Non-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
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
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
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.