Tom Bell is tracking a fugitive killer when he rides into Pine Top, a hastily erected shanty-town crawling with rough and desperate men-oil drillers, come by the thousands in search of work. It soon becomes apparent that the lawman's poking around has irritated the wrong people, and when two failed attempts are made on his life, Bell knows that he's getting closer to finding out who is responsible for cheating and murdering the local landowners in order to access the rich oil fields flowing beneath their farms. When they ambush him for a third time while he's out with a local woman he's fallen for, they make the deadly mistake of killing her and leaving him alive.

The Sparrows of Montenegro (Skyhorse Publishing) by Bj Mayo 

Their journey takes them into the heart of the dangerous Llano Estacado region known as the Comancheria. The area is ruthlessly defended by a band of Quahadi Comanche and their stoic leader, Lonely Horse. The Troop encounters a large group of Comanches and the gun-running Comancheros at Mushaway Mountain, close to Gail, Texas. A quick battle ensues that leaves eight men dead.

Queen of the West: A Documentary History of San Antonio, 1718-1900 (State House Press) by Richard Bruce Winders

Queen of the West: A Documentary History of San Antonio, 1718–1900 takes readers through a series of important writings detailing how San Antonio transformed from an important but threatened outpost to a thriving Edwardian city.  The author, Richard Bruce Winders, provides an introduction to each eye-witness account providing diverse perspectives on the history of San Antonio by the people who  actually lived it.  

Corazón Abierto: Mexican American Voices in Texas Music (Texas A&M University Press) by Kathleen A Hudson

Corazón Abierto: Mexican American Voices in Texas Music provides a wide view of the myriad contributions Mexican American artists have made to music in Texas and the United States. Based on interviews with longtime stalwarts of Mexican American music—Flaco Jiménez, Tish Hinojosa, Ernie Durawa, Rosie Flores, and others—and also conversations with newer voices like Lesly Reynaga, Marisa Rose Mejia, Josh Baca, and many more, Kathleen Hudson allows the musicians to tell their own stories in a unique and personal way. As the artists reveal in their free-ranging discussions with Hudson, their influences go far beyond traditionally Mexican genres like conjuntonorteño, and Tejano to extend into rock, jazz, country-western, zydeco, and many other styles.

 

I'll Always Come Back to You (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) By Carmen Tafolla, Grace Zong (Illustrator)

 

What happens when someone you love heads out the door? When a mother goes out to work and her daughter stays behind, Mom reassures her child that nothing can keep her from coming back home again. Mom promises that she would even ride on a whale or fight off a passel of bears, if that's what it takes to return to her child Her daughter might have to wait with Gramma or a friend at home. Whether their time apart has been long or short, the family will be together again.

This humorous and touching book reminds young readers that distance cannot diminish love. Perfect for children struggling with separation anxiety or a change in family life, this book represents a parent's promise that they will be back, no matter what Reassuring rhyme and amusing illustrations create a story to cherish when loved ones have gone away--and also when they've come back at last.

The Turtle of Michigan (Greenwillow Books) by Naomi Shihab Nye

The stand-alone companion to National Book Award Finalist and beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of OmanThe Turtle of Michigan is a deft and accessible novel that follows a young boy named Aref as he travels from Muscat, Oman, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and adjusts to a new life and a new school in the United States. A wonderful pick for young middle grade readers and fans of Other Words for Home and Billy Miller Makes a Wish

 

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2022

Border Lore Folktales and Legends of South Texas (Lamar University Press) by David Bowles

 

Award-winning translator and author David Bowles brings together twenty-five darkly memorable stories of the southern borderlands of Texas, retold in his unique voice. Ranging from the age-old folktales heard at his grandmother's knee to urban legends collected down the years, each of these narratives is brought to stunning visual life by artist Jose Melendez. An appendix classifies the pieces and enumerates motifs.
 

Blue Hole Wisdom (Incarnate Word Foundation Press) by Bridget McDermott Flood 

 

In this memoir of connection and common humanity, Bridget McDermott Flood reflects on the women behind the mystery and souls once veiled by habits, uncovering the wisdom, wit, and the indomitable spirits that have formed the charism of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. In a series of reflections, remarkable women come to life, illustrating the presence of the divine in the ordinary and extraordinary missions each sister has undertaken. Their stories form the heart of Blue Hole Wisdom.

 

Each story centers on a theme that applies to a reader's daily life and spiritual growth. As a touching spirituality memoir, Blue Hole Wisdom draws upon the Sisters' humor and ability to cultivate joy in those with whom they connect to drive home the necessity of embracing their frontier charism. Flood and the Sisters discover the answers to the question, "How are you in your heart?" among Ch'ol communities in Chiapas, Mexico. They create spaces for creativity to flourish and foster healing among live oaks and cypress trees around the book's namesake watering hole.

 

Blue Hole Wisdom combines vivid storytelling with deep faith, inviting readers to consider the ways in which the Sisters can serve as touchstones for how to live out one's vocation, to relate to others, and to follow God's call with passion, certainty, and grace.

