This is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where bloggers relate their "top ten" of a certain topic. This week's topic - Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who ______. Well, I decided to feature books with characters that live in my home state of Texas. And they are not even mysteries. Take note - that probably won't happen very often - the no mystery thing. I have read some of these, but not all. Some have been adapted for film or TV. Likely you will recognize those. So come on down, y'all - welcome to Texas - The Lone Star State.
1. Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger - I have read this non-fiction book, which tells about the famous Odessa Permian High School football team. I went to high school in Austin and, believe me, everyone knew about Odessa Permian. And football is a big deal here, but it's not the only sport. Many have likely watched the TV show, Friday Night Lights. I have not. I did marry a high school football player. He married the quiet girl, who barely said boo to anyone.
2. Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson - I have not read this non-fiction account of the terrible 1900 hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas. It tells of the early days of the U.S. Weather Bureau and Isaac Cline's belief that nothing could fatally damage the city of Galveston, where he was based. He was wrong. Hurricanes are a fact of life for the states that surround the Gulf of Mexico. If you've spent any of amount of time in this area, you're familiar with severe storms.
3. Monday, Monday by Elizabeth Crook - I read this book last year when it was the Mayor's Book Club selection for an all-city read at the Austin Public Library. Monday, Monday begins on the University of Texas campus on a hot summer day in August, 1966. That was the day that Charles Whitman went up to the top of the UT Tower and used a sniper rifle to kill 16 people and wound 32 others. This is a fictional account of that tragedy and the story of 3 students caught up in that event. It relates their lives for the next 40 years. I really enjoyed it, especially because of the care the author took to research the settings of Austin and other Texas locations.
4. You Know When The Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon - I also read this book with a book group and emailed a bit with the author. It is a series of stories about soldiers stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, a few miles north of Austin. There are stories of the soldiers themselves, but mostly it's about their families, their wives and husbands and how they cope or don't. The author is herself a military wife and she writes with knowledge and experience. A powerful book that I recommend highly.
5. Texas by James Michener - I read this book many years ago, in the time that I read long, long books fairly regularly. If you've never read a Michener book, they are very detailed and have meticulous research and they are long........long. This is a history of the land of Texas, the state of Texas, the nation of Texas, and all the people who have called this area their home. I loved it. The story goes from prehistoric times to the Spanish discovery and then all the way to the Space Age. Through all of our six flags. An epic journey.
6. 11/22/63 by Stephen King - I have not read this one yet and will likely try it on audio. I do understand that there will be a TV adaptation next year with James Franco as the lead. I am a big Stephen King fan and I'm interested in this book with the famous date - the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, TX. I was a little girl at the time and don't have much memory of the day, but I do remember that my father, who worked for the state police, had to help with a small part of the investigation. Our Texas Governor John Connally was also wounded in that tragedy. 11/22/63 tells the story of a man who is able to time travel and has the ability to possibly change history.
7. Giant by Edna Ferber - Another one that I have not read. I have, however, seen the movie adaptation several times. It stars Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean and is a classic. The story is about cattle, big landowners, and the discovery of oil. And, no, not everyone who lives in Texas was raised with cattle or has struck oil or owns a lot of land. But the sight of cows and oil derricks and wide open spaces is quite familiar to me.
8. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - I have not read this book, but I did see the TV adaptation with Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall. An epic story of the American West in the late 1800's - cattle drives, Texas Rangers, outlaws, horses, small towns, dust, violence. This book and the ones that come after have it all. My husband loved it.
9. The Liar's Club by Mary Karr - I read and discussed this book with a group several years ago. It is a memoir of the life of American poet Mary Karr and her Texas childhood in Port Arthur, an oil refinery town. She had quite the interesting family. This book was on front end of the memoir trend and it is a good one.
10. The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie de Paola - I read this children's book many, many times to my daughter and it was one she took with her when she grew up. The bluebonnet is the Texas state flower and it appears in the springtime. It's especially vivid and plentiful when we have had a lot of rain, like this year. This story is about a little Comanche girl whose tribe is threatened by a drought. She sacrifices her greatest possession and the Great Spirit not only sends the needed rain, but also sends the bluebonnet flower. The pictures below were taken in my yard and they are indeed bluebonnets. And bluebonnets and the other wildflowers that we have here are my favorite part of spring.
Hope you've enjoyed this little tour of my home state of Texas. If you haven't visited, you are most welcome to come by and see what we have to offer.