Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Roundup! September 29 - October 5

Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 29 - October 5, 2014:

Special Events:
Love LibrosEl Paso, September 15 - October 15

Art & Words Collaborative Show, Fort Worth, September 27 - October 4

Confederate Reunion Grounds - Mexia, In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez, September 27 - November 30

Georgetown Poetry Festival, Georgetown, October 3 - 5

Zine Fest Houston, October 4

Monday, September 29:
B&N - Arboretum, Tyler Whitesides Janitors Book 4 Release Party: Janitors #4 Strike of the Sweepers, 7PM

BookPeopleAcclaimed Dallas Author Merritt Tierce speaking & signing Love Me Back, 7PM

B&N - Stonebriar Mall, Ellen Hopkins: Rumble, 7PM

Brazos Bookstore, Carolyn Kneese & John DeMers - BRAGGING RIGHTS: THE DALLAS-HOUSTON RIVALRY, 7PM

Tuesday, September 30:
Bookwoman, Reading & Signing with Keri Hummingbird Lawnsby: Awakening To Me, 7PM

LBJ Library, Michael Morton will discuss Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-Year Journey from Prison to Peace with Barry Scheck and a book-signing will precede the program, 

Gemini Ink, Earth Talks brings the community together to look at selected texts and ask essential questions. The series is facilitated by poet Mobi Warren and Paul Martin. Lectures by Melissa Kwasny, and Laurence Gonzales. Dramatic readings by actress Rachel Hollon, 6:30PM

Southtown 101, Puro Poetry Slam!, 9:30PM

Wednesday, October 1:
BookPeopleAcclaimed Author Tracey Laird speaking & signing Austin City Limits: A History, 7PM

UT Poetry Center, The Bagley Wright Lecture Series in Poetry: "Meaningfulness and Homesickness" with Timothy Donnelly, 7PM

Blue Willow Bookshop, Tyler Whitesides will discuss and sign STRIKE OF THE SWEEPERS, his newest novel in the JANITORS series for kids, 5PM

Tootsies, Cat Lady Chic - Book Signing, 6PM

North Richland Hills
North Richland Hills Public Library, Dr. Kathy Reichs Author Speaking Event and Book Signing, 12PM

Round Rock
B&N - La Frontera, Ellen HopkinsRumble, 7PM

San Antonio
University of the Incarnate Word, Lecture: Hispanic Literature in San Antonio in the 1920s, 12PM

Thursday, October 2:
University of Texas at Arlington- Nedderman Hall, David Rogers will talk about his new book, "Writing Better Essays," and about the writing program he directs, 7PM

B&N - Arboretum, Danielle Walker Book Discussion and Signing Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime, 7PM

BookPeopleAcclaimed Author Simon Winchester speaking & signing The Men Who United the States, 7PM

St. Edward’s Univ, Carrie Fountain reads and signs from her second poetry collection, Instant Winner, 7:30PM

First Unitarian Church of Dallas, Norman Rockwell historian Jane Allen Petrick will speak on her enlightening narrative, "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Other People in Norman Rockwell’s America," 7PM

Highland Park United Methodist Church, Authors Live: S. C. Gwynne Presents Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson, 7PM
Wordspace, In Salon with new writers Peter Anderson and Alex Lemon, 7 PM [this event is held in a private home, RSVP required]

Fort Worth
Kimbell Art Museum, Artful Readings: How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, by Sarah Bakewell, 5:30PM

B&N - Firewheel Mall, George Arnold Signs His Newest Book Kremlin Kerfuffle: Koshki of the CIA, 4PM

B&N - River Oaks, author signing and discussion with Carolyn Kneese and John DeMers: Bragging Rights - The Dallas-Houston Rivalry, 6:30PM

Costa's Elixir Lounge, Pubic Poetry presents Hot Poets & All That Jazz with Joseph Machado, Melissa Studdard, Oscar Pena and Teresa Juarez, 8PM

Katy Budget Books, Lin Weeks Wilder signs her medical mystery The Fragrance Shed by a Violet, 6PM

Rudyard's, Gulf Coast Reading Series: October 2014, 7PM

South Padre Island
Paragraphs on Padre, Poets on Padre: “Lavando La Dirty Laundry” Discussion, Book signing and reception with authors, Natalia Trevino, Kathie Hoerth, Edward Vidaurre and Julieta Corpus, 7PM

Saturday, October 4:

Katy Budget BooksPatti Greene signs her young adult devotional God, It's Me, 1PM

Murder By the Book, Deborah Coonts will sign and discuss Lucky Catch, 4:30PM

Frances Marshall Enchanting Garden, Evening with the Authors fundraiser for the Dr. Eugene Clark Library of Lockhart featuring Cynthia BeemanSarah BirdElizabeth CrookDoug DorstRob HarrellPaulette JilesVarian JohnsonElizabeth McCrackenJames MagnusonDan UtleyStephen Yanoff & CF Yetman, 6PM

