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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who is Mother Neff and Why is She a State Park? by Allan C. Kimball

Kameron Searle on his Texas History Page reviews Who is Mother Neff and Why is She a State Park? by Allan C. Kimball.  It begins
"In this book, Allan C. Kimball will tell you who Mother Neff was and how a Texas state park came to be named after her. I will tell you what this book with the unusual title is all about. It is an excellent guide to all the Texas State Parks. Kimball has researched the history for the source of the name of each of the Texas State Parks and consolidated all of them into this handy 266 page paperback book."

Larry McMurtry & Literary Life Interview - NPR

'Literary Life: A Second Memoir'    Larry McMurtry is interviewed for National Public Radio for almost 8 minutes about his installment of his Literary Life.  The interview is available in print and audio.  It begins:
"Since the very start, Larry McMurtry's writing career has been staged — almost simultaneously — in two oddly paired worlds: his hometown of Archer, Texas, and Hollywood. He published his first novel, Horseman, Pass By, in 1961. The rights to that book were optioned for the movie that would become Hud, starring Paul Newman, before the book was published. "Almost before the last period [was] put on the book," according to McMurtry."
Listen in or read more at:

Twisting in the Wind: Springtown Hangings - Jean Bennett

Crystal Brown's Weatherford Democrat book review entitled "Area hangings focus of new book" reveals that they hang 'em in Weatherford and Parker County according to Jean Bennett, the book's author.  The review begins:
Jean Bennett, the genealogy librarian for the Weatherford Public Library, has recently published a book highlighting hangings in and around Parker County dating back to the mid 1800s.
The book, Twisting in the Wind: Springtown Hangings of the Hill Women and Other North Texas Hangings, features 15 stories of hangings in Parker County and surrounding areas.
"When I started working here I had all these people coming in and asking about the Hill Hangings," Bennett said. "I didn't know anything about the Hill Hangings. They kept asking, so I thought I'd better find out.""

Not reading more is a hanging offense pardner:

Ms. Bennett was unavailable at press time to comment on whether the book was published to underscore the possible severe penalties for overdue books at the Library where is book can be purchased.  Communications of a proper nature can be established through


Growing Good Things to Eat - Pamela Walker

    KIM PIERCE, Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News, sprouts a book review entitled "Author Profiles Texas' Organic Farmers," and begins

"With the surge of interest in organic and locally produced food, Pamela Walker's Growing Good Things to Eat in Texas (TAMU Press, $23) couldn't be timelier. She profiles 11 organic producers across the state, including two from North Texas, who take their commitment to food and sustainability seriously. They don't just talk about it; they live it.".

 Remember, you don't have to commit to a healthy lifestyle just because you're eating healthy; it tastes better too!

Read more of Pierce's review at

Your friendly Texas Department of Agriculture has a listing of 60 cities and town with farmers markets at

Find another list at the Texas Farmers Market Association

And another at the Texas Farmers Market Directory


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Texas Observer - Back issues of Summer and Winter Books Issues online

The Texas Observer, Texas' own guardian of the left bank of the Colorado River. has a book blog "Texas Bound" which occasionally addresses a Texas volume (they prefer the broader view of the nation).   No posting has been made in "Texas Bound" since last October.  But now of note is the TO's online availability of the Summer and Winter Books issues.  The archives go back for ten years.  On the Texas Bound blog's page in the upper right are clicks to those back issues.  For the illiterate with no interest in books, but just their causes of the day, under TO's homepage is the complete list of issues, back for the same ten years.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Texas Cookbook Reviews

Texana - Texas Books and News
Texas Cooking offers a couple of dozen book reviews at

Steven Davis & Frank Dobie book - Interview by Steve Bennett

dobie book.jpgIn The Fine Print Steve Bennett interviews Steven Davis on his new book J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind.  It begins:
"There were two J. Frank Dobies: the bigoted, boorish creator of the "everything-is-bigger-in-Texas" myth, and the man who later re-examined his own prejudices and embraced a form of spiritual humanism.
Steven L. Davis follows the trail of the iconic Texas folklorist in an illuminating new biography "J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind."
Will Davis' book spark a Dobie renaissance? "I think we were long overdue for a major reassessment of Dobie," says Davis, author of "Texas Literary Outlaws." "None of us had a clear vision of who he really was."  Read the interview at

Dave Oliphant & Harbingers - Interview by Ed Conroy

The Fine Print by Steve Bennett brings you the interview:
"Here's the full text of Ed Conroy's interview with Texas poet, professor and publisher Dave Oliphant, whose new book is "Harbingers of Books to Come," a must "for anyone seeking to understand the development of literature and jazz in Texas during the postwar era."   See a photo of Dave and his wife and inspiration Maria and read more at
Humanities Texas offers a biographial sketch of Oliphant (after his retirement from 30 years from UT) in its Speakers' Bureau

Friday, December 18, 2009

New West Selections

    The New West collects it favorite books for 2009 with some Texana in "Other States" section
Antonya Nelson short stories collected in Nothing Right (Bloomsbury USA)

Lovin' That Lone Star Flag - E. Joe Deering

Maggie Galehouse, book editor at the Houston Chronicle, begins her review thusly:

Looking at Texas' flag through a unique lens    Nov. 27, 2009, 1:41PM

LOVIN' THAT LONE STAR FLAG Review by Maggie Galehouse

Book By E. Joe Deering.

