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.



Texas Almanac 2024-2025 (Texas State Historical Association) by Rosie Hatch


For the 72nd edition in the series, this essential reference book has been revised with all the latest information about our proud state. When future scholars ask “What was Texas like in 2024?” Texas Almanac readers will know.

Inside you’ll find at least 410 tables of data about our state, 300 maps, contact information for 200 state boards and commissions, and the names of 189 state officials, 1,209 judges, 1,223 mayors, and 3,302 county officials (give or take a few).


Texas Night Before Christmas (Night Before Christmas) (Pelican Publishing Company) by James Rice


With a team of Longhorns, Santa arrives at a sod shanty and drops down the chimney to fill the young'uns' boots with toys.


The Night Before Christmas in Texas (Gibbs Smith) by Betty Lou Phillips, Roblyn Herndon, and Sheryl Dickert


It's Christmas night when a freezing-cold Santa decides to look for a warm midwinter vacation spot while on his magical trip 'round the world delivering toys. Of course, Mrs. Claus wants to be in on the fun, so she climbs aboard. They have their sights on Texas and take a flight over the state pointing out cities, landscapes, and attractions of the great Lone Star state! 


No! Go! (AMZ Pro Hub) by Holly Schmidt


Hug a porcupine? Children quickly join in to answer the questions about what they should and should not do to have fun and be safe. The simple patterns and pictures encourage early literacy, making it a perfect book for baby showers and first libraries. 




The Madstone: A Novel (Little, Brown and Company) by Elizabeth Crook


With echoes of Lonesome Dove and News of the World, the riveting story of a pregnant young mother, her child, and the frontier tradesman who helps them flee across Texas from outlaws bent on revenge, even as an unlikely love blossoms.


The Voice of the Coyote (Bison Books) by J. Frank Dobie


In The Voice of the Coyote, J. Frank Dobie melds natural history with tales and lore in articulating the complex and often contentious relationship between coyotes and humans. Based on his own life experiences in Texas and twenty-five years of research, Dobie forges a sympathetic and nuanced picture of the coyote prefiguring later environmental and conservation movements. He recognizes the impact of human action on the coyote while also examining the prominent role of the coyote in the myths and legends of the West.


Mi Cultura: Bringing Shadow Into Light (Tinta Books) by Al Rendón


Mi Cultura captures a wide array of commercial and art photography ranging from charreadas, La Virgen de Guadalupe, and rock and roll and conjunto to immigrant food culture, the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, and the impacts of COVID-19 on already challenged communities. Included is an extensive selection of retratos, or portraits, work Al Rendón is best known for--most notably his photographs of Selena (several of her are in the National Portrait Gallery). Taken as a whole, the collection reflects a timely cross section of historical and contemporary life in south-central Texas by one of the country's most important photographers.


Woman Without Shame: Poems (Vintage) by Sandra Cisneros 


It has been twenty-eight years since Sandra Cisneros published a book of poetry. With dozens of never-before-seen poems, Woman Without Shame is a moving collection of songs, elegies, and declarations that chronicle her pilgrimage toward rebirth and the recognition of her prerogative as a woman artist. These bluntly honest and often humorous meditations on memory, desire, and the essential nature of love blaze a path toward self-awareness. For Cisneros, Woman Without Shame is the culmination of her search for home—in the Mexico of her ancestors and in her own heart.


The Great Texas Dragon Race (Clarion Books) by Kacy Ritter


Thirteen-year-old Cassidy Drake wants nothing more than to race with her best dragon, Ranga, in the annual Great Texas Dragon Race. Her mother was a racing legacy, and growing up on her family's dragon sanctuary ranch, Cassidy lives and breathes dragons. She knows she could win against the exploitative FireCorp team that cares more about corporate greed than caring for the dragons. 

Cassidy is so determined to race that she sneaks out of her house against her father's wishes and enters the competition. Soon Cassidy takes to the skies with Ranga across her glorious Lone Star State.

But with five grueling tasks ahead of her, dangerous dragon challenges waiting at each one, and more enemies than allies on the course, Cassidy will need to know more than just dragons to survive. 