Round Rock
Half Price Books, Brad Stutzman will sell and sign his new book, Melancholy Paradise: Reflections on a Lifetime of Love, Loss, Laughter, and Friends Made Along the Way, 11:30AM

San Antonio

South Padre Island
Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard, “Heart of the Storm” & “Heart of Fire” Discussion, Book signing and reception with romance author, Karen Kinna, 1PM

B&N - Baybrook, Gulf Coast Poets present the 2014 Poetry Out of Bounds, 1PM

Sunday, October 5:
Malvern Books, An Afternoon with Scott Wiggerman, Elizabeth Raby & Joyce Gullickson, 2PM

Half Price Books Mother Ship, Danielle Walker will sign and discuss her book Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple, 7PM

The Wild Detectives, John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats will read from his National Book Award longlisted debut novel, WOLF IN WHITE VAN, 7PM

B&N - Firewheel Mall, George Arnold Signs His Newest Book Kremlin Kerfuffle: Koshki of the CIA, 10AM

Paperbacks Plus, Tracy Lawson book signing, 3PM

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Welcome Slovenia!

Tonight I am delighted to welcome readers in Slovenia to Texas Book Lover. Dobrodošli!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Welcome Iraq!

This evening it is my privilege to welcome readers in Iraq to Texas Book Lover. Marhaban! Bi xêr bî!

Free People Read Freely - Texas Edition 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has produced a report on attempted book banning by Texas school districts for the last eighteen years. I am delighted to report that challenges and actual bans decreased last year. Out of 32 challenges, 10 books were banned in Texas schools during the 2013-2014 school year. 10 books doesn't sound like a lot but the percentage is 1/3.

 Interestingly, fully half of those bans occurred in the same district: Vanguard Academy Charter School. They banned all five books that were challenged. Clear Creek ISD had the second highest number of challenges: One of the three books challenged was removed from elementary library shelves and reassigned to intermediate schools. Another book was restricted by an intermediate school. And the third challenged book was retained with no restrictions. 

The results of this report are below and include the reasons given for each challenge, which makes for some amusing reading. Sometimes I just want to shake somebody and holler, "Get a grip!" In addition, some people seem to believe their kids don't actually possess physical bodies; someone in Smithville has a problem with Muslims; and someone should define "vulgarity" for me in the context of junior high. Junior high kids themselves are famously vulgar.

Special mention for an outstanding jobAransas County ISD and Carroll ISD - Thank you for sticking to your guns in the interests of free speech.

Special mention for spineless panderingLevelland ISD, The Ehrhart School and Vanguard Academy Charter School - way to model intellectual rigor and stand for liberal arts education, y'all!

Special mention for causing me a face-palmConroe ISD - for removing The Princess Diaries.

Very very special mention for being totally clueless - The parent who objected to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens because they didn't want their kid reading about ghosts. Someone wanna explain the concept of metaphor? Anyone?

BANNED BOOKS (books removed from library shelves or class reading lists):
  1. The Taste of the Night, R. L. Stine
  2. Bad Kitty Christmas, Nick Bruel
  3. Ttfn, Lauren Myracle
  4. L8r, g8r, Lauren Myracle
  5. Enter 3 Witches: A Story of Macbeth, Caroline B. Cooney
  6. A Wizard of Mars, Diane Duane
  7. The Salem Witch Trial: A Reference, David K. Goss
  8. The Reformed Vampire Support, Catherine Jinks
  9. Cliques, Jen Jones
  10. Drama, Raina Telgemeier
RESTRICTED BOOKS (books restricted to readers based on age, reading level, parental permission, etc.):
  1. Lush, Natasha Friend
  2. Princess Forever, Meg Cabot
  3. Beastly, Alex Flinn
  4. Love, Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
  5. Demons, Possessions, and Exorcisms, Susan Gregson
  6. Lovingly Alice, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  7. Amulet (series), Kaza Kibuishi
  8. Bone (series), Jeff Smith
  9. Ghostopolis (series), Doug TenNapel
All Challenged Books (by school district):

Aransas County ISD

Book: Stuck in the Middle by Ariel Schrag
School: Rockport-Fulton Middle School
Reason Cited: Profanity
Action Taken: Retained (no restrictions)

Book: It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
School: Rockport-Fulton Middle School
Reason Cited: Inappropriate for grade level
Action Taken: Retained (no restrictions)

Austin ISD

Book: Demons, Possessions, and Exorcisms by Susan Gregson
School: Oak Hill Elementary School
Reason Cited: Violence or horror, offensive to religious tendencies, speaks of depression as an outcome of demon possession
Action Taken: Use restricted
Note: Book retained but must have parental approval for younger students

Book: The Color of Water by Kim Gong Hwa
School: Gus Garcia Middle School
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Decision pending (process not completed)

Carroll ISD

Book: Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz
School: Eubanks Intermediate (5th/6th grade)
Reason Cited: Politically, socially, or racial offensive
Action Taken: Retained (no restrictions)
Note: Parent felt book promoted illegal immigration and was not age appropriate