 

The Mexican American Experience in Texas: Citizenship, Segregation, and the Struggle for Equality ( The Texas Bookshelf ) (University of Texas Press) by Martha Menchaca 

 

 

For hundreds of years, Mexican Americans in Texas have fought against political oppression and exclusion—in courtrooms, in schools, at the ballot box, and beyond. Through a detailed exploration of this long battle for equality, this book illuminates critical moments of both struggle and triumph in the Mexican American experience.

 

Martha Menchaca begins with the Spanish settlement of Texas, exploring how Mexican Americans’ racial heritage limited their incorporation into society after the territory’s annexation. She then illustrates their political struggles in the nineteenth century as they tried to assert their legal rights of citizenship and retain possession of their land, and goes on to explore their fight, in the twentieth century, against educational segregation, jury exclusion, and housing covenants. It was only in 1967, she shows, that the collective pressure placed on the state government by Mexican American and African American activists led to the beginning of desegregation. Menchaca concludes with a look at the crucial roles that Mexican Americans have played in national politics, education, philanthropy, and culture, while acknowledging the important work remaining to be done in the struggle for equality.

 

Icons & Symbols of the Borderland: Art from the Us-Mexico Crossroads by Diana Molina 

 

Wall or no wall? View the US-Mexico borderland saga through the eyes of artists who've lived it, including some of the children held in detention camps. More than 100 artworks represent a variety of mediums, from large paintings to mixed-media collage, neon, photography, and sculpture. Based on a traveling exhibit by members of the El Paso-based Juntos Art Association, the images explore the region's animal and plant ecosystems, food and religious culture, and history. The artists reflect deep roots both north and south of the border and the inherent mestizaje, a blend of indigenous, Mexican, and American heritage across the length of the bicultural, binational landscape. Their work makes vibrant personal and political statements that speak constructively about how to move forward in this fraught region. Combined with accompanying essays, this book shares a rare, close-up view of the US-Mexico crossroads at a critical point in US history.

 

Growing Up in the Lone Star State: Notable Texans Remember Their Childhoods (Briscoe Center for American History UT-Austin) By Gaylon Finklea Hecker, Marianne Odom

 

Gaylon Finklea Hecker and Marianne Odom began the interviews for this book in 1981 and devoted a professional lifetime to collecting the memories of accomplished Texans to determine what, if anything, about growing up in the Lone Star State prepared them for success.

 

The resulting forty-seven oral history interviews begin with tales from the early 1900s, when Texas was an agrarian state, and continue through the growth of major cities and the country’s race to the moon. Interviewees recalled life in former slave colonies; on gigantic ranches, tiny farms, and sharecropper fields; and in one-horse towns and big-city neighborhoods, with relatable stories as diverse as the state’s geography.

 

The oldest interviewees witnessed women earning the right to vote and weathered the Great Depression. Many remembered two world wars, while others recalled the Texas City explosion of 1947 and the tornado that devastated Waco in 1953. They witnessed the advent of television and the nightly news, which helped many come to terms with the assassination of a president that took place too close to home.

Their absorbing reflections are stories of good and bad, hope and despair, poverty and wealth, depression and inspiration, which would have been different if lived anywhere but Texas.

 

DECEMBER 2021

Martita, I Remember You/Martita, Te Recuerdo: A Story in English and Spanish (Vintage) By Sandra Cisneros, translated by Liliana Valenzuela

 

As a young woman, Corina leaves her Mexican family in Chicago to pursue her dream of becoming a writer in the cafés of Paris. Instead, she spends her brief time in the City of Light running out of money and lining up with other immigrants to call home from a broken pay phone. But the months of befriending panhandling artists in the métro, sleeping on crowded floors, and dancing the tango at underground parties are given a lasting glow by her intense friendships with Martita and Paola. Over the years the three women disperse to three continents, falling out of touch and out of mind—until a rediscovered letter brings Corina’s days in Paris back with breathtaking immediacy.

 

Martita, I Remember You is a rare bottle from Sandra Cisneros’s own special reserve, preserving the smoke and the sparkle of an exceptional year. Told with intimacy and searing tenderness, this tribute to the life-changing power of youthful friendship is Cisneros at her vintage best, in a beautiful dual-language edition.

 

Being Texan: Essays, Recipes, and Advice for the Lone Star Way of Life (Harper Wave) By Editors of Texas Monthly 

 

The editors of Texas Monthly explore what it means to be a Texan in this anthology packed with essays, reportage, recipes, and recommendations from their renowned list of contributors.

Big hats, big trucks, big oil fortunes—Texas clichés all. And while those elements do flourish throughout Texas, they alone hardly define the place. The Lone Star State is and has always been a great melting pot, home to sprawling cities, trailblazing innovators, and treasured traditions from all over, many of which become ingrained in popular culture and intertwined with the American ideal. 

