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A collection of book covers on a white background

Courtesy Grand Central Publishing (Meadowlark), Vintage (Martita…), Philomel Books (Living Beyond…), Copper Canyon Press (Burying…), Jesse Griffiths/Hog Book (The Hog Book), Simon & Schuster (The Magician), University of Texas Press (Teaching…)

After this summer of ups and downs, inspiration and solace can still be found in a good read. Thankfully, 2021’s fall book season offers an impressive field of highly anticipated books from well-known and debut authors. More specifically, closer to home, there are multiple captivating titles with ties to the Lone Star State. From a new bilingual novella from the beloved Sandra Cisneros (author of the classic The House on Mango Street) to a comprehensive hog-centric cookbook, you’ll likely find something in this seasonal roundup that suits your taste and literary preferences. Good reading!

(Want more great reads? Here is a list of Texas books for every age from 1 to 100.)

Courtesy Grand Central Publishing

Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story
By Ethan Hawke and Greg Ruth (Grand Central Publishing)

Taking place over the course of a day, this memorable graphic novel begins with a son paying a visit to his father, Jack “Meadowlark” Johnson, a former boxer who works as a guard at one of the prisons in Huntsville. What ensues is a suspenseful crime noir brought on by a chaotic prison break. This pulp fiction spin on the conventional father-son narrative engrosses readers with Ruth’s precise sepia-toned illustrations and Hawke’s noir tale that bring to life this propulsive story full of hairpin turns and detours. Meadowlark is the pair’s second collaboration after publishing the bestselling Indeh in 2015.

Courtesy Vintage Books

Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo: A Story in English and Spanish
By Sandra Cisneros (Vintage)

In this bilingual novella (written originally in English and translated into Spanish by Liliana Valenzuela), master writer Sandra Cisneros tells the story of Corina, a Mexican American from Chicago who relives an earlier time of her life in Paris after discovering a store of forgotten letters. Fans of Cisneros, a former longtime San Antonio resident, will relish this new book that pays tribute to the power, tenderness, and loneliness of formidable coming-of-age friendships and how they press an imprint on young women for a lifetime. (Be sure to see Cisneros at this year’s Texas Book Festival in October.)

Courtesy Philomel Books

Living Beyond Borders: Growing up Mexican in America
Edited by Margarita Longoria (Philomel Books)

This YA anthology spotlights 20 short stories, comics, poems, and essays that explore life as a Mexican American from a variety of perspectives. Some of the celebrated and award-winning authors include Francisco X. Stork, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, and Rubén Degollado. Longoria is a former librarian from South Texas and has spent much of her career celebrating and supporting the voices of young Mexican American writers. This volume delivers with a surprising and entertaining read for adults and teens alike. “Longoria’s careful curation imbues a fuller understanding of Mexican American experiences,” writes a reviewer in Publishers Weekly.

Courtesy Copper Canyon Press

Burying the Mountain
By Shangyang Fang (Copper Canyon Press, out October 2021)

A former poetry fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin and a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Shangyang Fang grew up in Chengdu, China, and studied civil engineering before his graduate studies as a poet. Writing in both English and Chinese, Fang conjures up the musicality of ancient Chinese poetry while meditating on a diverse number of themes, such as political erasure, exile, nothingness, and remembrance.

Courtesy University of Texas Press

Teaching Black History to White People
By Leonard N. Moore (University of Texas Press, out Sept. 14)

Though this book is designed for teachers of Black history, the narrative is engaging and thought-provoking for a wide range of readers. A popular professor of Black Studies at UT, Moore has spent 25 years teaching Black history to classrooms full of mostly white students. Drawn from these firsthand experiences, Moore sets forth provocative questions—for instance, “What came first? Slavery or racism?”—while simultaneously providing complex, nuanced answers. “An important, sympathetic effort to elucidate matters of Black lives while expanding intellectual horizons,” praises Kirkus Reviews.

The Magician
By Colm Toíbín (Simon & Schuster)

A frequent visiting writer at the Michener Center for Writers, the acclaimed Irish writer returns with his 10th novel, a compelling fictional retelling of Thomas Mann’s life and intimate biography. Author of the classic The Magic Mountain, Mann spent much of his early life in Munich, Germany, but in 1933, he and his family eventually exiled to the United States. In this expansive, epic novel, Toíbín examines the emotional undercurrents of sexuality, marriage, and national identity in this complex portrait of Mann and his wife, Katia.

Courtesy The Hog Book

The Hog Book: A Chef’s Guide to Hunting, Preparing and Cooking Wild Pigs
By Jesse Griffiths (self-published, out late September)

From the award-winning chef and co-owner of the popular Dai Due restaurant and butcher shop in East Austin comes an in-depth cookbook dedicated to all aspects of hunting, cooking, and eating wild hogs. Over the years, Griffiths has offered a hunting class as a way to introduce Texans to the finer points of learning how to hunt and eat the invasive species found in our state. From savory stews to sausages, the book offers readers a slew of recipes and a guide on how to prepare the various cuts of a hog. Place an order for this uniquely Texas cookbook here.

In Case You Missed Them

Discover these 2021 books previously covered by Texas Highways

Metro Music: Celebrating a Century of the Trinity River Groove
By Gene Fowler and William Williams

Willie Nelson’s Letter’s to America
By Willie Nelson with Turk Pipkin

The Hunting Wives
By May Cobb

I See You Big German: Dirk Nowitzki and What He Means to Dallas (and Me)
By Zac Crain

The June 2022 cover of Texas Highways Magazine, featuring an illustration of Texas objects and the text "Postcards from the Perimeter"


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The July 2022 issue of Texas Highways Magazine, "Return to the River"


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The July 2022 cover of Texas Highways Magazine, the River Issue


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