Lit Blog: Who’s Reading What

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July Book Club Picks

Welcome to the first monthly meeting of the Texas Book Festival Book Club recommendations blog post! Each month we will choose three new paperback releases and one TBF favorite that we think make for great group discussions. Hopefully this list will help your book club make a unanimous choice, whether your book club is Book Gals, […]

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Julie’s Recommended Reads in July

Summer is officially here. My tote bag is stuffed with swim gear, bottled water and at least three books at a time. Here’s what I’m looking forward to seeing on shelves this month: You Are Having A Good Time by Amie Barrodale This is the debut collection of short fiction to grab this month. Barrodale is […]

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2016 Author Sneak Peek

We’re thrilled to announce sixteen of the authors who will participate in this year’s Texas Book Festival, happening November 5 and 6 in and around the State Capitol grounds in Austin, Texas. Our full 2016 lineup will be announced in early September. For now, mark your calendars and join us here in the heart of Texas as we […]

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Julie’s New Book Picks for June

New month, new books. Here’s what’s on my radar in the merry month of June. Below you’ll find a mix of books I’ve read and loved and a couple of books coming out this month that I can’t wait to read. Above you’ll find a shot of McKinney Falls State Park here in Austin, a great […]

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Recommended Read May 2016: THE LAST PAINTING OF SARA DE VOS

Give Dominic Smith a Google and you’ll discover a few things. First: he bats left-handed. Second: he was selected by the New York Mets in the 1st round of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft. Third: there’s more than one Dominic Smith. Google Dominic Smith author and you’ll find what you came for: an Austin-based author […]

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New Books to Check Out in May

A new month means a fresh crop of books on bookstore shelves. Here are a few we’re adding to our To-Be-Read pile this month.   The After Party by Anton DiSclafani (May 17) DiSclafani is the author of the well-received, book club-ready novel, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (I will spend the rest of my book career attempting […]

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A Celebration of Texas Poets

April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we’d like to take a moment to recognize contributions made by the most recent Texas Poets Laureate. Their work has made an outstanding cultural impact on the long-standing literary and artistic tradition of Texas, and we are so pleased to feature them here.     Laurie Ann Guerrero I read the […]

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From the Lit Director Desk: What I’m Reading

I’ve had a little over a month to settle into the lit director desk here at Texas Book Festival. Here’s what I’ve been reading in between all of the emails. All of these books are forthcoming releases, so mark your calendars, place your pre-orders, and look forward to what late Spring will bring to your bookshelves. […]

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Poet Spotlight: Carmen Tafolla

Dr. Carmen Tafolla is a tremendously accomplished author. She’s written over 20 books, including volumes of poetry, short stories, historical nonfiction, and children’s books. In 2012, she was named the first Poet Laureate of San Antonio, and in 2015 she was named the Poet Laureate of the State of Texas. We are so lucky to count her as a friend […]

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Recommended Read: A LOVE LETTER TO TEXAS WOMEN

Here at the Texas Book Festival offices, we’re constantly scouring the latest and greatest books publishers have to offer to discover the most interesting new work by the most engaging authors. Our goal is to put together an unforgettable Festival for you in the Fall, but who wants to wait that long to talk about […]

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Read Texas: Blood Meridian

Listed among the TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005, Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian is widely considered McCarthy’s best work and possibly one of the greatest novels of all time. Blood Meridian tells the story of a runaway boy who finds himself in the midst of the Glanton Gang, a group of scalp-hunters […]

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Read Texas: The Son

Published in 2013, The Son makes a more recent addition to the world of Texas literature. This novel followed Meyer’s acclaimed American Rust as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for fiction, and is widely regarded as one of the best historical novels to be written this century. It is considered among the ranks of other Great […]

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Read Texas: Texas

  In honor of Texas History Month, Texas Book Festival staff and interns are highlighting iconic tomes of Texas literature in March. What are your favorite books that chronicle and celebrate the life and history of our Lone Star State? Tell us in the comments. We love to #ReadTexas all year long!    It doesn’t get […]

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TBF’s Favorite Books of 2015 (and Gift Guide!)

