Do You Live in One of the Top Five Places for Books in Texas?

Lone Star Literary Life compiled a list of the best places for readers and writers in the Lone Star State.

By Rhonda FanningMarch 13, 2017 2:44 pm

An online magazine covering books and other literature has laid out their top book destinations in Texas, a curated list of cities and their outstanding literary places and events.

Michelle Newby, contributing editor at Lone Star Literary Life, says the variety of places that made the list mirrors the diversity of Texas itself.

“There’s so much diversity in there is so much going on,” Newby says. “Texas is a great place for books.”

The magazine’s top five book-loving cities were chosen  based 45 criteria – though Newby admits the choices are highly subjective.

Here are Lone Star Literary Life’s top five:

5. Midland-Odessa/Permian Basin

Literary culture ranges from Odessa’s Books in the Basin, the largest book festival in the Permian region, to Odessa College’s Globe Theater of the Southwest, which just wrapped up its Shakespeare festival.

4. Abilene

The presence of The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature and its annual children’s art and literacy festival all indicate that Abilene is a great place for kids’ books. In 2015 the legislature made it official.

“The 84th Texas Legislature proclaimed Abilene the official Storybook Capital of Texas,” Newby says.

The city is also bookish in other ways. Authors Steve Harrigan and Karen Whitmeyer both have ties to the city.

3. Dallas

Newer indie bookstores including The Wild Detectives in the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff and Deep Vellum Books in Deep Ellum have kept Dallas at the forefront of literary culture.

“Dallas has experienced sort of a literary renaissance in the last three or four years,” Newby says.

Dallas has more than indies to offer, too. Half Price Books, the third largest chain of bookstores in the country was founded there in 1972

2. Houston

A host of literary events and publishers give Houston readers plenty to be happy about. The world-famous creative writing program at the University of Houston, Inprint, Houston’s nationally-known writing series and Arte Publico Press, the largest Latino press in the country, both contribute to the city’s number two spot on the list.

1. Austin

The capital city is home to the Texas Book Festival, but Newby says the city’s devotion to books goes deeper than that. The Jewish Book Fair, the African-American Book Festival, and the Austin International Poetry Festival all highlight the city’s literary diversity.

Newby says the city even keeps it weird when it comes to books:

“There’s also the Austin Book Arts Center,” Newby says. “You can take workshops about binding books and letterpress printing.”

Written by Morgan O’Hanlon.