The Bookshelf, Young Texas Reader, Blog Notes, & Texana Youtube Channel

The Texas Bookshelf is for single, specific books' reviews and author interviews . The Texas Parlor ranges more broadly than my other websites. The Young Texas Reader focuses on the youngest through teenagers. Texas Blog Notes surveys blogs of historical and literary interest. I've started a Will's Texana Youtube collecting channel where 1,000 videos are collected in 100 playlists . Find Will in Houston or at willstexana {at} yahoodotcom

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DPL Music Conference and webliography

The Bennett Law Office blog passes along information on Dallas Public Library's one-day "Texas Music Mini-Conference: History of Texas Music" on May 30.  Maybe of more strategic value for those not able to attend is the included webliography on selected music sites.

Texas Mystery Month in May

Texas Mystery Month is May.  Visit Texas Mystery Authors at

The Road movie - Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy's The Road as a movie will be released in October 2009.  See the official trailer at
The movie's inspriation came to McCarthy, according to his interview with Oprah, one night while in an El Paso hotel, as his son slept nearby.

See the Sites - THC - Blogging for Historical Sites

    Recently the Texas Historical Commission began a blog "See the Sites."  The postings' focus on particular historical sites, with some attention to current events at those.  The narrative is supplmented with colorful photos.  And there's a touch of experimentation with embedding video.  Over a dozen postings so far.
See the Sites:  telling the real stories at the real places of Texas: From western forts to Victorian mansions and pivotal battlegrounds, the Texas Historical Commission's 20 state historic sites exemplify a breadth of Texas history. Come explore the real stories at the real places.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Light Cummins - Texas State Historian

Dr. Light T. Cummins will succeed Dr. Frank Jesus de la Teja as the official Texas State Historian.  The term is two years.
Cummins holds the Guy M. Bryan Chair of American History at Austin College, where he is a Professor of History and has been a member of the faculty since 1978. A 1946 native Texan reared in San Antonio, he received his Ph.D. from Tulane University. He is a Borderlands specialist.  He has been a Fulbright Scholar to Spain and is the author of several books, including:
  • A Guide to the History of Louisiana (1982)
  • A Guide to the History of Texas (1988)
  • Texas: A Political History (1990)
  • Spanish Observers and the American Revolution (1992)
  • Louisiana: A History 4th Edition (2001)
  • Austin College: A Sesquicentennial History (1999)
  • Emily Austin of Texas: Sister to an Empire (2008)
  • United States History to 1877 (2006)
    Other awards have included
    Appointment to the Stephen F. Austin Bicentennial Committee
    Appointment as director of the Center for Southwestern and Mexican Studies
    Becoming an Associate of the Danforth Foundation
    Becoming a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association
    Becoming a Minnie Stevens Piper Professor.
    Receiving the Premio de EspaƱa y America by King Juan Carlos I of Spain for his scholarly research dealing with the history of Spain and the United States
    Becoming a Kentucky Colonel for his work on the Mississippi Valley
    Receiving the Francisco Bouligny Prize for his publications dealing with Spanish colonial Louisiana 
    See More at

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Blessed Bud Shrake Died

    It's an odd phrase, "Bud Shrake Died." 
    Seems so out of context.  Life is steaming all around us, Bud should be here.  But, Bud Shrake died, at age 77 in Austin on Friday May 8.  Born in Fort Worth in 1931, beginning as a writer for his high school newspaper and getting educated at TCU, Edwin went from being Fort Worth Press police beat writer to a remarkable career in sports journalism (Texas newpapers and Sports Illustrated), novels (9 of his 10 set in Texas), co-authoring a best-selling book on golf (Harvey Penick's Little Red Book), co-biographer (Willie Nelson and Barry Switzer), magazine essays (e.g., Texas Monthly, Harpers), screenwriter (one being Tom Horn, 1981) and all sorts of other paperwork.
    I first read Shrake's Strange Peaches while in Library School in the 1970's and subsequently fell under the spell of Blessed McGill.  His early literary companions were often Gary Cartwright, Billy Lee Brammer, Dan Jenkins, and Peter Gent with whom he stirred the pot and drank at the well of Texas literature.  But his influence was broad.  He will be buried in the Texas State Cemetery near Ann Richards.
    Shrake's partial bibliography includes

    Blood Reckoning (1962)

    But Not For Love (1964)

    Blessed McGill (1968)

    Strange Peaches (1972)

    Peter Arbiter (1973)

    Limo (1976, with Dan Jenkins)

    Night Never Falls (1987)

    Willie: An Autobiography (1988)

    Bootlegger's Boy (1990) (the Switzer biography)

    Harvey Penick's Little Red Book (1992)

    The Borderland: A Novel of Texas (2000)

    Billy Boy (2001)

    Custer's Brother's Horse (2007)


    An anthology, Land of the Permanent Wave, An Edwin "Bud" Shrake Reader, was published in 2008 by UT Press.  Shrake introduces himself there in an introduction - revealingly as usual.

    His papers are at Texas State University in the Southwestern Writers Collection

    View a Texas Monthly Talks interview collected in Will's Texana Channel Playlist of "Authors" at


    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    Secession and Division Questions

    The fascinating secession question and its often corollary division question are decidedly interesting to Texans. 
    The recent discussion followed Rick Perry's reviving the "issue" of Texas secession at the time of annexation.  See
    The following two blogs begin with opposite views by the blog hosts, but the truly invigorating numerous Comments in both lead you through a remarkable discussion of Texas AND American history, philosophy, politics, constitutional law - and in some cases international law. 
    There are some cogencies, some pot-shots, some outright misleadings, some sublime observations - much of which is historially backed up by the various authors. 
    If you are not completely hide-bound to ignorance (and hence stupid by definiton) both trains of discussions will teach you something, even if you're reluctant.
        Ed Darrell - Millard Fillmore's Bathtub
    Link to   Professor Bernardo de la Paz - I Am Simon Jester
    And you have views expressed in a Bryan-College Station newpaper and an Austin newspaper. 
    The Eagle - Your digital news leader 
    But Wait, There's More. Check out the rest of this issue.  
    Having begun this posting with Gov. Perry, you may wish to consider another view from an up-coming issue in the Texas Observer.

    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    North Texas Book Festival Book Awards

    General Trade
    Brooklyn and Braden
    by Keri Diane Fry

    Evacuation Plan
    by Joe M. O'Connell
    Magnolia Moon,
    Texas Sage

    by Janice Rose
    General Trade
    One Day As A Lion
    by Ronnie D. Foster
    A Place to
    Be Someone

    by Shirley
    Gordon Jackson
    From Guns to Gavels
    by Bill Neal

    My Dog Don't Bite
    by R. Wayne Edwards
    ill. R. Wayne Edwards
    Birth of the Fifth Sun
    by Jo Harper,
    ill. Irma Martinez Sizer
    Lost Hoard

    by Hazel Spire
    And the winners are listed at Mike Merschal's Book Blog at the Dallas Morning News.  Those journalists get informaltion before its posted sometimes.

    Western Writers Spur Awards

    Western Writers of American announces its 2009 awards.

    Texas Tech University Press Awards

    Texas Tech University Press

    Mike Kearby and Hypocrisy of Culture

    Texana Mike Kearby, Spur winning novelist of the Free Parks trilogy, offers an insightful article on the "Hypocrisy of Culture" at Isnare.  Kearby's novels' plots are set in Texas' multi-cultural frontier times after the Civil War.