The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, http://texasparlor.blogspot.com/ . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader http://youngtexasreader.blogspot.com/ which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bees Nest & Dallas Literary - Vick

  Literary Dallas.  Edited by Fran Vick.  TCU Press, 2008.
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
Jane Sumner, a freelance writer in Austin, worked at The News from 1980 to 2004.

The review began:  "Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Literary Dallas, third in Texas Christian University Press' "literary cities" series, is not as much fun as Literary Fort Worth, or as "literary" as Literary Austin. After all, Dallas is not as much fun as Fort Worth, and Austin is crawling with published, prizewinning authors.
There is much to enjoy in Literary Dallas, and editor Frances Vick has made some appropriate choices. But the former director of the University of North Texas Press might have cast her net wider and deeper."
 
hmmm, "not as much fun"
 
Read more of the review at
 
Well, Fran decided the effort of the volume had not been fully appreciated by Jane, and as it turned out separately Mike Merschal of the News' "Texas Pages" blog contacted Fran for a Q&A session where Fran gave a good interview, " 'Literary Dallas' editor Fran Vick speaks," but wasn't quite able to express her opinion of Jane's review in that venue. 
The email Q&A posting begins as:
"What surprised you most in the compiling of this book?
How much material there was out there. I was still finding things after I turned in the already large manuscript. There are some Dallas writers who are not in here and should be and I apologize for that. I ran out of time and also out of space."
That  Q&A is at
following which Judy declares that the book was never intended to "be a doorstop," Jane said she liked it, and Brendan said he's gonna buy one.
 
Mike accomodated Fran with posting Fran's opinion statement at "Editor Responds to 'Literary Dallas' review" at
The opinon begins: "I would like to bring a few things to readers' attention about Literary Dallas. The book was put together chronologically, to be the story or history of Dallas as told by the writers. Perhaps that was not seen or shown as well as it should have been. Also, the great hazard of publishing an anthology is that it cannot, except in multi-volumes, include every writer that the editor might like to excerpt. Therefore, anthologies are especially fair game for critics, who might tend to focus on what's not there, rather than what is."
 
Hmmm, "what's not there"
 
When you next see Jane, an Austin resident, ask her if Austin is more literary than Dallas.  Could the fine Austinians be more snobbish or effete than the El mercado grande del trinidad.
 
To see the publisher's own humble, objective opinion see TAMU's consortium blog  http://www.tamu.edu/upress/BOOKS/2008/vick.htm
 
The discussion seems to have abated or gone underground.  It never reached the spectactular nature of the revival of Mickey Rourke or gained any conversational utility by becoming a truly  tacky or the ultimate "tawdry affair."  All in all it's nice to see folks taking literature importantly.  I should get a copy and tell you what I think, but I live in Houston and unlike the Capitol City, the Home of Ewing Oil, and even Fort Worth, Houston doesn't have a volume entitled "Literary Houston."  Maybe we just can't write.
 
 
 
 

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