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, January 7, 2010

Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Conservancy Video and Calendar

Strawberry Mom & Calf   The Cattlemen'sTexas Longhorn Conservancy, headquartered over in Gonzales, a place where Spanish cattle have roamed for a couple of centuries or better, is pretty serious about their self-assigned task:
"Founded in 2005 as a not-for-profit corporation and bestowed the tax exempt status of a 501(c)3 public charity, the mission of the Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Conservancy is to engage in scientific and historical research, education and other charitable purposes associated with Texas Longhorn cattle.
Imported to the Western Hemisphere more than five hundred years ago by the earliest Spanish explorers, the Texas Longhorn played a significant role in the history of the Americas and became recognized as North America's original bovine. Nearly cross-bred into extinction following the great Western trail drives, the Texas Longhorn was acknowledged as a national treasure by the U.S. Congress, which in 1927 established a protected herd on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.
The Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Conservancy recognizes the value of this national treasure in its original phenotype (appearance) and genotype (genetics) and is intended to provide ongoing resources toward research and education pertaining to this naturally evolved, historic breed."
The calendar hangs on the wall with its pre-punched hole. When opened it's 11 x 17.  squarely.  Of course, each month has a special color photograph of and quotation about the breed - and by that the CTLC means the unique breed that emerged from the early Spanish stock and formed the basis of millions of cattle first run up the great cattle trails after the Civil War.  They weed out the cross-breeds.  Only $15.
The downloadable educational video is about 15 minutes long and is professionally done.  History, modern challenges, and efforts by themselves and others are spotlighted.  It's available online or in a disk form.   The website describes it as:  "This 15-minute educational videoDVD was designed for use in public schools as introduction into Texas History, Social Studies and Science curricula as well as for use in Museums, Historic Sites, Libraries, State Parks and other public learning centers. A Longhorn Educational DVD will be mailed to anyone making a donation to the Conservancy or joining as a member." 
Enrique Guerra, current president and one of the CTLC founders, Maudeen Marks, part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Fayette Yates, longtime rancher, and others are interviewed and they speak well for those who wish to raise, perpetuate, and care for our official state large mammal, the true TEXAS LONGHORN.

Jodi Thomas Interview by Melinda

    Jodi Thomas (penname) is interviewed by Melinda at Essential Writers.  Thomas' preference is for historical and romance novels, and Texas is the setting for a number of titles.  She has won three RITA's and is in RWA's Hall of Fame and has three National Readers Choice awards.  Here she gives writing secrets and comments on her novel The Lone Texan.
Cover design for Twisted Creek
Q.V.,  Where you'll find an excellent video trailer and several interviews.

Bill Minutaglio Interviews

Bill Minutaglio is an an occasional interviewee by Michael Geffner at Mike's Writing Workshop.  Bill Minutaglio is a Texas Pulitzer Prize nominee, National Book Award nominee, journalist, professor, and recent author of a Molly Ivins biography and another on Alberto Gonzales. See

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wallpaper City Guide: Houston

    Offcite, an architectural blog of Houston branched from the Rice Design Alliance folks, has jumped right into 2010 with a review of a volume which pays attention to Houston architecture and hotspots.  It's a Wallpaper City Guide about Houston.  It begins:  "Rather than plainly document a bounty of recreational attractions, the recently-released Wallpaper City Guide: Houston (published jointly by the Wallpaper magazine and Phaidon) postures itself as the "fast-track" guide for the discerning traveler, offering a "tightly edited," "ruthlessly researched," "rigorously selected," and "discreetly packaged" list of the city's design-conscious locales. Instead of the design-minded denizen, the target audience is the weekend tourist or business traveler — so it's tempting for a local to scrutinize the 100-page volume."

