For about four decades Joe Nick Patoski has been writing and radioing about Texas. Consequently, his blog "Notes and Musings" is replete with Texana worth reading. It's strong on music, and Joe Nick has an abiding interest in the land.
Sample entries of February are
He introduces himself with "Y'all come in and take a look around. Have your enjoys. If you have any specific questions, or want to know more about why it's so dang hot in Texas, where the best spring water swimming is, hidden hidey holes of Mexico, the origins of alt country, why radio is the way it is, or other semi-arcane subjects, send an e-mail. I'll write back. --Joe Nick "
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Last Sunday Judy Alter wrote in one of her occasional Dallas Morning News "Texas Letters" column about Will Howard, publisher of Will's Texana Monthy and host of the Texas Parlor etc. Her kindness and generosity are exposed. Thanks to Judy. Hmm, she surely knows how to put the carrot out in front of this bibliographer. Read more at
Keep up with Judy at http://judys-stew.blogspot.com/
Friday, February 27, 2009
D.L. Groover in the Houston Press writes an article on the documentary film. It first aired on TV last year and is now making the rounds for special events.
Buffalo Soldier Mutiny: Houston, 1917Memorial Park wasn't always a park — it was once an army camp, and horrible things happened there
By D.L. Groover
It begins: " Riots, racism, police beatings, mob vengeance, political corruption, murder! No, we're not talking about Watts in the 1960s, but the most inglorious event in Houston history — the 1917 Riot. Five policemen, four soldiers and at least 11 private citizens were killed during the violence. Sparked by the unfair treatment of blacks, enlisted and civilian, black soldiers stationed at Houston's Camp Logan mutinied and marched on the city, where an angry mob of locals was waiting for them. (Camp Logan was situated on land that's currently Memorial Park.) The incident led to the eventual court-martial and execution of 19 black U.S. Army soldiers."
Filmmakers are Alan Berg, Larry Dickman, Eric Hanken and Mike Kaliski. They used Robert Haynes's book A Night of Violence: The Houston Riot of 1917 and Celeste Bedford Walker's play Camp Logan.
Read more at
This was going on while Ferguson was being impeached.
News from Marshall, Texas, my hometown
Book signing tonight raises funds for the historical commission, library's FriendsBy ROBIN Y. RICHARDSON, News Messenger
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Shepherdess at the Literary Lion Bookstore in downtown Stephenville ( http://www.belovedbookstore.com/ ) has a blog on her other MySpace spot.
She mentions in the blog a nest of poets under the title The Peyote Milkshake Review, a local poetry zine published by uber-lionhead Mike Snyder
Click her Yakshepherdess MySpace, then click on "View all blog entries," go to July 7, 2008 for further info on the Review
The photo there should be enough to bring the lot in for treading on Darth Vader's bad reputation.
On a separate note, upstairs from the Lion is the
Lone Star Library
operated by Bob Dunn who self-describes his venture as "Combine one of the last of the full-service, family-owned bookstores with a huge, privately-owned collection of Texana, and something great is bound to happen. The Literary Lion, located in beautiful downtown Stephenville, Texas, has graciously provided space on the second floor of its century-old building to house the Lone Star Library. The Lone Star Library is open to the public, free of charge, during regular business hours. The collection covers all aspects of materials used to tell the story of the people and places that make up The Great State of Texas."
Open his door at http://www.lonestarlibrary.com/
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Tracy Daugherty's new book, Hiding Man: A Biography of Donald Barthelme,
KERA radio carries a review by Jerome Weeks of the Donald Barthelme biography. Weeks begins straightforwardly.
"Donald Barthelme was one of the most influential, if not most important, writers to come out of Texas. A handful of modern American writers can be said to have shaped the art of the short story: Ernest Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter, J. D. Salinger, Raymond Carver — and Donald Barthelme, the most startlingly unconventional of the lot. And the funniest. The man who made surrealism and dadaism mainstream in American fiction."
Read more at
If you think wrestling with Mickey Rourke could be an awkward but rewarding experience, just try reading Barthelme. Some call him post-modernist, some call him experimental. But some of his writings, some based on his life's experience like the death of the father, and some based on his modest relation of how to properly develop Galveston real estate are easily Texana. Sometimes you could think yourself back in 1st grade being careful while cuttinig out construction paper figures and eating the paste.
Or you could blithely go on your way, dismissing one of our greatest writers.
A Bimusical Mind
Review by Sarah Wimer | February 20, 2009 | Books & the Culture
The review begins: "Like many Mexican-Americans from South Texas, Manuel Peña's family survived hard times working as migrant agricultural laborers. What makes Peña's story singular is that after becoming the first member of his immediate family to continue school past eighth grade, he went on to earn a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin and join the humanities faculty at California State University at Fresno."