 

In this collection, the editors of Texas Monthly take stock of their multifaceted, larger-than-life state, including the people, customs, land, culture, and cuisine that have collided and comingled here. Featuring essays, reportage, recipes, and recommendations from the magazine’s legendary roster of contributors, and accompanied by original drawings, Being Texan explores the landscapes that are home to more than 29 million people; the joys and idiosyncrasies of Texan life; underappreciated episodes of Texas history; and distinctive strains of Texan arts and culture. 

Illuminating, surprising, and entertaining, Being Texan reveals the Lone Star State in all its beauty, vastness, and complexity. 


Viva Texas Rivers!: Adventures, Misadventures, and Glimpses of Nirvana along Our Storied Waterways (Texas A&M University Press) By Steven L. Davis (Editor), Sam L. Pfiester (Editor), Andrew Sansom (Afterword by)

More than the lifeblood of our natural world, Texas rivers have nourished the human spirit for as long as people have gathered on their banks. A living bond has flowed between Texas writers and rivers ever since the 1960 publication of John Graves’s classic journey along the Brazos, Goodbye to a River.

 

Many of Texas’ leading writers have had their hearts captured by a river, and they have created sparkling accounts of the waterways they love. Now, editors Steven L. Davis and Sam L. Pfiester have assembled the best of those works into a revelatory collection of diverse literary voices.

 

Ranging from the desert canyonlands of the Rio Grande to the swampy Big Thicket, from crystal clear Hill Country streams to the Red River’s treacherous quicksand, Viva Texas Rivers! showcases many classic writings along with brand new essays written for this volume. The literary nonfiction is complemented by flashes of poetry that brilliantly reflect these curving ribbons of light.

Authoritative and expertly edited, Viva Texas Rivers! offers shimmering accounts of hidden paradises, as well as searing exposés of abuse and despoliation. Yet even in the bleakest times, as these writers have found,

Texas rivers can bestow a sacred grace —and unexpected redemption.

 

Viva Texas Rivers! brings you as close to the living nirvana of a Texas River as you can get without launching yourself into a canoe and following a great blue heron as it glides just above the breaking rapids, leading you around the bend as the river flows onward toward the best places in our hearts.

 

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2021

 

Artisans of Trabajo Rústico, 19: The Legacy of Dionicio Rodríguez (Rio Grande/Río Bravo: Borderlands Culture and Traditions) (Texas A&M University Press) BY Patsy Pittman Light, And Kent Rush (Photographer)

 

As documented in Patsy Pittman Light’s award-winning book, Capturing Nature, Mexican artisan Dionicio Rodríguez arrived in San Antonio in the 1920s and created concrete bus stop shelters, park benches, footbridges, and other structures in the style known as faux bois, or trabajo rústico. Following on the success of that previous work, Light, with photographer and artist Kent Rush, presents a comprehensive look at the legacy of Rodríguez as reflected in the works of those whom he trained, mentored, or influenced.

 

 

The Vanished Texas Coast: Lost Port Towns, Mysterious Shipwrecks and Other True Tales (History Press) by Mark Lardas

 

People may associate Texas with cattle drives and oil derricks, but the sea has shaped the state's history as dramatically as it has delineated its coastline. Some of that history has vanished into the Gulf, whether it is an abandoned port town or a gale-tossed treasure fleet. Revisit the shipwreck that put Texas on the map. Add La Salle's lost colony, the Texas Navy's forgotten steamship and Galveston's overlooked 1915 hurricane to the navigational charts. From the submarines of Seawolf Park to the concrete tanker beached off Pelican Island, author Mark Lardas scours the coast to salvage the secrets of its sunken heritage.

 

Cook Once Dinner Fix: Quick and Exciting Ways to Transform Tonight's Dinner Into Tomorrow's Feast (Simon & Schuster) by Cassie Joy Garcia

 

Never throw out your leftovers again with these delicious and healthy meals designed to transform into an entirely different dish the next night from best-selling author Cassy Joy Garcia. 
As a busy mom of two, Cassy Joy Garcia, the best-selling author of Cook Once, Eat All Week, has limited time to get food on the table. With this book, she shares a fresh approach to preparing dinner in a hurry. These 120 easy, delicious recipes are designed to use the leftovers from one recipe to quickly cook a completely different meal the next day. 
While most meal-prep cookbooks require you to plan your entire week ahead of time and spend hours in the kitchen (and a small fortune on groceries), Cook Once Dinner Fix shows you how to utilize the leftovers from one meal to create an entirely new creation for the next. The leftover Roasted Garlic Turkey Breast transforms into Spiced Turkey Potato Soup, and Dry-Rubbed Barbecue Brisket becomes crowd-pleasing Cheesesteak-Stuffed Peppers. No matter your favorite flavor profile or dietary restrictions, this book is packed with recipes the whole family will enjoy.

The Cook Once Dinner Fix solves the “what’s for dinner” question without requiring enormous amounts of time, energy, skill, or money. Now dinnertime can be fun, fast, affordable, and sustainable.