Literary El Paso - Daudistel

Literary El Paso coverLiterary El Paso.  Edited by Marcia Hatfield Daudistel.  Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2009.  Hardback and jacket, rust red cloth, black endpapers, 572 pages, permissions bibliography, title and author index,  ISBN-10: 0875653871,  9780875653877,  $29.50


El Paso is more than dusty plazas and gunslingers set in a Spanish themed town in West Texas.  In the 1970's I went to El Paso bibliographically because folks were pointing to the visual beauty of the books – you know the trio, the master printer Hertzog and the artists Tom Lea and José Cisneros.  I stayed there for the stories, some sort of true, and others deeply so as in Bode's "eternal familiar."  I puzzled over Amado Muro, and then I came to "love the August rains" with Benjamin Alire Saenz.  I noticed how the Anglos came and stayed as academicians, and Tejanos left or passed through on their ways north and west.

Editor Marcia Daudistel knows from whence she comes; in fact she comes from being associate director of Texas Western Press in El Paso for years, and it's paid off.  She not only has selected 62 El Paso natives, adoptees, and passers-by, modern authors of the 20th century whose publications about life, culture, and literature have previously graced pages out where the Rio cuts through the Franklin Mountains and waters the Chihuahua Desert, but she also adds some unpublished works as well and includes a trace of bilingualism in the volume's series (El Paso is TCU's 4th installment) so well produced by Judy Alter's fine crew at TCU Press.

History, fiction, journalism, self-reflective essay, and to a lesser degree poetry describe and interpret Texas western-most piece of the borderlands. 

The pages begin with Tom Lea's Wonderful Country as many such bibliographical hymns do, followed by Carl Hertzog, Owen White, Dale Walker, C.L. Sonnichsen, and others of the traditional choir, some being born before 1900.  Then a bit of variation enters with Nancy Hamilton, Bernice Love Wiggins, and Reuben Salazar.  In Part II the Other El Paso emerges through Tomas Rivera, Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado, John Rechy, Ana Castillo, Estela Portillo Trambley, Sheryl Luna, Elroy Bode, and others. And there's the tourists photographing body parts in Juarez. 

You'll find recurring figures – folks from Little Chihuahua, brides, Pancho Villa, job hunters, retail shoppers, students, and people wobbling on the threshold between two worlds.  Buy the book, take a literary vacation.  Meet old friends and make new ones.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Michael Barnes and Building a Texas Social Library

In Austin much reverence is misted upon the socio-political correctness (replacing the old concept of social correctness of Victorian propriety) of understanding our state's developing cultural memes, and Michael Barnes begins his Austin 360 column in Out and About with the ever proper soft inquiry and soliticitation, "The eternal question: What came before?  //  Reporting on Austin's social scene, one wants to know about people, places and parties in ancestral, modern and contemporary Texas society. // Thus, my once and future reading list, posted below. Additions welcome."
I'll mention the authors Barnes intones, but let you wonder or click to learn what are the actual titles he suggests:  Frantz, Brammer, Bebichek, Burrough, Bird, Thompson, Webb, Shrake, Dalleck, and Caro.  If you don't know 5 of the names, take the cure at Barton Springs.  If you do know 5 or more, take a swim at Barton Springs.  If you know 7 or more, bask in the company of Philosopher's Rock's company.

Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life - Minutaglio & Smith

  Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith is reviewed in several locations around the nation.  See
Everyday Citizen: News, Opinion, & Things that Matter : review by Darrel Hamlin begins: "Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life (PublicAffairs Books, 2009) is the story of an exceptionally privileged daughter of corporate power who somehow stretched beyond the constraints of journalism to become a beloved icon of progressive ideals. Armed with a devastatingly precise wit, Ivins embraced her passionate subjectivity and fought like hell – for civil liberties, for all those who suffer the consequences of a corrupt and oligarchic public life, for liberals who needed laughter with their morning outrage."  Read more at
The Washington Post:  Review by Dennis Drabble begins: "The turning point in Molly Ivins's life, suggest the authors of this biography, may have been the motorcycle accident that killed her college boyfriend, Hank Holland. At first blush, that seems an odd claim to make about the outspoken feminist and wittily acerbic political columnist from Texas whose fearless remarks -- and the reactions to them -- led to the title of one of her books: "Molly Ivins Can't Say That, Can She?" "  Read more at
Los Angeles Times, review by Claudia Feldman begins: "My editor flipped through the new book about iconic Texas journalist Molly Ivins that I'd carried to him like a dog with a bone. /  Before her death in 2007, I was a huge Ivins fan. /  "Does anybody still care?" he asked. "And what could possibly be new?"  /  Pretty soon I was posing those same questions to Austin author Bill Minutaglio, who along with W. Michael Smith wrote "Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life."  /  "Of course I'm heavily biased," Minutaglio said, "but Molly's millions of fans do still care. She opened the door for women in journalism. She made it OK for them to be front and center on opinion pages in a provocative and funny way. Also, she made it OK for liberals to identify themselves, to come forward." "
   Read more at,0,5675367.story
New York Times Sunday Book Review, review by Lloyd Grove begins: "What fearful fun Molly Ivins would have had with Glenn Beck, the birthers, Sarah Palin, Representative Joe ("You lie!") Wilson and, of course, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas — he of the secessionist aspirations and wonderful hair. And how pained she would be, while never losing hope, as she showered President Obama with tough love over his policies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his difference-splitting diffidence on health care reform."  Read more at  
SA Current, Review by Steven G. Kellman begins: " Though she dubbed him Shrub and persistently ridiculed him as "just another upper-class white boy trying to prove he's tough," Molly Ivins and George W. Bush grew up in the same 'hood. River Oaks was Houston's toniest address, and their families mingled with other members of the petroleum plutocracy at the nearby country club. Both attended posh local prep schools — St. John's for Ivins, Kinkaid for Bush — and prestigious institutions in the Northeast — Smith and Columbia for Ivins, Yale and Harvard for Bush."   Read more at
Dallas News, review by Elizabeth Bennett begins: "When she was a child growing up in upper-crust Houston, Molly Ivins dreamed of being famous. If she didn't make it by age 25, she wrote on a note tucked in her wallet, she would commit suicide. //  That early promise to herself is a key to the intensity and drive of one of the most provocative and influential figures in modern journalism. Before Ivins died of cancer at age 62, her column was appearing in more than 300 newspapers, three of her books had become national best-sellers, and she was being offered $15,000 for speaking appearances.  //  An icon of liberalism in Texas, Ivins was a wisecracking social commentator who inspired readers to both laughter and action, write authors Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith in Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life."  Read more about it at

Friday, January 1, 2010

... y no se lo trago la tierra - Tomás Rivera

    2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Tomás Rivera's, "... y no se lo trago la tierra / ... And the Earth Did Not Devour Him" receipt of the Quinto Sol Literary Prize in 1970.  La Bloga's  Jesse Tijerina offers a retrorspective entitled "Un tragito para Tomas" on this now classic identity search of a young Tejano. Tijerina's review begins: "Prior to Tomas Rivera's groundbreaking novel, searching for a literary work with the ability to portray the life of migrant farmworkers with such precision and haunting reality would have been time and energy hard spent. While the experience's of Rivera's characters survive between 1945 and 1955, their stories of heartbreak and joy along the migrant stream differ only in decade as familiar situations and circumstances continue to cultivate in the fields of fruits and vegetables toiled by today's migrant farworker."
Do continue reading the commmentary at

House Slave Next Door

Book is compilation of  investigations and story pieces on a controversial alleged child-trafficking victim in Houston, Texas.The Houston City Hall Examiner comments in an articleew entitled "Houston's controversial true news story on slavery is out in a book" on the volume House Slave Next Door about child trafficking and slavery in the Houston and Sugarland areas, particularly the case of Celestina Ifeacho.
One of the review's paragraph's clearly understates the volume's contents
"This book is not a biography, but simply, a compilation of  investigations and story pieces published in the International Guardian on a controversial alleged child-trafficking  victim who eventually ended up in immigration jail somewhere in the North side of town, awaiting deportation  amidst sloppy bureaucracy over official classification of her status as a victim of slavery."
Read more of the review at
To read this book, please visit