Looking for the Cherries (Material Media) by Kay Karcher Mijangos, illustrated by Laura Mijangos


This lovely book holds a message for all ages! Looking for the Cherries asks, "What do you love?" Bobbis, Frankie's grandfather, shows her the answer with the story of his life. This sweet and luminous story is based on the amazing life of the renowned Latino artist Alberto Mijangos. The message is one of hope and the power of gratitude.




Daughters of Latin America / Hijas de América Latina (Harper Collins Espanol) by Sandra Guzman


An eclectic and inclusive time capsule spanning centuries, genres, and geographical and linguistic diversity, Daughters of Latin America is divided into 13 parts representing the 13 Mayan Moons, each cycle honoring a different theme. Within its pages are poems from U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón and celebrated Cervantes Prize–winner Dulce María Loynaz; lyric essays from New York Times bestselling author Naima Coster, Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, and Guggenheim Fellow Maryse Condé; rousing speeches from U.S. Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and Lencan Indigenous land and water protector Berta Caceres; and a transcendent Mazatec chant from shaman and poet María Sabina testifying to the power of language as a cure, which opens the book.



Mr. Texas: A Novel (Knopf) by Lawrence Wright


Sonny Lamb is an affable, if floundering, rancher with the unfortunate habit of becoming a punchline in his Texas hometown. Most recently, to everyone’s headshaking amusement, he bought his own bull at an auction. But when a fire breaks out at a neighbor’s farm, Sonny makes headlines in another way: not waiting for help, he bolts to the farm where his heroic actions make the evening news.


Almost immediately, and seemingly out of nowhere, a handsomely dressed lobbyist from Austin arrives at his ranch door and asks if he’d like to run for his West Texas district’s seat in the state legislature. Though Sonny has zero experience and doesn’t consider himself political at all, the fate of his ranch—and perhaps his marriage to the lovely “cowgirl” Lola—hangs in the balance. With seemingly no other choice, Sonny decides to throw his hat in the ring .


As he navigates life in politics—from running a campaign to negotiating in the capitol—Sonny must learn the ropes, weighing his own ethics and environmental concerns against the pressures of veteran politicians, savvy lobbyists, and his own party. In tracing Sonny’s attempt to balance his marriage and morality with an increasingly volatile professional life, Lawrence Wright has crafted an irresistibly funny and clever roller-coaster ride about one man’s pursuit of goodness in the Lonestar State.



Warrior Girl (Nancy Paulsen Books) by Carmen Tafolla


Celina and her family are bilingual and follow both Mexican and American traditions. Celina revels in her Mexican heritage, but once she starts school it feels like the world wants her to erase that part of her identity. Fortunately, she’s got an army of family and three fabulous new friends behind her to fight the ignorance. But it’s her Gramma who’s her biggest inspiration, encouraging Celina to build a shield of joy around herself. Because when you’re celebrating, when you find a reason to sing or dance or paint or play or laugh or write, they haven’t taken everything away from you. Of course, it’s not possible to stay in celebration mode when things get dire--like when her dad’s deported and a pandemic hits--but if there is anything Celina’s sure of, it’s that she’ll always live up to her last name: Guerrera--woman warrior--and that she will use her voice and writing talents to make the world a more beautiful place where all cultures are celebrated.



Remembering (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) by Xelena González, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia


A child and their family observe the customs of Día de los Angelitos, one of the ritual celebrations of Día de Muertos, to celebrate the life of their beloved dog who passed away. They build a thoughtful ofrenda to help lead the pet’s soul home and help the little one process their grief in this moving reminder that loved ones are never really gone if we take the time to remember them.