Chapel Hill ISD

Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
School: Chapel Hill Elementary
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Banned

Clear Creek ISD

Book: Beastly by Alex Flinn
School: Seabrook Intermediate
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Use restricted

Book: Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
School: League City Intermediate
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Retained (no restrictions)

Book: Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
School: North Pointe Elementary
Reason Cited: Mature content throughout book
Action Taken: Use restricted
Note: Book was moved to intermediate school

Conroe ISD

Book: Princess Forever by Meg Cabot
School: Austin Elementary
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Use restricted
Note: The book was offered to junior high and high school for inclusion in their collections

Cotulla ISD

Book: The Taste of the Night by R. L. Stine
School: Newman Middle School
Reason Cited: Too mature for campus level audience
Action Taken: Banned

Denton ISD

Book: Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
School: Ginnings Elementary
Reason Cited: Sexual content or nudity
Action Taken: Use restricted
Note: Book was moved to secondary campus

The Ehrhart School

Book: Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
School: The Ehrhart School
Reason Cited: Promotes homosexual/lesbian couples
Action Taken: Banned

Florence ISD

Book: Stupid Fast by George Herbach
School: Florence Middle School
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed (curriculum only)

Fort Worth ISD

Book: Amulet (series) by Kaza Kibuishi
School: J. T. Stevens Elementary School
Reason Cited: Too graphic, inappropriate language
Action Taken: Use restricted

Book: Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
School: J. T. Stevens Elementary School
Reason Cited: Too graphic, inappropriate language
Action Taken: Use restricted

Book: Ghostopolis (series) by Doug TenNapel
School: J. T. Stevens Elementary School
Reason Cited: Too graphic, inappropriate language
Action Taken: Use restricted

Grand Prairie ISD

Book: How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman
School: Truman Middle School
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content, drugs or alcohol, reinforces the belief that anything is permissible as long as you can get away with it
Action Taken: Decision pending (has not gone before committee)

Highland ISD

Book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
School: The Highland School
Reason Cited: Offensive to religious sensitivities
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed (curriculum only)

Levelland ISD

Book: Ttfn by Lauren Myracle
School: Levelland Middle School
Reason Cited: Profanity, vulgarity
Action Taken: Banned

Book: L8r, g8r by Lauren Myracle
School: Levelland Middle School
Reason Cited: Profanity, vulgarity
Action Taken: Banned

Nederland ISD

Book: Leprechauns Don’t Play Basketball by Marcia Jones
School: Langham Elementary
Reason Cited: Book contained references to magic or wizardry
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed (curriculum only)

Northside ISD

Book: American Government Roots and Reform by Karen O’Connor, Larry J. Sabato, and Alixandra B. Yanus
School: Warren High School
Reason Cited: Text did not include a copy of the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence
Action Taken: Retained (no restriction)
Note: Students were provided with online access to these documents as well as paper copies

Overton ISD

Book: Lush by Natasha Friend
School: Overton Middle School
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content, offensive to religious sensitivities, drugs or alcohol
Action Taken: Use restricted

Red Oak ISD

Book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
School: iScholars Magnet Academy of Red Oak ISD
Reason Cited: Parent did not want the student reading about ghosts
Action Taken: Alternate assignment was provided for the student

Smithville ISD

Book: In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
School: Smithville High School
Reason Cited: Sexual content or nudity, politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed (curriculum only)

Book: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
School: Smithville High School
Reason Cited: Politically, racially, or socially offensive
Action Taken: Retained (no restrictions)

Vanguard Academy Charter School

Book: Enter 3 Witches: A Story of Macbeth by Caroline B. Cooney
School: Secondary School
Reason Cited: Violence or horror
Action Taken: Banned

Book: A Wizard of Mars by Diane Duane
School: Secondary School
Reason Cited: Violence or horror
Action Taken: Banned

Book: The Salem Witch Trial: A Reference by David K. Goss
School: Secondary School
Reason Cited: Violence or horror
Action Taken: Banned

Book: The Reformed Vampire Support by Catherine Jinks
School: Secondary School
Reason Cited: Violence or horror
Action Taken: Banned

Book: Cliques by Jen Jones
School: Secondary School
Reason Cited: Violence or horror
Action Taken: Banned

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Purse Bearer: A Novel of Love, Lust and Texas Politics

The Purse Bearer: A Novel of Love, Lust and Texas Politics by Joe Holley
$16.95, 323 pgs

First of all let me tell you a little something about the author of The Purse Bearer. Joe Holley is the politics editor and “Native Texan” columnist for the Houston Chronicle. He’s spent time at the Texas Observer and the Washington Post. He has been around politics, particularly Texas politics, forever. He also worked for Governor Ann Richards. So I tend to think he probably knows whereof he speaks and this should scare the hell out of everybody.

