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

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . 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 which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Joe Nick Patoski

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 "

Judy Alter on Will Howard in Dallas Morning News

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

Friday, February 27, 2009

Buffalo Soldier Mutiny - documentary

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, 1917

Memorial Park wasn't always a park — it was once an army camp, and horrible things happened there

By D.L. Groover

Film Premieres:  Buffalo Soldier Mutiny: Houston 1917 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.
This was going on while Ferguson was being impeached.

Blacks in East Texas History - McDonald

News from Marshall, Texas, my hometown
Book signing tonight raises funds for the historical commission, library's Friends

Monday, February 23, 2009

The article begins "Take a journey of the "black experience" in 19th century East Texas as Archie P. McDonald, co-editor of "Blacks in East Texas History," discusses the book during a book signing 6 p.m. today in the Gold Room at Marshall Public Library.
"It really is a book for everybody," said local historian Gail Beil, whose article, "Melvin B. Tolson: Texas Radical," is featured in the book.
The book consists of 12 articles about African-Americans in East Texas that were previously published in the East Texas Historical Journal. The Journal was founded in 1962 and began accepting articles on African-American history at a time when most scholarly journals refused to accept, publish or encourage the study of black history."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Peyote Milkshake Review etc

The Shepherdess at the Literary Lion Bookstore in downtown Stephenville ( )  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."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Texas Calendar

Cartoonist Roger Todd Moore, up out of Merkel, publishes a "Bona Fide Original Real" Texas Calendar. It starts with March the 2nd, Independence Day, but spills into 2010 for January and February, so it's twelve months. $8.00. On tan, 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Pre-punched hole at the top.

One or two cartoons emblazon the top of each month's page, and 4 to 6 days each month contain historical notes from the Revolution to modern times. Wimmen are often the target in the yeehaw jokes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Hiding Man - Daugherty

 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."
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.
Other reviews
Or you could blithely go on your way, dismissing one of our greatest writers.

Where the Ox Does Not Plow - Peña

Where the Ox Does Not Plow

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 

Inside the Loop - Kinghorn

InsideTheLoop 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

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
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.

Blood Meridian - McCarthy

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

Texas Stadium - Engel

Book Review and Author Interview: Texas Stadium by Mac Engel

90 Minutes in Heaven - Piper

90 Minutes in HeavenDon 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."

Romance novels - Sandra Brown

"Sandra Brown's Books" shows at least three Texas romance novels following the Tyler family in series.
Texas Lucky
Texas Chase
Texas Sage

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obedience Smith - Cook

Obedience Smith (1771-1847) Pioneer of Three American Frontiers: Her Ancestors and Descendants.
By Audrey Barrett Cook. Houston: Early Publishing Co. 1745 Marshall, Houston, Texas 77098-2801), 2008. Hardback with multi-colored illustrated jacket, maps, illus, genealogy charts, ports, endnotes, index, 520 pages. ISBN 978-9818196-3-1 $39.95.

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.

Obedience Fort Smith was a remarkable pioneer in the truest vein. And Cook is congratulated for bringing her to life on these pages. After bearing 11 children in Tennessee and raising the youngest in Mississippi, her husband died in 1835, and she followed her son to Texas when she was aged 65-years-old. (Some family members preceded her in 1833.) She arrived early in 1836 before the Declaration of Independence, got caught up in the Runaway Scrape, returned to Point Pleasant, and moved to Houston later in the year where she cared for family and others for the next 11 years before dying in 1847, after annexation.

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.
The volume, although with genealogical intent, is largely informative narrative and makes for a wonderful read as the reader transits the history with rich documentation and frequent splicing of document excerpts.
As Mrs. Smith migrated from frontier to frontier, little did she know that her life would be so thoroughly recorded so many years later. And this book is a really outstanding chronicle of that journey.

Death Lore - Sanders

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)."

Bloody Texans - Conwell

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."
book cover of 

The Bloody Texans 


Kent ConwellRead more Dromgoole at
or follow the British review in "Fantastic Fiction" at

Virginia's War - London

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."

Love Finds You - Higman Interview

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...."

Gingham Moutain - Connealy

Wendi's Book Corner Blog reviews and adds a first chapter of
Gingham Mountain (Lassoed in Texas Series, Book 3). by Mary Connealy (Barbour Books)
Mary's at 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

Celia Yeary & Texana Therapy

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

Texas Confederate Regiments - Williams

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

review at Civil War Books and Authors

Big Rich - Burrough

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."

History of Texas - Calvert, De Leon, Cantrell

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

Monday, February 2, 2009

State Fare - Don Graham

In "ShelfLife" Jennifer McAndrew notes Graham's volume on the movies
  McAndrews begins ...
"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."

Sniper in the Tower - Gary M. Lavergne

Conchordfly reviews A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders

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

Tainted Breeze - Richard McCaslin

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. " 

I Would Rather Sleep in Texas - by the McAllens

Nanoneno reviews I Would Rather Sleep in Texas: A History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the People of the Santa Anita Land Grant by by Mary Margaret McAllen Amberson, James A. McAllen, and Margaret H. McAllen
The review begins ...
"The lower Rio Grande and its harsh Texas wilderness lay at the fringe of Spain's North American territorial claims. For centuries empires, colonists, and native inhabitants struggled over this region. It was a land visited by conquistadors, that gave rise to the American cowboy, and where Civil War generals honed their skills in the Mexican War. Steamboats used the inland waterway as a major transport route and fortunes were made while serving as the Confederacy's only outlet for money and munitions. It is the land from where cattle were driven to the Chisholm Trail and where men, women, and beasts braved the unrepentant climate. It was and remains a crossroads of international cultures."

History of Texas Music - Gary Hartman

Ten Must-Have Reference Books from 2008

The Encyclopedia Britannica blog say's Hartman's book is major!
Gary Hartman, The History of Texas Music (Texas A&M University Press)
"On the face, Hartman's book is a specialized affair. But one look into its pages indicates how influential artists from the Lone Star State have been in every genre, from blues to Tex-Mex to rock to classical. Texas may just be one of those alternate universes I mentioned earlier. Consider just what the two Buddies, Holly and Knox, did…"

Texas Blues - Alan Govenar

Texas BluesJim 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."

Legends of Texas Barbeque - Robb Walsh

braddog at the The Grill and Barrel serves tasty news of Barbeque
He begins ...
"I spend a bunch of time on the internet.  Heck, I'm a blogger and "IT professional" so it's almost an occupational hazard.  But a lot of the time online is spent reading about and researching BBQ and Beer.  As a result, I'm not much on cook books.  Most of the info in just about any cookbook can be found at any one of a number of BBQ forums, websites etc.
Nonetheless, I received "Legends of Texas BBQ" as a gift and once I began reading it I found that I couldn't put it down."

Big Rich - Bryan Burrough

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  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."

No Country for Old Men - movie version

On the craft of the Coen brothers and McCarthy

By  jour de fete's blog  - it begins

"This is my second attempt at blogging; my first fell by the wayside through neglect barely before it had begun. To remind me where it all went wrong last time, I will open by re-posting my last entry on my previous blog. I wrote this months and months ago, after watching the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men. It didn't really work as a review. Too long! Just consider it a few unstructured ramblings about colour-blind race in film."
Read more of this sociologist's extended comments at