Stories from the Sheriff's Daughter (Texas Christian University Press) by Lareida Buckley


Stories From the Sheriff’s Daughter is a beautifully written short novel that follows the life of a nine-year-old girl who moves to a small-town Texas county jail when her dairy farmer father is elected sheriff. In these engaging episodes, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, days in small-town Texas in the 1950s and 60s spring to life. The family’s house is only separated from the jail by a carport, so the sheriff’s daughter grows up in the jail’s environment of lawmen, prisoners, and politics. She bumps up against some of life’s worst tragedies, including murder, rape, and suicide, despite her parents’ attempts to protect her innocence. In this very different coming-of-age story, the sheriff’s daughter moves into adulthood, trying to find her own identity, her life forever affected by growing up next door to a county jail. Though the stories in the novel are fiction, the author actually did grow up at the Burleson County jail in Texas, where her father, and eventually her mother, served as sheriffs of the county.


Listening to Laredo: A Border City in a Globalized Age (University of Arizona Press) by Mehnaaz Momen


Nestled between Texas and Mexico, the city of Laredo was a quaint border town, nurturing cultural ties across the river, attracting occasional tourists, and populated with people living there for generations. Mehnaaz Momen traces Laredo's history and evolution through the voices of its people. She examines the changing economic and cultural infrastructure of the city, its interdependence with its sister city across the national boundary, and, above all, the resilience of the community as it adapts to and even challenges the national narrative on the border.


Otherwise, It Would Be Just Another River: Ten Years of Borderland Collective's Practice in Collaboration and Dialogue (Spector Books) by Jason Reed, Molly Sherman, Adetty Pérez de Miles


Cofounded by artist Jason Reed and educator Ryan Sprott in 2007, Borderland Collective is a long-term participatory art and education project based in Texas. The project utilizes collaborations between artists, educators, youth and community members to engage complex social issues and build space for diverse perspectives, meaningful dialogue and varying modes of creation and reflection.

Otherwise, It Would Be Just Another River: Ten Years of Borderland Collective's Practice in Collaboration and Dialogue focuses on the participatory education and socially engaged art practices of Borderland Collective over the last 10 years. The book shares stories and collective knowledge about the US-Mexico border created by students, teachers, artists and community members in an array of Borderland Collective projects through poems, prose, photographs and drawings.




100 Years of Building San Antonio: The People Who Built the Seventh Largest City in the USA, 1923-2023 (ELM Grove Publishing) by Doug McMurry, Michele McMurry, and Ron Nirenberg

These are the stories behind the unique and iconic buildings that have shaped San Antonio-and the people who created them-helping it to become America's seventh-largest city. From the tallest skyscraper in Texas to the largest wildlife land bridge in the United States, construction over the past 100 years has established the Alamo City as a leader in architectural innovation and building technology. Authors Doug and Michele McMurry provide an insightful and entertaining narrative, drawing from archived material and long-forgotten historic documents, as well as the personal recollections of the men and women whose families pioneered the growth of Texas' most unique city.


Evil Corp: Allstate Insurance, Shadow Networks, and the Corruption of a Major American City (Auris Books Press) by Denise McVea

In 2009, two cars collided at a busy San Antonio intersection. Both vehicles were insured by Allstate. It should have been a routine insurance claim. Instead, it led the author on a frightful 12-year odyssey that ultimately exposed how emboldened criminal networks use essential institutions to prey on American citizens. EVIL CORP shows how greed, arrogance, and self-interest rendered local authorities incapable of protecting citizens from organized crime in America's seventh-largest city. And it is the story of how one of the country's largest insurers devised a bizarre plot to exploit those failures in its insatiable quest for more profits and power. In this harrowing, first-person account, award-winning investigative journalist Denise McVea gives the reader a street-side view of the corruption and self-dealing that is threatening an increasingly vulnerable nation. EVIL CORP is the blistering tale of how the "worst insurance company in America" took center stage in a sprawling criminal conspiracy.



Lone Stars Rising: The Fifty People Who Turned Texas Into the Fastest-Growing, Most Exciting, and, Sometimes, Most Exasperating State in the Country (Harper Wave) by Editors of Texas Monthly

"Published to coincide with its 50th anniversary, the editors of Texas Monthly have assembled original essays and portraits of the Lone Star State's most innovative, culture-altering politicians, entertainers, athletes and activists of the last five decades."

With a population of twenty-nine million, Texas has birthed some of America’s most innovative, culture-altering politicians, entertainers, athletes, and activists of the last five decades. In Lone Stars Rising, the editors of Texas Monthly select fifty of the most trailblazing Texans who have shaped the Lone Star State and America today.