The Purse Bearer is the story of how a political innocent loses it in the muck of a Texas senatorial campaign in 1980. Wily T. Foxx (I swear that’s his name) is plucked out of his job scraping roadkill off the state’s highways to be a Boy Friday, a kind of personal assistant, in State Comptroller Rose Marie “Red” Ryder’s campaign to become the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Texas. The seasoned campaign operative who hand-picked Wily T. for the position and now functions as his mentor is Ewell Suskin – “Aboy” to his friends. Aboy is the son of a tent-revival evangelist and former owner/operator of a mobile foot massage parlor for OTR truck drivers.

Red is battling the heavily-favored Jimmy Dale Sisco for the privilege of representing the Lone Star State. Sisco is a wealthy banker and drugstore cowboy who will remind Texans of my generation of a certain other banker who battled a certain other woman for the office of governor, once upon a time. As we say here, “He’s all hat and no cattle.” Also, everyone knows that real cowboys wear Wranglers. Jimmy Dale Sisco wears Levis. The usual shenanigans ensue: dirty tricks (y’all are familiar with the term “honey trap,” yes?) vote buying, ballot stuffing, back room deals, dove hunting, debates and rampant foot-in-mouth disease. As it turns out, there’s a mole in Red’s campaign and loose lips not only sink ships – they get you shot at on ships.

At times The Purse Bearer reads like a Chamber of Commerce listing; all of the Texas trademarks are here: Neiman Marcus, Elgin Market barbecue, Luby’s Cafeteria, the King Ranch, Sul Ross State University, Heart O’ Texas Speedway, Dr. Pepper and Shiner Boch. At other times (and sometimes simultaneously) it would make a great geography lesson for students in seventh grade Texas history class: Possum Kingdom Lake on the plains, the black land prairie of Waxahachie, the Llano River of the Hill Country, Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park, shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico. There are plenty of Texans who will get a kick out of reading The Purse Bearer because they’ll recognize every single thing in it, remember the events, and will have visited, if not lived in, most of the locations.

I admit to being flummoxed; I don’t know what to do with this book. Is it farce? If it’s supposed to be farce then bravo – pitch perfect. The Purse Bearer is a (slightly) embellished mash-up of every famously ridiculous thing that has happened in Texas politics during the last fifty years. As such, you will recognize the set-up for almost every event and know what’s coming next from a mile away. For those of you who are going to jump on me with accusations that I lack a sense of the absurd you can check that at the door. This book was never meant to be great literature and should not be read or reviewed as such.

Joe Holley
I think The Purse Bearer is supposed to be a fond skewering by an insider of the absurdity that is so often Texas politics. But I don’t think it was meant to come off this thick with clichés and tiresome with stereotypes. No one in this story pronounces the letter “g” at the end of a word (someone actually says “rootin’ tootin’”) and everybody has two first names (Jimmy Dale and Bobby Ray and Joe Frank and Jo Lynne). Wily T. has an irritating habit of greeting people with, “Howdy-do.” I kept thinking that the Texas portrayed in The Purse Bearer certainly did exist but no longer. Granted, the setting is 34 years ago. Now it feels like a caricature.

But then I began thinking about the last election cycle and some of the yahoos we spawn down here. Loopy Louie Gohmert over in East Texas thinks the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated Washington. Ted Cruz thinks there’s a United Nations conspiracy to abolish golf. Rick Perry packs a pistol on his morning jogs in Austin and thinks British Petroleum is God. Blake Farenthold down in Corpus is most famous for photos of him wearing ducky pajamas while posing with lingerie models. So I am torn. What if I just don’t want it to be true? 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banning Books in Texas

Dallas, Texas
It's Banned Books Week in the United States and Highland Park Independent School District in Dallas has generously provided an immediate example proving that book banning is alive and well in 2014. Seven books have been "temporarily removed from classrooms." Those books are:
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Alexie's autobiographical novel won the National Book Award.
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Green's novels have earned a Printz and an Edgar award.
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Hesse won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. Morrison has won both the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize.
  • The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler. Shipler was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, and won a Pulitzer for General Nonfiction. 
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. Walls' book won the Christopher Award, the American Library Association's Alex Award and the Books for Better Living Award.
In addition, Highland Park High School may be looking for an alternative keynote speaker for their upcoming literary festival because they just yanked her book from the approved reading list. Yep. Jeanette Walls told the Dallas Morning News she was "heartbroken" over the decision to pull her book from the district's reading list. "What I worry is that in order to protect [students], we may be taking away the tools they need to protect themselves later on,” Walls said.

