Ten Books Set in Texas

Posted 17 August, 2016 by Trish in Reading Nook / 20 Comments


Ten Books Set in TexasNon-native Texans always joke that they might not have been born here, but they got here as fast as they could. 26 years ago my family moved from Toronto to Texas and I’m not sure I could consider anywhere else home. I love this state–for all of its faults. Texas seems to be such a bold state and many of the books I’ve included below are quintessentially Texan.

I missed this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), but the topic is Books with X Setting. I played around with books not set in our world (Discworld!) or books set after an apocalypse, but then decided to look to my own state for inspiration since Lonesome Dove is the book I vowed to read this year.

Ten Books Set in Texas

Texas Books 1


11/22/63 by Stephen King – While King’s books are generally set in Maine, this favorite of mine is set in my own big city (Dallas). There’s lots of history in 11/22/63, but besides that it’s just a damn good story. A must read! Amazon | Goodreads

The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing, All the Pretty Horses, Cities of the Plain) – Many of McCarthy’s books are set in Texas and the outcome of these stories is often as bleak as the landscape of West Texas. One could argue that the landscape in the Border Trilogy plays as big of a roll as any of the characters.  Amazon | Goodreads

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Cowboys cowboys cowboys. So very Texan. Even today (I married one). Amazon | Goodreads

Borderlands / La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua – The border between Mexico and Texas plays a huge role in the lives of so many on both sides. In this collection of poems/prose, Anzaldua discusses identity and how borders are blurred in all aspects of life. Amazon | Goodreads

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon – Fort Hood is one of the largest army bases in the United States and is smack in the middle of Texas. In Fallon’s collection of interconnected short stories, she highlights life for the women on the base, particularly when their men have gone on tour overseas. Amazon | Goodreads


Texas Books 2

Ride the Wind by Lucia St Clair Robson – Although this story is fictionalized, it tells of Cynthia Ann Parker who was kidnapped by Comanches in the 1830s, married to one of the chiefs, and mothered Quanah Parker (one of the last Comanche cheiftons). I loved this book. Amazon | Goodreads

Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros – Another look at border life, through short stories, from one of the leading Chicana authors (you know her from The House on Mango Street).  Amazon | Goodreads

Texas by James A. Michener – Ha! Truthfully I haven’t been able to get through this slog of a saga yet, but how could ignore a book titled Texas? One day I’ll get through this huge tome on my shelves.  Amazon | Goodreads

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger – The year that my baby brother went to college was the first year that I hadn’t attended football games in decades. Friday Night Lights refers to the lights that shine down on high school football–the game that is king in Texas. Nonfiction. Amazon | Goodreads

In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel – I’ve covered west Texas, the border, and Dallas, so that leaves us with east Texas where the land is swampy and the air thick as butter. The atmosphere of In the Midnight Rain plays a huge part of the mysterious, romancy story. Amazon | Goodreads

Sadly enough, I haven’t read all of the books on this list though I own them all. Since making my list, I’ve also discovered books like Holes and Giant that seem to be must reads when it comes to Texas. This makes me feel like a bad Texan and I’m definitely making a list to amend my bad ways.

What books come to mind when you think of Texas?


20 Responses to “Ten Books Set in Texas”

  1. I had forgotten that Midnight Rain takes place in Texas! For some reason I always thought it was set in Louisiana but now that I really think about it it is Texas! I actually haven’t been to Texas except for a few stops at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport but I didn’t leave the airport so it doesn’t count. J has had to spend a lot of time in Houston for work and he’s not a fan! One day we’ll really explore the state though.

    • Lisa and I actually had the same debate about Midnight Rain. I think maybe Ellie’s from Louisiana but the part with Blue definitely takes place in Texas. Either way…Blue. :) Houston isn’t my favorite either!

  2. As Katherine stated above, I’ve only been in Texas to pass through– the D/FW airport for two hours, and drove through the very top of the state on our way to CA. I’ve read and enjoyed several books set here, but other than the titles you listed above, the names escape me at the moment.

    I did read You Know When the Men Are Gone last year and it was a good one. We have the King book on the kindle and my husband and son read it already, but somehow I haven’t been in the mood for this chunkster yet. Someday, though. I do want to read (and watch!) Friday Night Lights. Have been putting it off but even though I don’t prefer football I still want to. And I do know that Barbara Samuel is the romance author’s maiden name for Barbara O’Neal, the contemporary “women’s fiction” author who I do enjoy reading.

    Thanks for a great list! I love to read any and all lists everywhere :)

  3. SarahBeth

    I’ve started to read Friday Night Lights and I keep putting it down. I really need to read it because it’s supposed to be so fantastic. I love football, but football in high school up here in nothing like it is in the south, especially Texas.

    • I confess that it’s one of the ones I haven’t read. It’s my husband’s book so I forget about it. LOL! I keep hearing raves about the series but have only seen the movie. Though I prefer Varsity Blues. ;)

  4. Oh of course – 11/22/63! How had I forgotten that one when I saw your question on Twitter?! It’s one of my all-time faves!

    And I’m now remembering a couple more: The After Party and The Big Rich (nonfiction).

    • It was the first that came to mind…I think maybe because of the Dallas connection. Plus it’s a favorite. :) I haven’t heard of The After Party or The Big Rich so need to check them out–thanks for the suggestions.

  5. Leila Meacham’s books are set in Texas. I really enjoyed Roses. My mom grew up in Houston so I spent a lot of my childhood in Houston. I’ve only been to Dallas a handful of times. But I also love San Antonio.

  6. Parts of The Stand by Stephen King take place in Texas too. I don’t know if that counts for you list, though, since it’s not the main place or even the place the characters end up.

  7. I actually haven’t read any of these! :( But I have watched (and loved) the Friday Night Lights series several times. One of my favorite Texas books is Philipp Meyer’s The Son. It’s one of those big, multi-gen family stories totally steeped in Texas history. SO GOOD.

  8. I’ve only read one book from Cormac McCarthy and unfortunately I don’t tend to read books set in Texas. I’m actually trying to come up with a title. Yikes. I think it’s probably because I live here that I don’t feel like I need to read books set in Texas.

  9. Lisa

    Have you seen the movie “Giant?” It’s about as Texas as you can get so I imagine the book is, too. I didn’t even know there was a book until not too long ago. Someday. ..

  10. Neither of my parents were born here, but they somehow made their way here from opposite sides of the country and I was lucky enough to be born here. Great list! Texas drives me crazy most of the time but I love it, too.

    Here’s my Top Ten!