Wednesday, June 24, 2015

101 Essential Texas Books - Glenn Dromgoole and Carlton Stowers

101 ESSENTIAL TEXAS BOOKS is itself an essential book about Texas. Written by Glenn Dromgoole, whose newspaper columns I used to read when he worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and my buddy Carlton Stowers, this volume discusses not just the 101 books of the title but many others as well that cover Texas from one end to the other—and that's quite a stretch. Fiction, literature, biographies, politics, oil and cattle, law and order, sports, food and drink, books for young readers, they're all here, with the added bonus that Dromgoole and Stowers set out to write only about books that are currently in print, so if anything here really catches your interest, you can easily pick up a copy and read it.

On a personal level, the authors covered include a number of friends past and present such as Elmer Kelton, Bill Crider, Joe Lansdale, Neal Barrett Jr., James Donovan, Sandra Brown, and Jeff Guinn. The foreword is by James Ward Lee.

The brief discussions of the books cited (a page or two each) really whetted my appetite to read some of the ones I'd never heard of, as well as books that I've known about for years but never gotten around to reading. I'd really like to start reading more non-fiction, and there's plenty in here to delve into. My only quibble, and it's a slight one, is that the authors didn't include any of their own excellent books, but I suppose I can understand that. If you have any interest at all in Texas literature, 101 ESSENTIAL TEXAS BOOKS is a great introduction to the subject, while at the same time being a very entertaining volume in its own right. Highly recommended.

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