 

 

Snow in our Potties! (The Storm Made Us Do It) (Maya Noronha Duff  ) by Maya Duff

 

What happens when two massive winter storm systems collide in an area that rarely sees snow? From sledding in laundry baskets to jumping into frozen pools to rescue dogs, this book recounts the experiences of one family as well as individuals across the state of Texas. This rhyming book with the right amount of (snow in our) potty humor will leave you smiling and hopefully feeling grateful for the everyday luxuries we typically take for granted. Because we were left with deep gratitude for the every day wonders of access to food and clean water, a portion of proceeds from this book will be donated to the Central Texas Food Bank and Water Mission.

 

Paletero Man (Harper Collins) by Lucky Diaz, and Micah Player (Illustrator)

 

A vibrant picture book celebrating the strength of community and the tastes of summer from Latin Grammy-winning musician Lucky Diaz and celebrated artist Micah Player. Ring! Ring! Ring! Can you hear his call? Paletas for one! Paletas for all! What’s the best way to cool off on a hot summer day? Run quick and find Paletero José!  Follow along with our narrator as he passes through his busy  neighborhood in search of the Paletero Man. But when he finally catches up with him, our narrator’s pockets are empty. Oh no! What happened to his dinero? It will take the help of the entire community to get the tasty treat now. Full of musicality, generosity, kindness, and ice pops, this book is sure to satisfy fans of Thank You, Omu! and Carmela Full of Wishes.

Includes Spanish words and phrases throughout, an author’s note from Lucky Diaz, and a link to a live version of the Lucky Band’s popular song that inspired the book.

 

 

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SEPTEMBER 2021

West Side Rising: How San Antonio's 1921 Flood Devastated a City and Sparked a Latino Environmental Justice Movement (Maverick Books) by Char Miller 

West Side Rising is the first book focused squarely on San Antonio's enduring relationship to floods, which have had severe consequences for its communities of color in particular. Examining environmental, social, and political histories, Char Miller demonstrates that disasters can expose systems of racism, injustice, and erasure and, over time, can impel activists to dismantle these inequities. He draws clear lines between the environmental injustices embedded in San Antonio's long history and the emergence of grassroots organizations that combated the devastating impact floods could have on the West Side.

 

Here We Go Loop De Loop (Atmosphere Press) by William Jack Sibley

Here We Go Loop De Loop by William Jack Sibley has greed, lust, sexuality, spiritual enlightenment, more lust, xenophobia, and the meaning of a life worth living, all woven into a single, outrageous knot in the insulated town of Rita Blanca, Texas. The author, a fifth-generation Texan and a resolute seeker of wisdom, truth, and the occasional virtuosic lie, with humor and reflection, has wrought a story of humanity through characters doing the best they can - just not terribly well.

 

Nepantla Familias: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature on Families in Between Worlds ( Wittliff Collections Literary ) (Texas A&M University Press) edited by Sergio Troncoso

Nepantla Familias brings together Mexican American narratives that explore and negotiate the many permutations of living in between different worlds—how the authors or their characters create, or fail to create, a cohesive identity amid the contradictions in their lives. Nepantla—or living in the in-between space of the borderland—is the focus of this anthology. The essays, poems, and short stories explore the in-between moments in Mexican American life—the family dynamics of living between traditional and contemporary worlds, between Spanish and English, between cultures with traditional and shifting identities. In times of change, family values are either adapted or discarded in the quest for self-discovery, part of the process of selecting and composing elements of a changing identity.

 

Once Upon a Camel (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books) by Kathi Appelt and Eric Rohmann (Illustrator) 

Zada is a camel with a treasure trove of stories to tell. She’s won camel races for the royal Pasha of Smyrna, crossed treacherous oceans to new land, led army missions with her best camel friend by her side, and outsmarted a far too pompous mountain lion. But those stories were from before. Now, Zada wanders the desert as the last camel in Texas. But she’s not alone. Two tiny kestrel chicks are nestled in the fluff of fur between her ears—kee-killy-keeing for their missing parents—and a dust storm the size of a mountain is taking Zada on one more grand adventure. And it could lead to this achy old camel’s most brilliant story yet.

 

Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna (Sourcebooks Young Readers) By Alda P. Dobbs

Based on a true story, the tale of one girl's perilous journey to cross the U.S. border and lead her family to safety during the Mexican Revolution. It is 1913, and twelve-year-old Petra Luna's mama has died while the Revolution rages in Mexico. Before her papa is dragged away by soldiers, Petra vows to him that she will care for the family she has left--her abuelita, little sister Amelia, and baby brother Luisito--until they can be reunited. They flee north through the unforgiving desert as their town burns, searching for safe harbor in a world that offers none. Each night when Petra closes her eyes, she holds her dreams close, especially her long-held desire to learn to read. Abuelita calls these barefoot dreams: They're like us barefoot peasants and indios--they're not meant to go far. But Petra refuses to listen. Through battlefields and deserts, hunger and fear, Petra will stop at nothing to keep her family safe and lead them to a better life across the U.S. border--a life where her barefoot dreams could finally become reality.