Texas A&M University Press, 120 pp., $29.95.

"For five years, E. Joe Deering made it his business to photograph the Lone Star flag — anywhere he found it.

Between 2002 and 2007, the former Houston Chronicle photographer captured images of the iconic Texas state flag on barns, brick walls, police cars, homes, mailboxes, belt buckles, surfboards, cowboy boots, almost anywhere you can imagine."


Literary Life: A Second Memoir - Larry McMurtry

The New York Times reviews McMurtry's literary biography which augments his earlier literary biograpy Books: A Memoir.  The review begins
Bookish Cowboy Heads Off to the Corral
By DWIGHT GARNER   Published: December 10, 2009
"Larry McMurtry has won a Pulitzer Prize, for his novel "Lonesome Dove," published in 1985. His criticism appears regularly in The New York Review of Books, this country's leading journal of mandarin literary opinion. He won an Academy Award for writing, with Diana Ossana, the screenplay for the film "Brokeback Mountain." For two years in the early 1990s he was the American president of PEN, the august literary and human-rights organization. 
Yet Mr. McMurtry, who is 73 and has written some 40 books of fiction, essays and memoir, nonetheless feels like a man who gets no — or at least not much — respect."
See comments on the earlier volume at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Elmer Kelton, Sandhills Boy: The Winding Trail lof a Texas Writer - Elmer Kelton

Sandhills Boy: The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer     Elmer Kelton, Sandhills Boy:  The Winding Trail of a Texas Writer.  By Elmer Kelton..  NY:  Macmillan / Forge Books / Tom Doherty, 2007. Handback, sand and brown pictorial jacket, olive green cloth, b & w photos. ISBN: 978-0-7653-1521-2, ISBN10: 0-7653-1521-1, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 256 pages. $23.95.


Elmer Kelton, (1926-2009) lately of San Angelo, Texas, was a native West Texan who wrote about fifty Western novels, won a bunkhouse-load of writing awards for his work, and achieved the status of being the Greatest Western Writer of all time according to the Western Writers of America, the folks who know of such things. 

Kelton provided his memoir before his death on September 1, 2009.  Buck Kelton, his cowboy and ranch foreman father, eventually reconciled to his son's failure to become a career cowboy.  You see his son broke loose from the dusty corral and instead took to the trials and trails of Western authorship, a trade Buck skeptively considered "not working" for his pay.  Being reared on the Western plains was no easy life, but for Elmer that was his homeland, in and around Crane and Upton counties on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, particularly the McElroy Ranch, out around Midland way.  Later more than once he mused in the mirror, "What would Dad think?" 

Early home places were named Horse Camp, Sand Camp, and the Mayfield Place.  Young Elmer memorized the poem "Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day" and listened to the windup Victrola with his father to "Ramona."  His mother wistfully mentioned how she had noticed a oowboy weep upon hearing "When the Works All Done This Fall."  When the author wrote of leathered faces, calloused hands, scars, and lonesome times he knew of such things.;ttWORKDONE.html

Kelton grew up, learning to read the labels on the canned goods, abetted by his mother's home-schooling. Maybe his mother was to blame for his scribbling.  He remembers she once wrote a story intended for Ranch Romances magazine.  The son took up writing before age 10 at his second-grade teacher's instruction.

He survived ranch life, studied journalism at UT, joined WW II where he met his future-wife Anni in Austria, returned home and wrote for the San Angelo Standard Times, range journals, observed oil field life, began writing short stories, and upon hearing the cautionary comments about how the new fangled media was replacing short stories added novels to his remuda. 

The volume is straight forward, poignant, with drops of dry humor.  It begins as if he were at a kitchen table sharing a cup of coffee with the reader – scattered with talk about family life and ventures, the land, the lack of rain, the mountains, cattle, and the people he knew, not a few of which were real characters.  The pace steps-up with the war, and again with the courtship of Anni, and settles down again as they take up home life on the Texas plains.  You'll not be distracted his many references to his novels; this is his life as he lived it.

Purchase a copy his memoirs; it's a good investment in good reading.  If you're not yet a Kelton reader, start with one of these:  The Time It Never Rained, The Good Old Boys, The Man Who Rode Midnight, Buffalo Wagons, The Day the Cowboys Quit, Eyes of the Hawk, Slaughter, The Far Canyon, and The Way of the Coyote.