Lone Star ReviewsMichelle Newby, NBCC,

Contributing Editor


Ethredge, Elizabeth

Cooking with the Texas Poets Laureate

Texas Review Press

978-1680030204 Paperback, 158 pages; spiral bound, $22.95, 2015

Reviewed by Rashda Khan

Cooking with the Texas Poets Laureate is a gem. The slim volume contains a bounty of riches in terms of words, wisdom, and recipes. The book features eleven Texas poets laureate — luminaries like Jan Seale, Walt McDonald, Red Steagall, Karla K. Morton, and more — who share their poetry, essays, and family recipes. It is a feast of offerings that you want to take time and savor.

Harelik, Tiffany; foreword by Grady Spears

The Big Bend Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of West Texas

American Palate (History Press)

978-1626197220 Paperback, 288 pages; $24.99, 2014

The Big Bend Cookbook is a lush love letter to the remote and wildly beautiful region in southwest Texas. Author Tiffany Harelik has put together a gorgeous collection of photographs, facts, personalities, and recipes.

Photographs showcase natural vistas, flora, and fauna; others highlight regional murals and signs. Harelik has included both historical and contemporary photographs of people and places, adding more depth and interest for the reader. >> READ MORE

Texas ReadsGlenn Dromgoole

>> archiveWriter gets creative in Texas alphabet book

Writer Maria Kernahan and artist Michael Schafbuch have teamed up to produce a new, very colorful alphabet book, T is for Texas (Dry Climate Studios, $19.95 hardcover). The book explores some different topics than most Texas alphabet books.

For example, B is for Brands, with eighteen brands shown. D is for dancing, which is illustrated by several pair of colorful boots. E is for Enchanted Rock, K for king-sized, illustrated by thirteen other states that fit inside the shape of Texas. The author got pretty creative when it came to X and Z — with X being for roadrunner tracks in the shape of an X, and Z for the zig-zag of the Rio Grande through Big Bend.

Children should be attracted to the large, bright illustrations and the rhyming, easy-to-read  text.

World War II novel: Swift by College Station author Robert A. Shearer is a short, fast-paced historical novel set in Texas in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, $15 paperback).

“The attack on Pearl Harbor changed the lives of millions of Americans,” Shearer writes. He was three, living with his parents in Dallas, when the war broke out. Soon they were in a small town, where Shearer’s mother said they couldn’t leave their apartment for three weeks. “This is a historical account of how murder, mayhem, morbid racism, mental illness, and mobilization for war changed our lives. Some of the details are fictional, and all of the names of original characters have been changed, so the story is historical fiction, a murder mystery, a chronicle of a case of military justice, and a case study in mental disturbance,” Shearer says. Read more at www.tamupress.com.

Series completed: Abilene novelist Lynn Vadney completes her five-book “The Compound Series” of post-apocalyptic adventure novels with the publication of The Stone Is Turned (Desert Willow Publishing).

The series began with two novels, Sinking Sand and Not the Least Bit Sorry, set two and a half years after massive terrorists’ attacks virtually destroy society.

“The series has been about our nation in crisis,” writes Vadney. “May our leaders, in whatever capacity, remain fearless and dedicated.” The Stone Is Turned covers the period from May to December, three years after the attacks, Vadney notes, and “law and order is gaining a toehold in one small Texas town.”

For more on the series, go to desertwillowpublishingonline.com.

* * * * *

Glenn Dromgoole is co-author of 101 Essential Texas Books. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

>> Check out his previous Texas Reads columns in Lone Star Lit

Are you ready for some football (books)?

Lone Star Literary Life’s Best Texas Football Books special section kicks off Sunday, Aug. 9

Two-a-days, the Twelfth Man, and the Cotton Bowl are just some of the iconic touchstones of Texas culture and by extension Lone Star literature.

On Sun., Aug. 9, we pay tribute to the best Texas football books by interviewing H. G. “Buzz” Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, as his publisher releases the 25th anniversary edition of the book. (See his fall event schedule in Texas, below.)

We’d like to bring you in on some coverage as well. (Zone, no blitz). We’re doing an informal poll of the best Texas football books through the years. Titles like Semi-Tough, The Junction Boys, The Hundred Yard War, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk come to mind. What are yours?

Email your suggestion to us at info@lonestarliterary.com, and we’ll publish the poll results in our Aug. 9 issue. And you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing to win a free copy of Friday Night Lights 25th Anniversary Edition.