 

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AUGUST 2021

Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth (Penguin Press) by Bryan Burrough, Chris  Tomlinson, Jason Stanford
Three noted Texan writers combine forces to tell the real story of the Alamo, dispelling the myths, exploring why they had their day for so long, and explaining why the ugly fight about its meaning is now coming to a head... In the past forty-some years, waves of revisionists have come at this topic, and at times have made real progress toward a more nuanced and inclusive story that doesn't alienate anyone. But we are not living in one of those times; the fight over the Alamo's meaning has become more pitched than ever in the past few years, even violent, as Texas's future begins to look more and more different from its past. It's the perfect time for a wise and generous-spirited book that shines the bright light of the truth into a place that's gotten awfully dark.

 

Luz at Midnight (Flowersong Press) by Marisol Cortez

A genre-hopping narrative, Luz chronicles the ill-timed love between a naive academic and a manic-depressive journalist as they uncover corrupt extraction politics in South Texas.

 

The Last Butterfly/La última mariposa (Juventud Press) Regina Moya, Carmen Tafolla

A brave young butterfly, a small boy, and a dancing blue planet build a bond of love and hard work, drawing on the magic of their relationship. A delightful adventure into the migration of monarch butterflies, and the value of protecting those things we love, this touching story is told in simple but poetic language aimed at children from 5 to 99 and is beautifully illustrated with the rich colors of the Mexican forests where the monarchs head each winter.

 

Loteria Remedios by Xelena Gonzalez

With grant support from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, Xelena recently developed a body of work in both children's literature and visionary fiction, inspired by the iconography of the Mexican Lotería card game. Her resultant book LOTERÍA REMEDIOS led to the creation of a television script centered on the same theme and featuring a modern Mestiza protagonist. She is currently developing the screenplay THE CARD SINGER with support from the Luminaria Artist Foundation. A member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, Xelena is a sought-after speaker on topics such as radical self love, creative early literacy strategies, inhabiting story through music and movement, and reclaiming indigenous identity in Latinx communities.

 

Fortunate Son: Selected Essays from the Lone Star State (High Road Books) by Rick Bass

Rick Bass's Fortunate Son is a literary tour of the Lone Star State by a native Texan of exceptional talent. The essays encompass a Texas that is both lost and found, past and present. The stories reach from Galveston Bay to the Hill Country outside Austin, and from Houston in the 1960s to today. They are bound together by a deep love and a keen eye for the land and its people and by an appreciation for what is given, a ruefulness for what is lost, and a commitment to save what can be saved.

 

This is a journalist's Texas scrapbook, then: a firefighting story, a musical pilgrimage, a ramble in Texas's tiniest public wilderness (one of only five in the entire state). Fishing with my father and uncle on a lake that is partly in Texas and partly in Louisiana; flying around the borders of Texas--usually defined by water, a resource that will vanish in much of the state within our lifetime; hanging out at my parents' cattle farm down near Goliad; reading the work of Texans before me.--from the Introduction

 

Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards (Random House Studio) by Meghan P Browne and Carlynn Whitt (Illustrator)

"A folksy, larger-than-life picture book biography about Ann Richards, the late governor of Texas who has inspired countless women in politics today." 

 

 A Single Star and Bloody Knuckles: A History of Politics and Race in Texas (The Texas Bookshelf) (University of Texas Press) by Bill Minutaglio

A new look at the last 150 years of Texas's contentious political history, told decade by decade through the prism of the state's famous, infamous, and unsung figures.

 

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JUNE/JULY 2021

The Texas Triangle: An Emerging Power in the Global Economy (Texas A&M University Press) by Henry Cisneros, David Hendricks, JH Cullum Clark, and William Fulton 

This important new study examines the intricately linked phenomena of interwoven population growth, economic power, quality education, business leadership, and fiscal significance as exemplified in the “Texas Triangle,” a network of metropolitan complexes that are reshaping the destiny of Texas and adding a strong pinnacle in the global system of economic mega-centers.

 

River, Sing Out (Blackstone Publishing) by James Wade

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into a sinister and sanguinary world, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

 

San Antonio a Photographic Journey (Farcountry Press)

Celebrate the Fiesta City with this colorful collection of photographs! Enjoy a stroll past the shops and restaurants of the famous River Walk. Marvel in the iconography and history of the Missions Concepción, San Francisco de la Espada, San José, San Juan Capistrano, and of course, The Alamo. Explore the area’s many parks, historic districts, and architectural wonders and experience its rich Mexican American culture and food! Vibrant, full-color photographs are accompanied by fun, informative text—making this the perfect keepsake for any San Antonio fan.

 

On Juneteenth (Liveright Publishing Corporation) by Annette Gordon Reed

The essential, sweeping story of Juneteenth’s integral importance to American history, as told by a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and Texas native.

In its concision, eloquence, and clear presentation of history, On Juneteenth vitally revises conventional renderings of Texas and national history. As our nation verges on recognizing June 19 as a national holiday, On Juneteenth is both an essential account and a stark reminder that the fight for equality is exigent and ongoing.