We asked our staff, board members, and friends to weigh in on the favorite books they read in 2015, and to share which books they’ll be giving as gifts this holiday season. Many of us struggled to narrow it down, but at long last, we settled on our one favorite read (or two, or three, or […]

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The 2015 Festival Poster

Celebrating the Culture of Literacy, Ideas, and  Imagination On Thursday, July 16th, we unveiled the official 20th Anniversary Texas Book Festival poster, which features the work of artist Fatima Ronquillo. Ronquillo is a self-taught painter whose classical imagery is inspired by literature, theatre, and opera, evoking a world of serenity and charm. Her intimate works […]

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TBF Summer Reading List

Marc Winkelman, Board Chair Reagan, by H.W. Brands and The English Spy by Daniel Silva I think H.W. Brands’s book, Reagan, is well worth reading. I’m also enjoying the new Daniel Silva, The English Spy. You don’t have to have read the earlier books in Silva’s series to enjoy the fast-paced exploits of Israeli spy Gabriel Allon. Both […]

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Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Out of gift ideas?  Don’t worry, we’ve put together your shopping guide!  These 2014 Texas Book Festival author titles are sure to satisfy the dads on your list.   For the dad who thinks his top-secret BBQ rub recipe is the best: He hasn’t tried Dean Fearing’s yet. Fearing is known as the “Father […]

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10th. Your mother loves to read, but already owns every Jane Austen novel and secretly borrowed Fifty Shades of Gray from the library. This guide, culled from our recent featured Festival authors, should satisfy the cool moms on your list.   For the mother who loves sci-fi: Emily St. John […]

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TBF <3s Indies: the Remix

The second annual TBF <3s Indies party is just around the corner!   Join the Texas Book Fest in celebrating 10 Austin-based independent literary publishers: There will be literary swag, raffle prizes, and meet-and-greets with local indies including NANO Fiction, A Strange Object/Covered with Fur, American Short Fiction, Fields, Smoking Glue Gun, Write Bloody Now, Bat […]

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Class Act: HSPVA creative writing students host Festival authors

At the Texas Book Festival, we love introducing young minds to new ideas and authors. It’s so rewarding for us when introductions made at our Festival inspire classroom curriculum and give birth to lasting, flourishing literary relationships. Students in the creative writing program at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts in Houston take […]

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Q&A with debut author Mary Helen Specht

Austin’s own Mary Helen Specht talks with our literary director Steph Opitz about research, being a tortoise (not a hare), and the dangers of having an agenda with her debut novel Migratory Animals. Specht’s gorgeous work about college friends who’ve found themselves 10 or so years later at various points of adulthood is equal parts heartwarming and […]

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Austin Writers Sarah Bird and Natalia Sylvester Share Summer Reading Ideas

Natalia Sylvester I’ve been told I like sad books, but I like to think of them as beautiful stories about the depths of the human spirit. The latest of this type of book that has me mesmerized is Jessica Null Vealitzek’s debut novel, The Rooms Are Filled. Set in the 80s, it’s the story of […]

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Father’s Day Book Recommendations

Depending on what kind of dad you’re shopping for this week (REMINDER: Father’s Day is this Sunday!), we’ve got a few different recommendations for your list. If you want more ideas tweet at @texasbookfest using #fathersdaybooks For the new dad: How about a book that perfectly captures the nightly struggle for dad’s everywhere in a nice […]

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Your Favorite Authors Suggest Summer Reading Titles

J. Courtney Sullivan Love, Nina: Last summer, while on book tour, I took along an early copy of Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe. It’s a collection of letters that the author wrote to her sister while working as a nanny in London in the eighties. I was interested mainly because I myself was a nanny in London […]