Organized by decade and featuring essays from the magazine’s legendary roster of contributors, accompanied by drawings and fifty photographs throughout, this collection includes incisive commentary on the stars whose rise from Texas to the world stage has been meteoric, as well as the lesser-known individuals who have been toiling on the sidelines, quietly and intentionally shaping the way we think and talk about the Texas that exists today.


To Find a Killer: The Homophobic Murders of Norma and Maria Hurtado and the LGBT Rights Movement (Gaudium Publishing) by Doug Greco


Beginning with a gripping, firsthand account of the 2011 anti-gay murder of twenty-four year-old Norma Hurtado, a student the author taught in an Austin high school ten years earlier, this series of interwoven essays employs a mix of narrative nonfiction and political analysis to uncover the intersectional nature of the disparities impacting the LGBTQ community.


Drawing from his fifteen-years’ experience as a grassroots organizer in Texas and California, Greco argues for the types of political organizations and public policies necessary to address these challenges. To Find a Killer charts a robust but pragmatic course for the LGBTQ movement today: investing in grassroots leadership development, rooting organizations in local civic and religious institutions, and focusing not just on legal equality, but a wider set of socio-economic issues.


Author proceeds from the book will benefit Texas-based LGBTQ organizations.


Worth Repeating: San Antonio Stories (Maverick Books) edited by Paul Flahive, Tori Pool, and Burgin Streetman


People in San Antonio love to tell stories. Worth Repeating: San Antonio Stories is a collection of forty true tales, epic adventures, and intimate revelations from the heart of one of America's fastest growing and most culturally diverse cities.


There is the hilarious chronicle of being crowned Turkey Queen of Cuero, as well as stories of finding one's place as an immigrant or refugee, the heartbreak of being on the AIDS epidemic's front lines, and the redemption in writing My Little Pony fan fiction. From the birth of a Freedom Rider to the origins of a literary legend, from the search for a murdered mother's memories to passing our abilities and disabilities along to our children, the pieces here are as varied and nuanced as the city its authors have called home at one time or another.


They might not all take place in Texas, but every story has roots in its streets, suburbs, and history. From last chances to first tries, all of these personal narratives were originally performed in front of an audience at Worth Repeating, Texas Public Radio's live storytelling series.


JULY 2023

El Curso de la Raza: The Education of Aurelio Manuel Montemayor (Texas A&M University Press) by Thomas Ray Garcia and Aurelio Montemayor


El Curso de la Raza: The Education of Aurelio Manuel Montemayor tells the story of Chicano activist and self-described fronterizo Aurelio Manuel Montemayor, whose dual identities as an educator and political organizer informed his hitherto little-known role in developing a course, or curso, that cultivated Chicano leadership from the barrios. This memoir follows Montemayor during the formative periods of his life—his education, his teaching career, his political awakening—to describe the development of his critical consciousness in 1960s America. The book combines the personal and the political, leading readers along a journey of self-discovery that results in Montemayor’s most consequential, yet relatively unknown, contribution to el movimiento, the Curso de la Raza.


Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse (History Press) by Jayme Lynn Blaschke


Thanks to the classic Dolly Parton film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and ZZ Top's ode "La Grange," many people think they know the story of the infamous Chicken Ranch. The reality is more complex, lying somewhere between heartbreaking and absurd. For more than a century, dirt farmers and big-cigar politicians alike rubbed shoulders at the Chicken Ranch, operated openly under the sheriff's watchful eye. Madam Edna Milton and her girls ran a tight, discreet ship that the God-fearing people of La Grange tolerated if not outright embraced. That is, until a secret conspiracy enlisted an opportunistic reporter to bring it all crashing down on primetime television. Drawn from exclusive interviews and expanded with newly uncovered information, Jayme Lynn Blaschke's revelatory exposition of the Ranch illuminates the truth and lies surrounding this iconic brothel.