Read more of Wimer's review at The Texas Observer
Jeffrey Kinghorn starts off a new mystery series. Private investigator Ted Michell gets involved in murder and divorce inside loop 610 in Houston. Where could he get such ideas? To be followed by The Cutter.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Er, uh, the volume, 3rd in TCU Press' series, has caused a little stir in Big D. Or was it those outsiders again influencing the fine citizenry who are guardians of the State Fair and the Cowboys. It's a nice book and all (I paged through one at B&N). Jane Summer reveiwed it for the Dallas News as
Literary Dallas: Much here to praise, but collection fails to capture depth: November 30, 2008 By JANE SUMNER / Special Contributor, Dallas Morning News
The complete list is interesting but I find for our readers, we notice Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian on the list.
The original notes by Grossman on the Texan's volume that appeared in Time are at
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Book Review and Author Interview: Texas Stadium by Mac Engel
The review begins:
"It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Dallas Cowboys' last year at Texas Stadium was supposed to end in a "blaze of glory," or at least a playoff win. The Cowboys' most recent trips to the playoffs had not produced a playoff win, and, it seemed, Owner Jerry Jones went all out to put the pieces of the puzzle together to make a Super Bowl run which would give Texas Stadium one last "hurrah." However, like a football falling just short of the goal post on a long field goal attempt, the Cowboys fell just short of the playoffs. Now all that is left to remember Texas Stadium by is Mac Engel's collection of the most memorable moments in the beloved stadium's history."
Read more of the review by Jones, a Fort Worth Star Telegram Cowboys beat writer, at
Don Piper was killed in a Texas auto crash and spent 90 minutes in heaven. Tim Challies reviews the book. The review begins "We know of three people, from Scripture, who were privileged to see heaven. All of these men, Stephen and the Apostles Paul and John, were alive when they were given a glimpse of the wonders of heaven. Don Piper, a Baptist pastor, claims to be a fourth, though unlike the other three, he first had to die."
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Audrey Cook provides this considerable volume on one of Houston’s earliest important women. Genealogical in nature but more broadly historical in content, Cook embarked on a years-long quest to put her subject in context. The physical volume is divided into four “books,” tracing the paternal Fort and maternal Sugg families and the subsequent Smith family (a Highlander crew) histories. The families’ trails begin in Virginia (some say most good things do), and continue to North Carolina, over the Cumberland Trail to Tennessee and Kentucky, and down the Natchez Trace into Mississippi, and finally to Texas at Point Pleasant (northwest of present Angleton , and finally Houston in 1836.
Although the family was landed, they were “land poor.” Cook cautions us that Obedience was not the “Land Queen” or richest woman in Houston, but rather preferred the background. But she was recognized and honored by her husband when he made her one of the executors of his estate. It’s also untrue that she shot a lawyer who was allegedly trying to steal her land. The family’s history includes some “less well behaved” members, but most hewed the line of propriety. Cook’s frankness is gracious but informative.
TEXAS READS: Funeral tales make for good stories
By Glenn Dromgoole, January, 12, 2009, Beaumont Enterprise, reviews Sanders' new Death Lore: Texas Rituals, Superstitions, and Legends of the Hereafter.
The review begins: "Everyone probably has a favorite family funeral story or some other tale related to death and burial. Few could rival the story told by Herbert H. Sanders in a new collection from the Texas Folklore Society on Death Lore: Texas Rituals, Superstitions, and Legends of the Hereafter."
Dromgoole also comments on "Ghost Stories: A related volume is Brian Righi's Ghosts of Fort Worth: Investigating Cowtown's Most Haunted Locations (Schiffer Publishing, $14.95 trade paperback)."
Glen Dromgoole in "Book hard to put down with wild Texas action" begins his review as:
"One of the joys of writing this column on Texas books and authors over the past seven years is getting to know Texas writers who have achieved success, but not necessarily much notice.
A good example is Kent Conwell of Port Neches. I just read his third paperback novel, "The Bloody Texans" (Leisure Books, $6.99). It's a historical novel set in the 1840s, when the U.S. went to war with Mexico over the annexation of Texas as a state."
And ends it with
"You might check with your library to see if it has any of his books. Conwell's stories involve death and violence, but the language is clean, and sexual references are subtle."
Read more Dromgoole at
or follow the British review in "Fantastic Fiction" at
BC Critics reviews Virginia's War.
Virginia's War - Tierra Texas 1944 (French Letters Trilogy, Volume One) by Jack Woodville London
Review written by Carey A It begins
"By 1944 the small town of Tierra, Texas was used to the war. The young boys played war games, arguing over who would be on the side of the Allies and who would be the Nazis for the day. The nearby air base added some excitement with their frequent air training exercises. And above all, Tierra, like every small town around the world -- and as depicted in Jack Woodville London's absorbing Virginia's War — gossiped."
Writer to Reader blog connects an interview with author of Love Find you in Humble, Texas It begins:
"Author Anita Higman is interviewed by Jennifer AlLee on Musings on This, That and the Other Thing. Anita talks about her new book release Love Finds you in Humble, Texas. There's also a giveaway. Ends 2/19. Here's a bit from the interview:
Q: "How did you dream up Love Finds You in Humble, Texas?"