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Well, ok,  it’s really just one IDEA.   If you’re searching for a book to get your mom or a mom this Mother’s Day, Bossypants is everything you’re looking for in one man-handed cover for the following reasons: 1. A hilariously perceptive collection of essays by a comrade and veteran in the  should-I-breast-feed and did-a-babysitter-just-clip-my-child’s-nails-too-short and […]

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What I’m Reading: Jesse Gainer, Director, Rivera Children’s Book Award

I am currently reading Tino Villanueva’s, So Spoke Penelope. I heard him read a few of the poems when I was visiting Boston and I loved the idea of a whole book of poems relating the story of Penelope of Ithaca from her perspective during those 20 years Odysseus was absent from home. It’s about endurance and […]

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New Year’s Reading Resolutions

It’s no secret that we all love books here at the Texas Book Festival, so in 2014, we’re pledging to become better readers. Here’s a list of five New Year’s reading resolutions that we recommend for everyone, including ourselves.  1. Recommend more books to your friends. Read something amazing? Then you should shout it from the […]

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What I’m Reading: Will Evans, Deep Vellum Publishing, Dallas

  Currently reading Claire Vaye Watkins’ impressive short story collection Battleborn after being blown away by her at the Texas Book Festival in her discussion with my friend Zachary Karabashliev (his novel 18% Gray rules too). These stories are breathtaking, haunting, I read a line last night right before falling asleep I don’t think I’ll ever forget, about a […]

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What I’m Reading: Karen Brimble, Vice Chair, TBF Board of Directors

 Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings is engaging and beautifully written. Like Jonathan Franzen, Wolitzer writes a captivating, epic novel that starts slowly and draws you in over time with complex characters.  The story’s momentum had me turning the pages well into the night.

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What I’m Reading: Michael Fracasso, Festival Musician

I played a gig at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City recently where I had my first gig in 1979 and was part of the village folk scene that culminated in a recording, The Songwriters Exchange (1981 – Stash Records). After the show, the owner Robin Hirsch wanted to trade books: my cookbook […]

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What I’m Reading: Kathie Tovo, City of Austin Council Member

As a life-long bookworm who still remembers the pleasure of reading Beverly Cleary’s Ramona the Pest along with my mom, I’ve been rediscovering Ramona with my six- and seven-year-old daughters over the last month. We’ve spent nearly every bedtime with Ramona, beginning with Beezus and Ramona (originally published in 1955) and now wrapping up with […]

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Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Polson

Roger Polson has been with the Texas Book Festival since its beginnings 18 years ago. Friends involved with planning the Festival first recruited Polson to coordinate the entertainment for the Music Tent.

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What I’m Reading: Alex Layman, Lone Star Tent Chair

I’m currently reading In Search of Small Gods, a collection of poems by the legendary Jim Harrison that is rich with nostalgia, melancholy, and Harrison’s ever-present reverence for open spaces. I’m also reading Collapse by Jared Diamond, a scholarly analysis on how geographical location, environmental issues, and gross misuse of natural resources have caused some […]

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What I’m Reading: Janna Paulson, TBF Board of Directors & Gala Co-Chair

A favorite is Ken Follett. I am totally absorbed in his trilogy of Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and the soon-to-be-released third book. The series starts in the 20s and runs through both world wars. I have been watching Downton Abbey and the Upstairs Downstairs series, so it all falls in line.  Pillars […]

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What I’m Reading: Michael Noll, Writing Lecturer at Texas State University and Editor of Read to Write Stories

I recently finished The Peripatetic Coffin, a collection of stories by Ethan Rutherford. Three of the stories are variations on the classical tale of adventure at sea: one is set on a Confederate submarine during the Civil War, another is set on a Russian ship that gets trapped in ice flows while exploring the Arctic, […]

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What I’m Reading: Betsy Young, Volunteer Coordinator Co-Chair

I’m currently reading The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett. The central character, Peter, is a rare book dealer whose wife has recently died. Completely devastated by this, he relocates to a small village in England to try to start his life over. While exploring a rare book store, he stumbles upon an 18th century watercolor portrait of […]

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