 

Juneteenth (Revised) (Vintage International) by Ralph Ellison

Here is Ellison, the master of American vernacular—the preacher’s hyperbole and the politician’s rhetoric, the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech—at the height of his powers, telling a powerful, evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century.
 
“Tell me what happened while there’s still time,” demands the dying senator Adam Sunraider to the Reverend A. Z. Hickman, the itinerant Negro preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. His history encompasses camp meetings where he became the risen Lazarus to inspire the faithful; the more ordinary joys of Southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker; lovemaking with a young woman in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals?

 

Juneteenth: The Story Behind the Celebration (State House Press) by Edward T. Cotham, Jr.

This is the first scholarly book to delve into the history behind Juneteenth. Using decades of research in archives around the nation, this book helps separate myth from reality and tells the story behind the celebration in a way that provides new understanding and appreciation for the event.

This book will captivate people interested in the history of emancipation and African American history but also those interested in Civil War and Texas history.

 

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MAY/JUNE 2021

The Resurrection of Fulgencio Ramirez (Blackstone Publishing) by Rudy Ruiz

1950s: In the border town of La Frontera, young love blooms at first sight between Fulgencio Ramirez, the son of impoverished immigrants, and Carolina Mendelssohn, the local pharmacist's daughter. Their bonds will be undone by a force more powerful than they could have known. Thirty years later Fulgencio Ramirez, RPh, is conducting his daily ritual of reading the local obituaries in his pharmacy office. After nearly a quarter of a century of waiting, his nemesis, the husband of Carolina Mendelssohn, has died. Fulgencio strives to succeed in America, break a mystical family curse, and win back Carolina's love after their doomed youthful romance.

 

All Things Left Wild (Blackstone Publishing) by James Wild 

After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb's moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill. Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.

 

Valentine (Harper Perennial) by Elizabeth Wetmore

It's February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town's men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow. In the early hours of the morning after Valentine's Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead's ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field, an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.

 

All God's Children (Europa Editions) by Aaron Gwyn 

In 1827, Duncan Lammons, a disgraced young man from Kentucky, sets out to join the American army in the province of Texas, hoping that here he may live, and love, as he pleases. That same year, Cecelia, a young slave in Virginia, runs away for the first time. Soon infamous for her escape attempts, Cecelia drifts through the reality of slavery until she encounters frontiersman Sam Fisk, who rescues her from a slave auction in New Orleans. In spite of her mistrust, Cecelia senses an opportunity for freedom, and travels with Sam to Texas, where he has a homestead. In this new territory, where the law is an instrument for the cruel and the wealthy, they begin an unlikely life together, unaware that their fates are intertwined with those of Sam's former army mates, including Duncan Lammons, a friend, and others who harbor dangerous dreams of their own.

 

Tigers, Not Daughters (Algonquin Young Readers) by Samantha Mabry

In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award-longlisted novel, All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves a magical, romantic, own-voices novel about three sisters shadowed by guilt and grief over the loss of their oldest sister, who still haunts their house.

 

Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack (Lee and Low Books) by Sandra Nickel, illustrated by Oliver Dominguez 

The delicious true story of an inventive chef and the serendipitous events that led to the creation of the world's favorite snack, nachos!

 

Elatsoe (Levine Querido) by Darcy Little Badger, illustrated by Rovina Cai

Imagine an America very similar to our own. It's got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream. There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear, or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day. Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

 

Crooked Hallelujah (Grove Press) by Kelli Jo Ford 

Crooked Hallelujah tells the stories of Justine, a mixed-blood Cherokee woman, and her daughter, Reney, as they move from Eastern Oklahoma's Indian Country in the hopes of starting a new, more stable life in Texas amid the oil bust of the 1980s. However, life in Texas isn't easy, and Reney feels unmoored from her family in Indian Country. Against the vivid backdrop of the Red River, we see their struggle to survive in a world of unreliable men and near-Biblical natural forces, like wildfires and tornados, intent on stripping away their connections to one another and their very ideas of home.

 

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APRIL/MAY 2021

Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers (Viking) by Doug J. Swanson

A twenty-first-century reckoning with the legendary Texas Rangers that does justice to their heroic moments while also documenting atrocities, brutality, and corruption. The Texas Rangers rode into existence in 1823, when Texas was still part of Mexico, and continue today as one of the most famous of all law-enforcement agencies. In Cult of Glory, Doug J. Swanson offers a sweeping account of the Rangers that chronicles both their epic, daring escapades and how the white and propertied power structures of Texas have used them as enforcers and protectors.

 

 

Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico: Portraits of Soldaderas, Saints, and Subversives (Trinity University Press) edited by Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, Jennifer Speed 

Much ink has been spilled over the men of the Mexican Revolution, but far less has been written about its women. Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Jennifer Speed set out to right this wrong in Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico, which celebrates the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path. The anthology embraces an expansive definition of the word revolutionary by looking at female role models and subversives from the last century and who stood up for their visions and ideals and continue to stand for them today.

 

 

Lonesome Dove (Simon & Schuster) by Larry McMurtry

Twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American classic of the American West that follows two aging Texas Rangers embarking on one last adventure. An epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America.