I'd like to point out that six of these books are objected to because of the usual: sex and language. However, complaints about The Working Poor included allegations that it was "anti-capitalism" and complaints about Siddhartha included its Buddhist philosophy. At that point we are banning ideas. As for the parent who suggested that the district abandon modern literature, I would suggest they read Shakespeare and Homer. If they've already read them then they weren't paying attention.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Texas Tuesday: West Texas Book Festival 2014

The fourteenth annual West Texas Book Festival began in Abilene yesterday and wraps up Saturday, September 27. West Texas book lovers can look forward to the following events:

Date & Time
Monday - Sept. 22
Lunch Program - New York Times best-selling author Deborah Crombie of McKinney will debut the 15th book in her Scotland Yard mystery series. To Dwell in Darkness is scheduled for worldwide release the next day. Bring your lunch or purchase a light lunch for $5. Drinks will be provided.
Monday - Sept. 22
Authors in Schools - Spelile Rivas will be speaking to students at schools in Abilene and Wylie.
Tuesday - Sept. 23
Abilene Public Library
Lunch Program -H. C. Zachry will talk about the new coffee table book on Frontier Texas!; Tiffany Fink will discuss her essay on “West Texas Women” from the book, West Texas: A History of the Giant Side of the State; Spelile Rivas will tell about her bilingual children’s books. Bring your lunch or purchase a light lunch for $5. Drinks will be provided.
Tuesday - Sept. 23
Public Schools
Authors in Schools - Spelile Rivas and Nathan Dahlstrom will be speaking to students at schools in Abilene and Wylie.
Tuesday - Sept. 23
5:30 p.m.
Abilene Public Library
Abilene Authors Showcase - Event for authors who live or work in Abilene or Taylor County and have had a book published within the last 12 months to display, sell and talk about their books.  If you qualify for this event, please contact Author Showcase Chair Carol Dromgoole at 325-698-9894 (leave a message) or email information  Information needed includes your name, mailing address, email address, phone number and title of book. 
Wednesday - Sept. 24
Abilene Public Library
Lunch Program - Spur Award winning western novelist Henry Chappell will talk about his novels,Silent We Stood, The Callings, and Blood Kin.Authors René Saldaña and Nathan Dahlstrom will discuss their books for young readers. Bring your lunch or purchase a light lunch for $5. Drinks will be provided.
Wednesday - Sept. 24
Public Schools
Authors in Schools - Nathan Dahlstrom and René Saldaña will be speaking to students at schools in Abilene and Wylie.
Thursday- Sept. 25
11:30 a.m.
TSTC Culinary Institute
901 N. 1st St.
Culinary Cuisine Luncheon featuring cookbook authors, $25, or $200 for a table of 8.
Thursday - Sept. 25
Public Schools
Authors in Schools - René Saldaña and Lee Bacon will be speaking to students at schools in Abilene and Wylie.
Thursday- Sept. 25
6 p.m.
Abilene Country Club
4039 S. Treadaway
Texas Cookbook Gala
Friday- Sept. 26
Abilene Public Library
Lunch Program - Five West Texas Authors –Rosa Latimer, Post, Harvey Houses of Texas (history); Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon, Lubbock, The Paragraph Ranch (novel); Bear Mills, Lubbock, The Ecuadorian Deception (novel); Russell Smith, San Angelo, The Gun That Wasn’t There and No Reason to Kill (true crime).
Friday- Sept. 26
Abilene Public Library
Publishing workshop featuring a panel of authors, editors, and publisher representatives. Panelists include Rosa Latimer, Kay Ellington, Barbara Brannon, Bear Mills, Russell Smith, Duane Anderson (ACU Press); Glenn Dromgoole, moderator.
Friday - Sept. 26
Public Schools
Authors in Schools - Lee Bacon will be speaking to students at schools in Abilene and Wylie.
Saturday - Sept. 27
8:30 a.m.
Registration begins and Festival Bookstore opens
Saturday- Sept. 27
Abilene Civic Center
Conversation with Lee Bacon, author of Joshua Dread series
Saturday- Sept. 27
Abilene Civic Center
Conversation with Glenn Dromgoole & Carlton Stowers, 101 Essential Texas Books
Saturday- Sept. 27
Abilene Civic Center
Conversation with Jay Moore, Abilene History in Plain Sight
Saturday- Sept. 27
Abilene Civic Center
Conversation with Stephen Harrigan, A. C. Greene Award Winner
Saturday - Sept. 27
Abilene Civic Center
Boots & Books Luncheon
    featuring Stephen Harrigan, A.C. Greene Award winner Remarks by Jay Moore, author of Abilene History in Plain Sight; Carlton Stowers, 101 Essential Texas Books and Comanche Trail; Lee Bacon, Joshua Dread series. Presentation of the Ricki Brown Abilene Librarian of the Year Award. Tickets $25 each, or $250 for table of 10.
Saturday- Sept. 27
Abilene Civic Center
Book Signings for Stephen Harrigan, Jay Moore, Lee Bacon, Carlton Stowers, Glenn Dromgoole, H. C. Zachry, Jeff Salmon, and Kim Snyder

Featured authors:

Stephen Harrigan - Austin - Harrigan , this year's A.C. Greene Award winner, was born in Oklahoma City in 1948 and has lived in Texas since the age of five, growing up in Abilene and Corpus Christi. He is the author of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, including The Gates of the Alamo, which became a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book, and received a number of awards, including the TCU Texas Book Award, the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and the Spur Award for Best Novel of the West. His most recent novel, Remember Ben Clayton, also won a Spur Award, as well as the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize, given by the Society of American Historians for the best work of historical fiction. Harrigan is a faculty fellow at UT’s James A. Michener Center for Writers and a writer-at-large for Texas Monthly.