A: "Well, the creative process is a mystery to me. Characters like Wiley and Kat and Cyrus start showing up in my head and talking...."
read more at
Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas Series, Book 3). by Mary Connealy (Barbour Books)
Mary's at http://www.maryconnealy.com/ where she writes "Don't be afraid to strive and sweat and pray and fail and strive and pray some more for the desires of your heart. Because my books and this site are proof that dreams can come true. That with God all things are possible."
Monday, February 16, 2009
In an interview with "Much Cheaper Than Coffee," author Yeary shares a few things, some of which refers to Texana, including her new "All My Hopes and Dreams." It's romantic.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
A Revised List of Texas Confederate Regiments, Battalions, Field Officers, and Local Designations by James E. Williams (Author, 2007). Staple-bound wraps, bibliography, index. 51 pp. $14
The Financial Times of London posts a review of The Big Rich, by Bryan Burrough
Pioneers who put Texas on the oil map
Review by Sheila McNulty Published: February 9 2009 02:00
The review begins: "Lest anyone feel sorry for those with mounting losses from the plunge in oil prices from almost $150 a barrel to below $40, boom-and-bust cycles have been making and unmaking millionaires since the first geyser spouted at Spindletop in 1901, ushering in the rise of the petroleum industry.
The Texas plains are pockmarked with holes dating back to those early days when the state produced more oil than the wells in the rest of the world put together. Yet dry holes are still being drilled, even with today's advanced technology. From the start, the price of oil has never been steady."
The History of Texas, 4th ed
By Robert A. Calvert, Arnoldo De Leon, Gregg Cantrell
The review begins "The principle that all people make history continues to drive the Fourth Edition of our well-loved text, one that continues to consider the different cultures within the state as well as the unique heritage shared by all Texans. Unlike other surveys of the Lone Star State, "The History of Texas" goes beyond accounts of well-known figures to consider the lives of ordinary Texans, as seen in the continued and expanded coverage of topics such as agriculture, industrialisation, urbanisation, economic disparity, migration patterns, and demographic change."
read more of Mannitha's review at UNITED STATES BOOKS http://dteunistatesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/02/history-of-texas.html
Monday, February 2, 2009
In "ShelfLife" Jennifer McAndrew notes Graham's volume on the movies
"Since the advent of filmmaking, dozens of Hollywood heartthrobs have lined up to play cowboys in more than 600 films about or made in Texas.
Who can forget Paul Newman's brash portrayal of a Texas cowboy in "Hud"? Or James Dean's turn as ranch hand Jett Rink in "Giant"?
Texas looms larges in moviemakers' imaginations writes English Professor Don Graham in the pocket-sized handbook "State Fare: An Irreverent Guide to Texas Movies" (TCU Press, 2008), but they don't always get it right."
The review begins ... "The bodies kept falling, the blood was real, and the man on the deck, a consummate actor for a number of years, was no longer acting.
On August 1, 1966, Charles Joseph Whitman ascended the University of Texas Tower and committed what was then the largest simultaneous mass murder in American history. He gunned down forty-five people inside and around the Tower before he was killed by two Austin police officers." Read more at http://conchordfly.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/a-sniper-in-the-tower-the-charl/
Conchordfly notes Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, 1862
The note begins:
"Winner of the Coral Horton Tullis Memorial Prize In the early morning hours of October 1, 1862, state militia arrested more than two hundred alleged Unionists from five northern Texas counties and brought them to Gainesville. "
Ten Must-Have Reference Books from 2008
Gregory McNamee - December 30th, 2008
The Encyclopedia Britannica blog say's Hartman's book is major!
Gary Hartman, The History of Texas Music (Texas A&M University Press)
Jim Sherman at the Texas Observer writes a review that begins ...
"The primary reason I loathe rap music—aside from the corrosive effect it's had on urban social interaction and the level of critical discourse—is that rap has destroyed the blues as a living African-American art form. Virtually all of the performers who made Texas blues internationally iconic and shaped the future of rock and soul have passed from the scene."
Read more at http://www.texasobserver.org/article.php?aid=2933
For readers lacking a oil well to cushion the economic crunch, get a few tips here about how it's done. Burrough writes for Vanity Fair magazine.
Michael Berryhill teaches journalism for the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication at the University of Houston. His review appeared in the Houston Chronicle at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/books/reviews/6237582.html It begins ...
"The figure on the cover of Bryan Burrough's brisk new history of Texas oilmen wears a black, wide-brimmed Western hat. A geyser of oil is spouting up his back from an old-time wooden derrick. Gushers and cowboy hats have a great appeal and so does the money accompanying them, so Burrough, a writer for Vanity Fair magazine, can be forgiven for invoking the stereotype with his title, The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes."
On the craft of the Coen brothers and McCarthy
By jour de fete's blog - it begins