 

 

Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt's Search for Freedom and Identity in New York's Greenwich Village (Scribner) by Jan Jarboe Russell
Hundreds of books have been written about FDR and Eleanor, both together and separately, but yet she remains a compelling and elusive figure. And, not much is known about why in 1920, Eleanor suddenly abandoned her duties as a mother of five and moved to Greenwich Village, then the symbol of all forms of transgressive freedom—communism, homosexuality, interracial relationships, and subversive political activity. Now, in this fascinating, in-depth portrait, Jan Russell pulls back the curtain on Eleanor’s life to reveal the motivations and desires that drew her to the Village and how her time there changed her political outlook.

 

 

Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson (Scribner) by Jan Jarboe Russell

Expertly researched and written, Lady Bird draws from rare conversations with the former First Lady and from interviews with key members of Johnson's inner circle of friends, family, and advisers. With chapters such as "Motherless Child," "A Ten-Week Affair," and "LBJ's Midlife Crisis," Lady Bird sheds light on Mrs. Johnson's childhood, on her amazing acumen as a businesswoman, and on the central role she played in her husband's life and political career. A vital link to the Kennedys during LBJ's uneasy tenure as vice president and a voice of conscience on civil rights, Jan Jarboe Russell reveals Lady Bird as a political force. In this intimate portrait, Russell shows us the private Lady Bird--not only a passionate conservationist but a remarkable woman who greatly influenced her husband, his administration, and the country. 

 

 

The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II (Scribner) by Jan Jarboe Russell

During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. Jan Jarboe Russell focuses on two American-born teenage girls, uncovering the details of their years spent in the camp; the struggles of their fathers; their families’ subsequent journeys to war-devastated Germany and Japan; and their years-long attempt to survive and return to the United States, transformed from incarcerated enemies to American loyalists. Their stories of day-to-day life at the camp, from the ten-foot-high security fence to the armed guards, daily roll call, and censored mail, have never been told.

 

 

I Am Skye, Finder of the Lost (A Dog's Day #5) (Albert Whitman & Company) by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Francesca Rosa

Spend a day in the life of a search and rescue dog Skye the border collie has spent her life comforting people after disasters. Lately, she's also been training to help find people who have gone missing in her national park. But is Skye ready to make her first rescue? Told from the dog's perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.

 

 

I Am Tucker, Detection Expert (A Dog's Day #6) (Albert Whitman & Company) by Catherine Stier, illustrated by Francesca Rosa

Spend the day in the life of a detection dog Tucker the beagle is more than just a friendly face at the airport. As part of the "Beagle Brigade," he helps keep out invasive species that could hurt the environment. It's a job that would be almost impossible for humans--but for Tucker, it's all in a day's work. Told from the dog's perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.

 

 

 

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MARCH/APRIL 2021

 Alamo Tree (Girasol Publishing LLC) by Tana Holmes, illustrated by Mahfuja Selim

If ancient trees could talk, what stories they could tell! Alamo Tree is a true story about a real place. The monumental events surrounding the siege and famous battle at the Shrine of Texas Liberty are told by an old live oak that still thrives in the courtyard of the mission in San Antonio. The tree explains that during those dark days there was the love of families, the courage of heroes, the teamwork of citizens from all over the globe, and leadership that ensured their losses were not in vain. Rhyming text and beautiful illustrations will make your child want to hear Alamo Tree again and again. It is said that even the Daughters of the Republic of Texas recommends this book. That says something!

 

Greenlights (Crown Publishing Group) by Matthew McConaughey 

“I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.” Drawing on the Academy Award-winning actor's journals and diaries, this book presents a uniquely McConaughey approach to achieving success and satisfaction.

 

 The Eyes of Texans: From Slavery to the Texas Capitol: Personal Stories from Six Generations of One Family by Melvin E Edwards

Once you meet Isaac Bladen, you'll never forget him. Melvin E. Edwards, award-winning newspaper reporter/columnist and a former legislative speechwriter for long-time Texas Lt. Governor and Governor Rick Perry, conducted thirty years of genealogy research that confirmed family stories that had been told for decades, exposed some that weren't accurate, and discovered details that had long been buried. These "first-person" accounts will capture your attention and take you on a drive-by of the last two hundred years of American and Texas history.

 

Simon the Fiddler (William Morrow & Co.) by Paulette Jiles 

In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band. Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter. After the surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again.

 

 News of the World (William Morrow & Co.) by Paulette Jiles

Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd drifts through northern Texas, performing live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain once made his living as a printer, until the War Between the States took his press and everything with it. At a stop in Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is offered an astonishing $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives near San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders viciously killed Johanna Leonberger's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently recovered by the U.S. Army, the inconsolable ten-year-old with blue eyes and hair the color of maple sugar has once again been torn away from the only home and family she knows. The captain's sense of duty and compassion propels him to accept, though he knows the journey will be difficult. [Read the Lone Star Review here.]