Lee Bacon - Brooklyn, N.Y. - Bacon is an Abilene native and author of the Joshua Dread series of books for grades 4-8, which were selected for the Texas Library Association's Spirit of Texas Reading Program. He has worked with 826NYC, an after-school tutoring and writing center, as well as Citizen Schools, an apprenticeship program that partners with middle schools in low income communities.

Barbara Brannon - Lubbock - Editor and travel writer Brannon is author of The Ferries of North Carolina: A Guide to the State’s Nautical Highways. She has spent most of her career in book publishing and before coming to Texas led the groundbreaking Publishing Laboratory at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Henry Chappell - Parker, TX -Chappell was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1960. He moved to the Dallas, Texas area in 1982 where he worked as an electrical engineer in the defense industry. In 1986, Chappell read John Graves’ Goodbye to a River and knew then and there that he wanted to write. In the mid 1990s, he began work on a series of essays about the powerful bonds that connect hunter, land, and prey, published collectively as At Home on the Range with a Texas Hunter. The book received an Excellence in Craft Award from the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He later received the 2014 Silver Spur Award for his western historical novel Silent We Stand, a story about the Underground Railroad in Texas before the Civil War.

Deborah Crombie - McKinney -Crombie was born in Dallas and grew up in Richardson. She graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, with a degree in biology. In 1993 she wrote her first Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James novel. A Share in Death was subsequently given Agatha and Macavity nominations for Best First Novel of 1993. The fifth novel, Dreaming of the Bones , a New York Times Notable Book for 1997, was short-listed by Mystery Writers of America for the 1997 Edgar Award for Best Novel, won the Macavity award for Best Novel, and was voted by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association as one of the hundred best mysteries of the century. Her sixteenth Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novel, To Dwell in Darkness, will make its debut at this year's West Texas Book Festival on Sept. 22.

Nathan Dahlstrom - Lubbock - Dahlstrom writes under the pen name S. J. Dahlstrom. An avid outdoorsman and founder of Whetstone Boys Ranch, Nathan has numerous magazine credits for his writing and photography. He has spent his life bouncing around the outdoors from New Mexico and Texas, north to Colorado and Montana and east to Michigan and New York. The Adventures of Wilder Good is his first book series. In his writing he draws on his experiences as a cowboy, husband, father and a boy’s ranch founder, and he has been encouraged and mentored in his writing by John Erickson, author of the Hank the Cowdog series at the 2012 A. C. Greene Award.

Glenn Dromgoole - Abilene- Dromgoole is the author of twenty-six books, with two more due out in 2014. His books cover a wide range of topics and styles, mixing whimsy with a generous dose of optimism. Most of his books are still in print, including What Dogs Teach Us, which was a New York Times Bestseller Plus selection for eight weeks, reaching Number 24 in Hardcover Nonfiction in 1999. Glenn’s most recent books are more regional in focus – Abilene Stories; West Texas Christmas Stories; Coleman Springs USA; and Good Night Little Texan. He also co-authored 101 Essential Texas Books. He and his wife Carol own Texas Star Trading Company in downtown Abilene, featuring Texas books, gourmet and gifts. He is founder and chairman of the West Texas Book Festival, and he also organizes the Texas Author Series every spring at the Library.

Kay Ellington - Lubbock - Ellington is a native West Texan and an alumna of the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, has worked in newspaper audience and content development for thirty years from New York to California to the Carolinas and back again to Texas.

Tiffany Fink - Abilene - Fink is a Hardin-Simmons University associate professor of history, and author of an essay on "West Texas Women" in West Texas: A History of the Giant Side of the State. She teaches courses related to the histories of the United States and Latin America, including: Texas and the Southwestern United States, the American West, Native American Studies, Mexico and the Caribbean, Twentieth Century Latin America, and Cultural Geography. She also works with students in a variety of ways outside the classroom through offering local field trips, sponsoring students at history conferences, advising students about the wide array of professions available to history majors, and serving as faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta National Honor Society for History. She also serves as a patroness for Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity.

Rosa Walston Latimer - Post - Latimer is the owner of Ruby Lane Books, an independent bookstore, and author of Harvey Houses of Texas: Historic Hospitality from the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle.

Bear Mills - Lubbock - Mills is the former Texas Teacher of the Year and author of a thriller set in South America, The Ecuadorian Deception.

Jay Moore - Abilene - Moore is an Abilene historian and author of the book Abilene History in Plain Sight, a follow-up to his award-winning video series on Abilene history. He was co-author with Glenn Dromgoole and Joe Specht of Abilene Stories, from Then to Now. Moore holds a master’s degree in history and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Hardin-Simmons University and teaches World Geography and U.S. History at Abilene High. Moore was awarded the 2013 Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities Award and was the 2011 winner of the Maxine Perini Award from the Taylor County Historical Commission.