My Grief Is Not Like Yours: Learning to Live After Unimaginable Loss, a Daughter's Story (Forefront Books) by Theo Boyd


In My Grief Is Not Like Yours, Theo gives an unforgettable account of how quickly life can turn to grief. Beautifully woven, this book is threaded with memories and raw emotions that are seldom discussed. Theo shows readers how she endured the unimaginable. She walks beside anyone navigating through their grief, helping them feel less alone and guiding them to hope and healing.


Tamers of the Texas Frontier (History Press) by C. Herndon Williams


In the 1820s, Texas was a wilderness. Settlers thought it was uninhabited although rich with wild game. But many Native American tribes lived in Texas and were at war with the Spanish in Mexico. Mexico ignored Texas and did not try to inhabit this wilderness. Finally, in the late 1820s and early 1830s Stephen F. Austin was allowed to bring in three hundred Anglo settlers and Texas began to be civilized. But to start there was only one town, no roads, no bridges, no planted fields. Texas was starting from ground zero but started fast. They tamed the wilderness and fought the Indians. They got their independence from Mexico and became a Republic, soon a U S state. They established a stable government similar to the one in the US and developed the infrastructure for business and international commerce. In less than eighty years Texas had tamed the wild frontier and became a modern state in the United States. C. Herndon Williams has found forty-two stories that chart this progress.


JUNE 2023

All the Pretty Horses (Vintage) by Cormac McCarthy


All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.



The Crossing (Vintage) by Cormac McCarthy


In the late 1930s, sixteen-year-old Billy Parham captures a she-wolf that has been marauding his family's ranch.  But instead of killing it, he decides to take it back to the mountains of Mexico.  With that crossing, he begins an arduous and often dreamlike journey into a country where men meet ghosts and violence strikes as suddenly as heat-lightning—a world where there is no order "save that which death has put there."

An essential novel by any measure, The Crossing is luminous and appalling, a book that touches, stops, and starts the heart and mind at once.


Cities of the Plain (Vintage) by Cormac McCarthy


The setting is New Mexico in 1952, where John Grady Cole and Billy Parham are working as ranch hands. To the North lie the proving grounds of Alamogordo; to the South, the twin cities of El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. Their life is made up of trail drives and horse auctions and stories told by campfire light. It is a life that is about to change forever, and John Grady and Billy both know it. 

The catalyst for that change appears in the form of a beautiful, ill-starred Mexican prostitute.  When John Grady falls in love, Billy agrees—against his better judgment—to help him rescue the girl from her suavely brutal pimp. The ensuing events resonate with the violence and inevitability of classic tragedy. Hauntingly beautiful, filled with sorrow, humor and awe, Cities of the Plain is a genuine American epic. 


No Country for Old Men (Vintage) by Cormac McCarthy


The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones. One day, a good old boy named Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law—in the person of aging, disillusioned Sheriff Bell—can contain.

As Moss tries to evade his pursuers—in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives—McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines.




MAY 2023

Ghostly Bugles: A Novel of the Alamo (Wild Lark Books) by Max L. Knight


Ghostly Bugles is a fictional re-creation of the Alamo story, rich in historical detail with a unique paranormal element. The narrative combines elements of the traditional storyline with contemporary efforts to "Re-imagine the Alamo." The dual timelines balance our understanding of this world-renowned event and provide new perspective and appreciation for the courage and sacrifice of everyone involved - Texian and Tejano defenders and Mexican soldiers. 




Armadillo Antics (Brown Books Kids) by Bill Martin & Michael Sampson, illustrated by Nathalie Beauvois


Children will love the rhythm and rhyme that are hallmarks of the beloved author duo of Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 as they follow the adventurous armadillo through nighttime fun as dawn approaches.




Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers: How a First Lady Changed America (Harper Collins) by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Joy Fisher Hein


This beautiful picture book tells the heartwarming story of how Lady Bird Johnson shared her love of wildflowers with the nation when her husband, Lyndon Johnson, became president. As First Lady, she ensured every part of America was sown with wildflowers. Full color. 




