Texas authors published a lot of notable books in 2019, many of which use Texas, and its history, as their canvas. Clay Smith, literary director of the San Antonio Book Festival, says you can get your history from fiction and nonfiction.
“Heaven My Home” is the second in the Highway 59 series of mysteries by East Texas native Attica Locke. The series focuses on an African American Texas Ranger. In the latest book, the ranger is investigating the disappearance of the son of a white supremacist. Smith says The New York Times has praised the book.
If you want to dig deep into Texas history, Smith says a phone book-sized nonfiction book by Stephen Harrigan should fit the bill.
“The one Texas book that towers above all the others this year is ‘Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas,'” Smith says.
The book traces Texas history from 1528 all the way to the 21st century.
“The storytelling in this history is so amazing,” Smith says, “because Stephen Harrigan is a novelist, and he chooses these largely idiosyncratic stories from Texas history, and highlights them and puts the spotlight on them the way a novelist would.”
Laura Prescott’s novel, “The Secrets We Kept” tells the story of CIA officers who thwarted the Russian government’s attempt to keep the novel, “Doctor Zhivago,” out of Russia. Prescott’s book is a novel based on a true story of how women in the typing pool at the CIA contributed to the project, which resulted in “Zhivago’s” publication in the country where it took place.
“Those women haven’t gotten their due in history, and this novel gives it to them,” Smith says.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.