Spelile Rivas - Arlington - Rivas was born in Houston, Texas and raised in Denver, Colorado, and Orange, Texas, by a family that hammered in, and prospered from, the benefits of an education, Rivas decided to write inspirational stories for children based on her teaching and mothering experience. Her most rewarding, and surprising, outcome of writing has been the acclaim received by her first book, No Time for Monsters/No Hay Tiempo Para Monstruos, winner of the 2010-2011 Tejas Star Book Award. She currently stays at home caring for her daughters and writing. The various perspectives that Spelile has gained have helped to make her stories inspirational, insightful, funny, creative, sometimes quirky, but always an experience.

René Saldaña, Jr. - Edinburg - Saldaña is an author of Latino young adult literature and is assistant professor language and literacy in the College of Education at Texas Tech. His stories include different issues that affect teenagers today such as love, danger, loyalty, pride, tragedy, family, and self-discovery. His books include A Good Long Way, The Whole Sky Full of Stars, The Jumping Tree, Finding Our Way, and his new series of bilingual mysteries featuring Mickey Rangel, fifth grade detective. Dr. Saldaña believes that if reluctant and non-readers are shown literature that validates them and their culture in respectful and accurate ways, they will be more encouraged to take a more active role in their own literacy education.

Russell Smith - San Angelo - Smith is the retired San Angelo police chief and author of The Gun That Wasn’t There, No Reason to Kill, and How I Published 4 Books in 6 Years (mistakes included).

Carlton Stowers - Cedar Hill - Stowers is the 2007 A.C. Greene Award winner. His books include bestsellers To the Last Breath and Careless Whispers , both winners of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Allen Poe Award as the Best Fact Crime Book of the Year, Innocence Lost , and his autobiographical Sins of the Son . His books have been selections of the Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, Doubleday Book Club, True Crime Book Club, Preferred Choice Book Club, Playboy Book Club and Guideposts Book Club. He has written three books this year, including 101 Essential Texas Books, co-authored with Glenn Dromgoole, and his first novel, Comanche Trail .

H. C. Zachry - Abilene - Business owner, artist, and civic leader, Zachry was one of the editors, along with Jeff Salmon and Kim Snyder, of the new coffee table book, Frontier Texas!: A Journey through the Wild West.

I'll see y'all there Friday and Saturday!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Roundup! September 22 - 28

Bookish events in Texas for the week of September 22 - 28, 2014:

Special Events:
Love Libros, El Paso, September 15 - October 15

West Texas Book Festival, Abilene, September 22 - 27

Greenleaf Book Group Author Summit, Austin, September 25 - 26

Alamo City Comic Con, San Antonio, September 26 - 28

Art & Words Collaborative Show, Fort Worth, September 27 - October 4

Confederate Reunion Grounds - Mexia, In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez, September 27 - November 30

Houston LibroFest, September 27

Tweens Read, Pasadena, September 27

ARTE DE LAS AMERICAS FEST!, Dallas, September 28

Monday, September 22:
BookPeopleBestselling Author CHRIS GUILLEBEAU speaking & signing The Happiness of Pursuit, 7PM

Houston Museum of Natural Science - Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, HMNS Distinguished Lecture Series: Dr. Harry Greene will lecture and sign his latest book, Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art, 6:30PM

Houston Public Library - Heights Branch, Penguins!” with author Melissa Guion , 12PM

Tuesday, September 23:
B&N - Arboretum, Reading and Book-Signing With Brian Hart: The Bully of Order A Novel, 7PM

BookPeopleAcclaimed Austin Author LAWRENCE WRIGHT speaking & signing Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, 7PM

BookPeopleTexas Teen Book Festival Fundraiser, 7PM

Cherrywood Coffee House, Bat City Review reading series with Kelly Luce, Layne Ransom & Sam Sax, 7PM

Spider House Cafe & BallroomAustin Poetry Slam, 8PM


El Paso
The Black Orchid Lounge, Barbed Wire Open Mic Series (A BorderSenses Event) featuring Donna Snyder’s book release “Poemas Ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal” and the music of Anthony Jimenez, 8PM

Farmers Branch
Farmers Branch Manske Library, Poetry Reading with Award Winner, R. Flowers Rivera, 7PM

B&N, San Pedro, Sun Poets' Society Open Mic Poetry, 7PM

B&N, San Pedro, David Liss Signing The Day of Atonement, 7PM

Southtown 101, Puro Poetry Slam!, 9:30PM

The Storybook Garden, author meet and greet with Estela Bernal, 6:30PM

Wednesday, September 24:
BookPeople, Bestselling Author of Underwater Dogs SETH CASTEEL speaking & signing
Underwater Puppies, 7PM

Huston-Tillotson University, Visiting Writers Series reading featuring Laurie Ann Guerrero and Tim Z. Hernandez, 7PM

Malvern BooksW. Joe’s Poetry Corner with Lyman Grant, 7PM


B&N - Lincoln Park, Deborah Crombie: To Dwell in Darkness (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Series #16), 7PM

