Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 Great Books About Texas

Selected by Glenn Dromgoole
Texas Star Trading Company

If someone were to ask me to recommend 10 Texas books they should have on their shelf, here are some I would suggest. They rank among the best Texas books ever published, and all are still in print. In fact, they are available from Texas Star Trading Company and our web site,, at 10 percent off retail price.

The Time It Never Rained, a novel by Elmer Kelton about the drought of the 1950s. Kelton, voted by his peers as the greatest Western writer ever, considers this his signature book.

The Train to Estelline, a novel by Jane Roberts Wood about a teacher in a one-room school in West Texas. First in a trilogy that includes A Place Called Sweet Shrub and Dance a Little Longer.

Lonesome Dove, generally regarded as the best novel by Larry McMurtry.

Lone Star Literature, edited by Don Graham, an impressive anthology that includes pieces by more than 60 great Texas writers.

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog, the first of John Erickson's lovable series, considered a children's book for ages 9-12 but popular with adults as well.

The Longhorns by J. Frank Dobie, which explains in story and legend the historical significance of the Texas Longhorn, the cattle drive, and the cowboy. You might also check out Learning from Longhorns, which I co-authored with Lester Galbreath, longtime manager of the state Longhorn herd. We pay tribute to Dobie's book in ours.

Texas Cowboy Cooking by Tom Perini, probably the best-selling (and best) Texas cookbook ever published. At Texas Star, it is our best-selling book of any genre year after year, and we usually have autographed copies available. We also recommend my mother-in-law's great down-home cookbook, You'll Be Going Back for Seconds, our second best-selling cookbook. Oh, and you might want to try a can of Perini steak rub.

A Personal Country by A. C. Greene, maybe the best book ever about West Texas. A.C. grew up in Abilene, then made his literary reputation in Dallas. He lent his name to the A.C. Greene Award presented every year at the West Texas Book & Music Festival to a distinguished Texas author. He also wrote The 50 Best Books on Texas, several of which are on my list as well.

Goodbye to a River by John Graves, sometimes considered the best book about Texas, period. Not sure I would go that far, but certainly it's one of the best. It is a story of his canoe trip down the Brazos before dams and developments changed the river forever.

Interwoven by Sallie Reynolds Matthews, a memoir by a pioneer woman about life on the Texas frontier.