The Lone Star Lit Roundup: 3 Books on Texas

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June 17, 2014 by carlywont

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Out of all the states in our great nation (Go USA!), the one I never, ever thought I’d live in was Texas. It just didn’t seem like the place for a liberal, hippy, perpetually sweaty, Yankee poet girl to be. But, here I am, starting out my fourth summer in the Lone Star State and on the verge of giving birth to a new little Texas cowboy (seriously, that’s what the paperwork for the baby’s birth certificate says).

And guess what? I actually really love Texas, despite its many faults. In lots of ways, I’m grateful to my husband for forcing me to move here from the Northeast (a relocation that was to my immense displeasure at the time). Texas is rich in so many things: history, pride, amazing food, bad traffic, desolate landscapes, and an incredibly varied and troubled cultural legacy.

Texas is rich in something else, too. Something I never really realized until I lived here. It’s rich in literary work! There are so many great books about Texas and there are so many great Texas authors.

In fact, choosing only three books about Texas was incredibly difficult. Heartwrenchingly, I decided to surpass some classics like Larry McMurty’sLonesome Dove and Texas by James A. Michener. I also didn’t put any books primarily set in Austin on the list, such as Waterloo by Karen Olsson. Perhaps we’ll see a Round Two in the future.

Here are the three books I did select for my Lone Star Lit roundup:

The Son by Philipp Meyer

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This book was nominated for a 2014 Pulitzer and is all over the place at the local bookstores here in Austin. After learning a little about Philipp Meyer, I developed a major soft spot for the guy. He went to Cornell and was a Michener Fellow at UT Austin. I feel like we could gush about Collegetown Bagels and Torchy’s in the same conversation, which would basically make me happier than most things in the world.

That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx

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This book was actually recommended to me by my mother-in-law when we first moved here and I trust her book picks. I’ve wanted to read Annie Proulx (author of the more well-known titles Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News) for a long, long time but haven’t yet gotten around to it. This is a great chance to get acquainted with both Proulx’s work and the Texas Panhandle, where this book is set. Maybe I’ll even learn how to pronounce her last name.

The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr

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The Liars’ Club is an obvious choice for a Lone Star Lit roundup. Mary Karr’s book about her troubled childhood in Southeast Texas is a classic in the memoir genre. The magnificent title alone made me want to read it. I also think it’ll be good to add a little nonfiction to this Texas mix.

So, keep reading over the next few weeks (maybe months, depending on when this baby comes) to learn more than you ever wanted to know about my views on Texas lit.

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