Courageous People from Texas Who Changed the World(People Who Changed the World) (Familius) by Heidi Poelman, illustrated by Kyle Kershner


"Simple text and adorable illustrations tell the contributions of more than a dozen courageous Texans: Stephen Austin, Sam Houston, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, the Bush Family, Sandra Day O'Connor, Ann Richards, Buddy Holly, Barbara Jordan, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, Vickie Gutierrez, and J. J. Watt. A quote from each hero is included on each spread along with colorful, delightful artwork."-- 




APRIL 2023


Before Lawrence V. Texas: The Making of a Queer Social Movement (University of Texas Press) by Wesley G. Phelps

In 2003 the US Supreme Court overturned anti-sodomy laws across the country, ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution protects private consensual sex between adults. To some, the decision seemed to come like lightning from above, altering the landscape of America’s sexual politics all at once. In actuality, many years of work and organizing led up to the legal case, and the landmark ruling might never have happened were it not for the passionate struggle of Texans who rejected their state’s discriminatory laws.

Before Lawrence v. Texas tells the story of the long, troubled, and ultimately hopeful road to constitutional change. Wesley G. Phelps describes the achievements, setbacks, and unlikely alliances along the way. Over the course of decades, and at great risk to themselves, gay and lesbian Texans and their supporters launched political campaigns and legal challenges, laying the groundwork for Lawrence. Phelps shares the personal experiences of the people and couples who contributed to the legal strategy that ultimately overturned the state’s discriminatory law. Even when their individual court cases were unsuccessful, justice seekers and activists collectively influenced public opinion by insisting that their voices be heard. Nine Supreme Court justices ruled, but it was grassroots politics that vindicated the ideal of equality under the law.


Lost Texas Treasure: Sunken Ships, Rawhide Maps and Buried Plunder (History PR) by W. Craig Gaines

Countless fortunes have disappeared into the vast expanse of the Lone Star State. The history of the coast is cluttered with shipwrecks like that of the 1554 Spanish fleet. Even when pirates such as Jean Laffite managed to get their ill-gotten gains ashore, their loot vanished just as completely as if it had sunk beneath the waves. Entire mines, including the ventures of Jim Bowie and San Saba Presidio, have been reclaimed by the earth. The unmarked caches of bandits like Jesse James and Pancho Villa still bedevil the dreams of treasure seekers today. W. Craig Gaines reveals what has been lost, what has been found and what remains to be recovered.


The Rio Grande Sniper Killings: Caught in the Sights of a Drug Conspiracy (History Press) by John Primomo

On the night of July 13, 1980, a hitman fired a high-powered rifle into the crowd at Pepe's On the River, an outdoor bar in Mission, Texas. He missed his target, a witness in the Loop 360 drug case, but killed two young bystanders. While state court prosecutions for capital murder inexplicably faltered, a federal court gave the assassin a life sentence for attempted murder of a grand jury witness. A member of the judge's staff who was present throughout the trial, author John W. Primomo revisits the dramatic twists and turns surrounding this murder on the Rio Grande.


Texas State Parks: The First One Hundred Years, 1923-2023 (Texas Christian University Press) by George Bristol

Texas State Parks: The First 100 Years, 1923–2023 examines the history of one of Texas’s most treasured assets: our state parks. From the legislative establishment of the original Texas State Parks Board to the present, the development of our state and national parks over the last one hundred years has depended upon an evolving concept of public lands for public use and enjoyment.

One of America’s best ideas has been a parks system for all—first at the national level, then among the states. In Texas, leaders have emerged at every stage of this hundred-year history to lend their names and reputations to the cause of conservation and preservation, which has met growing acceptance among the public at large. This book explores the contributions of these giants at all levels. Together, they gave meaning to Teddy Roosevelt’s call to arms for the preservation of public lands as one of the country’s foundations of an “essential democracy.”

After successful careers in politics, then business, George Bristol turned to a complementary endeavor that would utilize his skills and reflect a lifelong love of nature and parks: advocacy for parks and people. In 1994, he received a presidential appointment to the National Parks Foundation, launching his new journey. He established the Texas Coalition for Conservation in 2001 and began an eighteen-year effort that culminated in the people of Texas overwhelmingly voting to direct all revenue generated from the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to state parks and historic sites—as originally intended.