Brazos Bookstore, Merritt Tierce - LOVE ME BACK, 7PM

San Antonio
B&N - La Cantera, Voices de la Luna poetry group meets for a writing workshop followed by a reading, 6PM

Thursday, September 25:
BookPeopleTexas Writers' League: THIRD THURSDAY PANEL, 7PM

BookPeopleNew York Time-bestselling Author ERIC SCHLOSSER speaking & signing Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, 7PM

The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Culture Center, CHASING THE SUN - A reading by AUTHOR NATALIA SYLVESTER, 7PM



Two Bronze Doors, Pegasus Reading Series featuring Chloe Honum, author of The Tulip-Flame and Courtney Marie, curator of The Spiderweb Salon, 7PM

Lakewood Brewing Company, Booktoberfest, 6:30PM

Brazos BookstoreBarbara Barnes Sims - THE NEXT ELVIS, 7PM

Poison Girl Cocktail Lounge, Poisoned Pen Reading Series featuring David Tomas Martinez, 8:30PM

Irving Public Library - Central Library, an evening with author Adi Alsaid who will discuss his highly anticipated YA debut novel Let’s Get Lost, 7PM

San Antonio
B&N - San Pedro, Mari MancusiShattered, 7PM

The Twig Book Shop, Jay Brandon will sign and discuss Shadow Knight's Mate, 5PM

Friday, September 26:
BookPeopleAcclaimed Author WAYNE THORBURN speaking & signing Red State: An Insider's Story7PM

Malvern Books, Join the editors at Revista Pterodáctilo, a journal of Latin American literature, arts, and culture, for the excellent combination of tamales (!) and poetry featuring bilingual poetry readings byIgnacio Carvajal and Christina Marie Lancastar, 6:30PM

B&N - Stonebriar Mall, Lindsay Cummings: Balance Keepers #1 The Fires of Calderon, 7PM

Brazos Bookstore, Margot Backus - SCANDAL WORK, 7PM

Murder by the Book, Deborah Crombie will sign and discuss To Dwell in Darkness, 6:30PM

San Antonio
UTSA, Letras en la Frontera presents 4 author readings with Octavio Quintanilla, Rossy Lima, Erika Said & Ramiro Rodriguez, 10AM

Saturday, September 27:
B&N - Arboretum, Meet & Greet Book Signing with Martha Louise Huntera: Painting Juliana, 2PM

Half Price Books - the Mother Ship, Meet local author Benjamin Scott Allen as he signs his book Out of the Ashes: Healing in the Afterloss, 4PM

SMU Bookstore, Chef Adán Medrano will offer tastings and sign copies of his book, Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage in Recipes, 12PM

El Paso
Cafe Mayapan, 100 Thousand Poets & Artists for Change, 6PM

The Rock House Cafe and Gallery, The Barbed Wire Open Mic Series, 8PM

Fort Worth
B&N - Houston Champions, Joy Preble signs The A-Word (Sweet Dead Life Series #2), 2PM
Brazos Bookstore, Read Dangerously: A Day with Banned Books, 2PM

Katy Budget Books, Whit McClendon signing Mage's Burden, 1PM

NOKturne, Transcendent Zero Press presents 100,000 Poets for Change, 6:30PM

Rothko Chapel, Love Your Enemies – an Interactive Workshop: Sharon Salzberg and Tenzin Robert Thurman, Ph.D., lead a community workshop based on their 2013 book Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier with a book signing to follow, 10AM

Writespace, The Secrets of Effective Characterization workshop with INSTRUCTOR: K.J. RUSSELL, 1PM

Writespace, Open Mic, 8PM


B&N - Creekwalk Village, Meet Mystery Author Nicholas Bridwell: The Ties That Bind, 2PM

Round Rock
B&N - La Frontera, R. J. Palacio: 365 Days of Wonder Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts, 4PM

The Book Spot, Brad Stutzman, 12PM

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014!

Each year, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported. Therefore, we do not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges.

Over this recent past decade, 5,099 challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
1,577 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material;
1,291 challenges due to "offensive language";
989 challenges due to materials deemed "unsuited to age group";
619 challenged due to "violence"' and
361 challenges due to "homosexuality."

Further, 274 materials were challenged due to "occult" or "Satanic" themes, an additional 291 were challenged due to their "religious viewpoint," and 119 because they were "anti-family."

Please note that the number of challenges and the number of reasons for those challenges do not match, because works are often challenged on more than one ground.

1,639 of these challenges were in school libraries; 1,811 were in classrooms; 1,217 took place in public libraries. There were 114 challenges to materials used in college classes; and 30 to academic libraries. There are isolated cases of challenges to library materials made available in or by prisons, special libraries, community groups, and students. The vast majority of challenges were initiated by parents (2,535), with patrons and administrators to follow (516 and 489 respectively).

Most challenged books of 2013 (as reported through July 31, 2013):

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Thanks to the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.