Texas Books, Y’all
I’ve lived in Texas for my whole life, and I love the landscape, the diversity, the food, and the art. I also appreciate our literary legacy. I am very proud of our amazing annual Texas Book Festival, which brings authors from around the world, and we have some fantastic local book stores. Book People, Book Woman, Brazos Books, and Murder by the Book spring to mind. There are also some fantastic books set in Texas that are top reads. Some are by our own Texas authors and some are not, but they are all Texas books just the same.
- Lonesome Dove. Obviously. Larry McMurtry’s masterpiece is enthralling. Gus and Call are two of the best characters out there. It’s a long book, and I can only say I’m thankful for that because it is so good. Larry McMurtry owns a bookstore in his home town of Archer City, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere. Appropriate. Bonus factoid: His son James McMurtry is a country singer who lives here in Austin.
- Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain is an intelligent, incredulous, satirical look at soldiers returning from war to a hero’s welcome, with stadium appearances and cheerleaders. It feels very realistic, like you are in the heads of the men who have come home from war only to have to deal with jerkwad behavior in the U.S. If you loved Catch 22 or The Things They Carried, this book will appeal to you.
- Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. These are set in remote parts of Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. I love McCarthy but sometimes I hate having my heart ripped out, so read at your own risk. There is a Cormac McCarthy Society with its own journal if you are a serious scholar. I find this sort of amazing, but then again I’ve been interested in attending squirrel biology conferences.
- The Midnight Assassin examines the first serial killer, who murdered women in Austin in the 19th century. This true crime book is a history of Austin as much as a gruesome and chilling mystery. There is speculation that the murderer, who was never caught, continued his spree in London and was known as Jack the Ripper. Skip Hollandsworth is a Texas Monthly writer who is known for his long-form journalism.
- Rick Riordan’s Tres Navarre books are based in Texas– starting with Big Red Tequila. It’s like Carl Hiaasen and Larry McMurtry got together and wrote some crazy Texas detective novels, which yes does appeal to me. A lot of goodreads readers complain about liberal use of the F word, but I am assuming that they are Percy Jackson fans taken by surprise.
Some more Texas authors and books that might be of interest:
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