What to Read This Month
The best books by and for Texans coming out in June 2017.
Don’t call it a reprint: the second edition of Michael Corcoran’s All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music (University of North Texas Press) not only revises every chapter of the original 2005 volume, it includes new entries on Janis Joplin, Freddy Fender, King Curtis, and a dozen other luminaries. Maybe twelve years from now the third edition will offer the Austin writer’s takes on Flaco Jiménez, Victoria Spivey, and Blind Lemon Jefferson.
Texas Monthly contributing editor Jan Reid’s third novel, Sins of the Younger Sons (TCU Press, June 16), follows an ex-Marine with deep Texas ties who infiltrates a Basque separatist organization in Spain—and finds himself falling in love with el comandante’s beautiful wife.
The opening of Benjamin Taylor’s The Hue and Cry at Our House (Penguin)—in which the author boasts to his sixth-grade classmates of shaking John F. Kennedy’s hand on the last morning of the president’s life—sounds like the opening of a hundred other memoirs of the day JFK died. But what follows—the childhood travails and triumphs of a Jewish, asthmatic, “going-to-be-homosexual” from Fort Worth—is closer to Proust than to William Manchester.
By the time Warren Skaaren died, in 1990, the former executive director of the Texas Film Commission was one of the most successful screenwriters in the world, having worked on Top Gun, Beetlejuice, and Batman. In Rewrite Man: The Life and Career of Screenwriter Warren Skaaren (University of Texas Press, May 30), Alison Macor exhaustively tells the story of a man who won Hollywood’s respect (and at times ire) even though he rarely left Austin.