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.

 

FEBRUARY 2024

Power: How the Electric Co-Op Movement Energized the Lone Star State (Texas A&M University Press) by Joe Holley

 

According to author Joe Holley, the story of the Texas Electric Cooperatives, a collective of some 76 member-owned electric providers throughout the state, is a story of neighborliness and community, grit and determination, and persuasion and political savvy. It’s the story of a grassroots movement that not only energized rural Texas but also showed residents the power they have when they band together to find strength in unity.

 

Latin American Artists: From 1785 to Now (Phaidon Press) by Phaidon Editors, introduction by Raphael Fonseca

 

Latin American artists have gained increasing international prominence as the art world awakens to the area’s extraordinary art scenes and histories. In an accessible A-Z format, this volume introduces key artworks by 308 artists who together demonstrate the variety and vitality of artwork being made. Focusing on those born, or who have lived, in the 20 Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of Latin America, and featuring historic and living artists – both those celebrated internationally and names less-known outside their native countries – this book has been created in close collaboration with an expert panel of 68 advisors and writers.

 

95 Power Principles: Strategies for Effective Leadership in Local Government (ELM Grove Publishing) by Nelson W. Wolff

 

Nelson Wolff served two terms as Mayor of San Antonio and five terms as County Judge for Bexar County-Chief Executive Officer and its highest authority-as well as the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate. Under his leadership, the San Antonio/Bexar County community became recognized as a leader in environmental restoration, therapeutic justice, the arts, sports and healthcare, among many other accomplishments. 

 

These 95 principles are derived from his 33 years in government as well as 36 years as a business leader. The principles can be applied in any American city or county-and are equally relevant to success in the private sector as they are to achieving political goals.

 

The Bullet Swallower (Simon & Schuster) by Elizabeth Gonzalez James

 

A dazzling magical realism western in the vein of Cormac McCarthy meets Gabriel García Márquez, The Bullet Swallower follows a Mexican bandido as he sets off for Texas to save his family, only to encounter a mysterious figure who has come, finally, to collect a cosmic debt generations in the making.

 

 

JANUARY 2024

Texas Water Safari: The World's Toughest Canoe Race (Pam and Will Harte Books on Rivers, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University) (Texas A&M University Press) by Bob Spain and Joy Emshoff

 

In the summer of 1962, Frank Brown and “Big Willie” George launched a 133-pound motorboat—with no motor—into the San Marcos River and headed for the Texas coast. Over the next three weeks they paddled downriver, wrestling through log jams and fighting off mosquitoes on their 337-mile journey to Corpus Christi. The following year, Brown staged a canoe race that followed the same route, billed as “The Texas Water Safari—The Toughest Boat Race in the World.” Contestants had to carry all their provisions with them from the start and could receive no assistance during the competition. One hundred and twenty-six men and one woman, all Texans, lined up for the grueling race. Some boats sank at the start, others were wrecked on the river, and some people dropped out from exhaustion or injury, while others failed to make the time deadlines and were disqualified. Of the 58 vessels that started the race, only two arrived at the finish line in Corpus Christi.

 

In Texas Water Safari: The World’s Toughest Canoe Race, veteran racers Bob Spain and Joy Emshoff chronicle the winding history of this epic competition, documenting the many changes to the racecourse over the years, the evolution of competition vessels, and the influx of national and international racers. Drawing upon the record books, Water Safari lore, and their own experiences, the authors have compiled a collection of stories, statistics, and photographs that celebrates and preserves the history of this Texas river tradition.

 

Place Names of San Antonio: Plus Bexar and Surrounding Counties (Maverick Books) by David P. Green

 

We deal with dozens of names in the course of our daily lives--of streets, schools, parks, towns, landmarks. Do these names mean anything beyond functioning as labels for the places we live, the routes we drive, or our destinations? 

 

This favorite handbook identifies the origins of nearly a thousand familiar place names in San Antonio and beyond. Naming sleuth David Green reveals the cave in Cave Lane, the "First Lady of Song" behind Rosita's Bridge, and the middle school bearing the name of the first African American to walk in space. 

 

Chapters are categorized by streets, parks, schools, libraries, military bases, and suburbs. Origins of Spanish names are included, as are the origins of a few names less officially designated--H-E-B, the Pearl, the San Antonio Spurs, and more. Who--or what--are the city's landmarks named for? A leader or a noted citizen? A vanished family, a favorite pet, or simply someone who happened to be around when a name was needed? This is a book you'll be referring to again and again for answers.

 

The Tacos of Texas (University of Texas Press) by Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece

 

Rooted in tradición mexicana and infused with Texas food culture, tacos are some of Texans’ all-time favorite foods. In The Tacos of Texas, the taco journalists Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece take us on a muy sabroso taco tour around the state as they discover the traditions, recipes, stories, and personalities behind puffy tacos in San Antonio, trompo tacos in Dallas, breakfast tacos in Austin, carnitas tacos in El Paso, fish tacos in Corpus Christi, barbacoa in the Rio Grande Valley, and much more.

 

Starting with the basics—tortillas, fillings, and salsas—and how to make, order, and eat tacos, the authors highlight ten taco cities/regions of Texas. For each place, they describe what makes the tacos distinctive, name their top five places to eat, and listen to the locals tell their taco stories. They hear from restaurant owners, taqueros, abuelitas, chefs, and patrons—both well-known and everyday folks—who talk about their local taco history and culture while sharing authentic recipes and recommendations for the best taco purveyors.

 

Texas Cocktails: The Second Edition: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the Lone Star State (City Cocktails) (Cider Mill Press) by Nico Martini

 

From big city lounges to dusty roadside dives, delve into the Texas drinks scene with this recipe book and city guide. With over 100 recipes and dozens of profiles of bartenders, drink like a Texan, whether you’re just visiting or entertaining at home. Locals and tourists alike will discover new watering holes that are sure to satisfy tastes as varied as Texas is large.

 

Far more than just a recipe book, Texas Cocktails, 2nd Edition features signature creations by the best mixologists from Houston to El Paso, and everywhere in between. Mix up your own Lone Star libations with this perfect guide to the art of craft cocktails!

 

 

 

CLICK TO READ THE TWIG'S 2023 ROUNDUP SELECTIONS

CLICK TO READ THE TWIG'S OLDER ROUNDUP SELECTIONS

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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