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Read State

My list of the best Texas books ever written. 

November 2014By and

Out of my always-churning maelstrom of treasured Texas titles, these ten (listed in no special order) arise from my current reflections, either because the books are always with me—abiding voices like William Goyen’s and Sandra Cisneros’s—or because they’ve been important in my explorations of deep Texas time. Another sounding in another year might come up with other titles. I’ve chosen a catalog and an anthology for their value in presenting a host of artifacts and a range of literary statements; maybe someday I’ll get around to reading more Texas novels. On the fraught matter of making such a list, I’m reminded of J. Frank Dobie’s sage remarks at the opening of his Guide to Life and Literature of the Southwest. “Its emphases vary according to my own indifferences and ignorance as well as according to my own sympathies and knowledge.

  1. No. 1 Stone Artifacts of Texas IndiansEllen Sue Turner, Thomas R. Hester, and Richard L. McReynolds, editors
  2. No. 2 Tongues of the Monte (1935) and A Texan in England (1945)J. Frank Dobie
  3. No. 3 With His Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (1958)Américo Paredes
  4. No. 4 Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History (2010)S. C. Gwynne
  5. No. 5 Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression Turned Mexicans Into Americans (2003)Benjamin Heber Johnson
  6. No. 6 Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987)Gloria Anzaldúa
  7. No. 7 Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature (2006)Dagoberto Gilb, editor
  8. No. 8 Woman Hollering Creek (1991)Sandra Cisneros
  9. No. 9 The Secret School (1997)Whitley Strieber
  10. No. 10 The House of Breath (1950)William Goyen

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