MARCH 2023


Buttons, Bolt Cutters & Barricades (Gerald Palmer) by Jerry Palmer


Buttons, Bolt Cutters and Barricades, Texas Anti-Nuke Actions, is a first-hand account of the historical actions taken in trying to stop or at least slow the construction of nuclear power plants in the United States and the Comanche Peak plant in particular. The strategical use of nonviolent direct action including civil disobedience by the Comanche Peak Life Force activists should be an inspiration to others in the fight for clean air, clean water, and safe renewable energy. 


American history is not the story of a few great men, but of grassroots people rising up to confront abusive power elites. Jerry Palmer's first-hand account of the people's resistance to nuclear power at the Comanche Peak nuke is a riveting example of that history. The courage and daring of these volunteers should be an inspiration to others in the struggle for clean air, water, and safe renewable energy - a story that will make you think and want to take some direct action of your own. 



Claiming Sunday: The Story of a Texas Slave Community (Texas Christian University Press) by Joleene Maddox Snider


An inspiring story of human souls who survived the dehumanizing system of slavery in the Old South, Claiming Sunday also provides important keys to comprehending modern racial relations in a more enlightening and historically accurate manner.  


The story is told through a richly detailed narrative revealing the lives of the enslaved on the Devereux Plantation and through interviews with their modern-day descendants. Julien Devereux and his elderly father, John, came to Texas in 1841 from Alabama. Julien first settled in Montgomery County and then moved to Rusk County in 1846. When he died in 1856 he owned 10,500 acres of East Texas cotton land and seventy-five enslaved Black Americans. Julien’s widow, Sarah Landrum Devereux, maintained the plantation through the Civil War. 



The Lone Star Speaks: Untold Texas Stories about the JFK Assassination (Bancroft Press) by Sara Peterson, K.W. Zachry


The Lone Star Speaks provides new insights into the assassination of John F. Kennedy and uses actual witness testimony to raise new questions concerning what many have called the crime of the twentieth century.


Both authors became interested in President Kennedy's assassination at a young age. Zachry's grandparents lived in Dallas in 1963, and saved newspapers from that era. Her grandfather was connected to the Dallas oil industry. Peterson became interested in the assassination in 1978 when she participated in the Presidential Classroom for Young Americans program in Washington, D. C. The two have collected books and artifacts concerning the assassination for years.



Protected: San Antonio Series Book 1 (Elk Lake Publishing Inc.) by Paula Peckham


Disaster strikes a wagon train en route to Texas, leaving 18-year-old Abby in charge of the survivors, all children younger than her. After an attempted kidnapping, the others convince her to disguise herself as a boy. Initially reluctant, Abby soon realizes life on the trail is much easier without bulky skirts. The disguise allows her to do things as "Abner" she couldn't do as Abby. It's intoxicating. 


Disfigured by fire as a child, Manny, a young cowboy, is lonely and yearns for companionship. His scars and the judgment of townspeople make it difficult for him to trust others. He intercepts the wagon train and agrees to help the children finish the trip to San Antonio. A new friendship cracks the protective walls built around his heart. Hope blooms when he meets "Abner," and Manny's fear of rejection slowly dissolves. 


As the weeks on the trail go by, Abby develops romantic feelings for Manny, and he values his first new friendship in years. When Manny discovers her deception, it destroys the fragile bond of friendship growing between them. 


Can God help the two young lovers find trust, faith, and forgiveness on the hot Texas plain?



Sheriff of Starr County (Plum Creek Press) by David A. Bowles


When Texas becomes a newly-minted state, good men and women work hard toward progress and peace. Texas Ranger Will Smith travels to the borderlands of the Nueces Strip to become the first Sheriff of Starr County. He'll do what he must to bring justice to the frontier, including wrangling outlaws, navigating political intrigues, fighting Indians, and keeping the tenuous peace between the Tejano and Anglo residents. He encounters influential statesmen and entrepreneurs of early Texas, assists the US Army, and falls for two very different women.