 

Celis Beer: Born in Belgium, Brewed in Texas (History Press) by Jeremy Banas 

A former milkman in the small village of Hoegaarden, Belgium, Pierre Celis opened a brewery that brought back the extinct witbier style of his native Hoegaarden and rejuvenated an old-world tradition throughout Belgium and Europe. Following a devastating fire in his native country, the godfather of witbier set up shop in Texas, where his passion took fresh shape in the form of Celis Beer and influenced an entire generation of beer lovers. His legacy continues under the stewardship of his daughter, Christine, who revived the brand in 2017, along with his granddaughter, Daytona, who brews there now. Author Jeremy Banas relates how the Hoegaarden legend founded Austin's first craft brewery.    

 

 Pearl: A History of San Antonio's Iconic Beer (History Press) by Jeremy Banas 

"The finest flavored beer in the market. Be sure and try, and you will be convinced. Warranted to be the same at all times. Ask for it, drink no other." In 1887, these were bold words about the City Brewery's new beer with the pearly bubbles, considering how the recent flood of German immigrants to Central Texas brought along expert fermentation. As that business evolved into the San Antonio Brewing Association, XXX Pearl Beer became the mainstay of the largest brewery in the state. Its smokestack formed an intrinsic part of the San Antonio skyline. A regional powerhouse for more than a century, it was the only Texas brewery to survive Prohibition. It also endured the onslaught of a president's scandalous death and Lone Star's fierce rivalry. Grab a pint and join author Jeremy Banas for a tour of Texas's most iconic brewery.

 

San Antonio Beer: Alamo City History by the Pint (History Press) by Jeremy Banas 

Brewing history and beer culture permeate San Antonio. The Menger Hotel and its bar, notoriously frequented by Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, began as the city's first brewery in 1855. The establishment of San Antonio Brewing Association and Lone Star Brewery at the close of the nineteenth century began the city's golden age of brewing. Decades later, the Volstead Act decimated the city's brewing community. Only one brewery survived Prohibition. Those that bounced back were run out of business by imports coming in on the new railroad. The 1990s saw a craft comeback with the opening of the oldest existing brewpub, Blue Star Brewing Company. Today, San Antonio boasts a bevy of new breweries and celebrates its brewing heritage. Grab a pint and join authors Jeremy Banas and Travis E. Poling for a taste of Alamo City's hoppy history.

 

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FEBRUARY/MARCH 2021

The Four Winds (St. Martin’s Press) by Kristin Hannah

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli, like so many of her neighbors, must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. (Lone Star Lit review)

 

Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico: Portraits of Soldaderas, Saints, and Subversives (Maverick Books) by Kathy Sosa (Editor), Ellen Riojas Clark (Editor), Jennifer Speed (Editor), Dolores Huerta (Foreword by), Norma Elia Cantú (Afterword by), Kathy Sosa (Illustrator), Lionel Sosa (Illustrator)

Much ink has been spilled over the men of the Mexican Revolution, but far less has been written about its women. Kathy Sosa, Ellen Riojas Clark, and Jennifer Speed set out to right this wrong in Revolutionary Women of Texas and Mexico, which celebrates the women of early Texas and Mexico who refused to walk a traditional path. The anthology embraces an expansive definition of the word revolutionary by looking at female role models and subversives from the last century and who stood up for their visions and ideals and continue to stand for them today. Eighteen portraits provide readers with a glimpse into each figure's life and place in history.

 

Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century (Cutthroat, a Journal of the Arts) contributors include Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Octavio Solis, Gary Soto, Alberto Rios, Demetria Martinez, Rosemary Catacalos, Denise Chavez and many more. Editors: Luis Alberto Urrea, Beth Alvarado, Carmen Tafolla, Octavio Quintanilla, Terry Acevedo, and Edward Vidaurre

Cutthroat, A Journal Of The Arts and the Black Earth Institute collaborated to publish this historic collection of writings about Chicanx culture. The writings span all topics from the rasquache to the refined. In these pages is writing that goes deep into Chicanx culture and reveals heritage in new ways. This is work that challenges, that is irreverent, that is defiant and inventive. That is Puro Chicanx. The idea of Puro Chicanx is rooted in Mexican ancestral heritage, is about attitude and may overlap with other Latinx cultures.

 

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems (Cinco Puntos Press) by David Bowles

In Spanish, “Güero” is a nickname for guys with pale skin, Latino or Anglo. But make no mistake: our red-headed, freckled hero is puro mexicano, like Canelo lvarez, the Mexican boxer. Güero is also a nerd—reader, game

The Twig Book Shop began its evolution in San Antonio in 1972. Currently located at the former Pearl Brewery on the Museum Reach of the Riverwalk, the Twig provides newly released books for children and adults as well as award-winning classics. The space at Pearl has become a venue for local and national poets and authors. The Twig makes books available for book clubs, schools, and conferences. The Texana collection makes the Twig a destination for history lovers near and far. Hardcover and softcover books can be purchased from their website, the database for which accesses a national distributor for independent bookstores. Libro.fm audio and Kobo electronic books are also available.

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