At the Table with LBJ and Lady Bird: History, Humor, and True Texas Recipes (Texas Christian University Press) by Jean E. Schuler


Welcome to the table! This is a love story about an ambassador and two Texans. Not any ol' ambassador or any ol' Texans. He was Lyndon Baines Johnson, and she was Claudia Alta Taylor, better known as Lady Bird Johnson. The ambassador is food. Food connects us. Food is culture and memory. We all have favorite recipes that we share with people we love. Lady Bird collected recipes her family loved, a lot of them exclusive to Texas cookin'. Two copies of each of her favorite recipes were always made: one for the Texas ranch she and LBJ both so dearly loved, the other reserved for the cookbook in progress that sat on her desk at the White House. 


At the Table with LBJ and Lady Bird  shares menus, events, weddings, and outrageously funny anecdotes from the lives of LBJ and Lady Bird. Included are LBJ's favorite recipes for Texas beef barbecue, smoked ranch beans, sourdough biscuits, Lady Bird's famous pecan pralines, lemon cake, and more. Homestyle illustrations illuminate the distaff side of the thirty-sixth presidential administration, with recipes galore, history, and humor throughout. 



Explore! San Antonio: Your Culture Guide to Educational and Service-Oriented Travel (Independently Published) by Michael and Amanda Camarillo


What is  Explore! San Antonio


Explore! San Antonio gives you the opportunity to experience over 300 years of history from a different perspective. The transformative qualities of travel emerge from the people we are exposed to rather than the destinations we seek. You will be immersed in San Antonio's rich heritage and vivid culture as we take a journey from yesterday to tomorrow. Explore! San Antonio is the perfect guide to accompany your next trip to "The Alamo City" as we learn from and give back to the local community. 


Travel to Learn 


Explore! San Antonio introduces you to a new approach to traveling. Instead of searching for your next preoccupation, we urge you to travel with purpose. Since knowledge is the path to enlightenment and harmony, traveling to learn is truly the best way to experience a new place. 


Enjoy the riveting story of San Antonio's birth, growth, and potential with a narrative flare. Feel the plight of the Payaya Native American tribe as their land was settled by European powers. Experience the awe of the first Spanish settlers to find the headwaters of the San Antonio River. Revel in the boom of industry and cuisine that followed multicultural immigration. Ponder on ways to improve the city for generations to come. 


Travel to Serve 


Explore! San Antonio is unique in that it provides a roadmap for you to give back to the local community. We believe volunteer service and responsible tourism is vital to the sustainability of the sights, places, and cultures around the world. 


By incorporating volunteer service into your next trip, you add a level of purpose to your vacation that will be enriching, fulfilling, and memorable. Plus, the support and care you share with the local community is invaluable and priceless.  



Night Wherever We Go (Ecco) by Tracey Rose Peyton


A gripping, radically intimate debut novel about a group of enslaved women staging a covert rebellion against their owners 


On a struggling Texas plantation, six enslaved women slip from their sleeping quarters and gather in the woods under the cover of night. The Lucys--as they call the plantation owners, after Lucifer himself--have decided to turn around the farm's bleak financial prospects by making the women bear children. They have hired a "stockman" to impregnate them. But the women are determined to protect themselves. 


Now each of the six faces a choice. Nan, the doctoring woman, has brought a sack of cotton root clippings that can stave off children when chewed daily. If they all take part, the Lucys may give up and send the stockman away. But a pregnancy for any of them will only encourage the Lucys further. And should their plan be discovered, the consequences will be severe. 


Visceral and arresting,  Night Wherever We Go  illuminates each woman's individual trials and desires while painting a subversive portrait of collective defiance. Unflinching in her portrayal of America's gravest injustices, while also deeply attentive to the transcendence, love, and solidarity of women whose interior lives have been underexplored, Tracey Rose Peyton creates a story of unforgettable power. 



Song for a Whale (Delacorte Press) by Lynne Kelly


Twelve-year-old Iris and her grandmother, both deaf, drive from Texas to Alaska armed with Iris's plan to help Blue-55, a whale unable to communicate with other whales. 











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.