Give the Joy of Reading: Lois and Julie on the Books They Love to Share

Two lesser-buzzed-about genres of literature, cookbooks and poetry, make for fantastic bookish gifts! Check out what Lois and Julie are giving their loved ones this year.


Lois Kim, Executive Director:

For home cooks like me, nothing is more satisfying than collecting cookbooks that you can return to again and again, for family and friend gatherings as well as for those yikes-what-to-make-for-dinner-tonight moments. I find cookbooks make for surprisingly good reading, even when I don’t have anything to make and just want to be inspired and to learn.

This past year, I added these four to my cookbook shelf: Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (I was obsessed when I got it in 2017 and the recent Netflix series has only made me love Nosrat more); Travis Lett’s Gjelina (finally scored this gorgeous cookbook with unique recipes after years of jealously seeing it on my friends’ shelves); and two great finds from our 2018 Festival: Paula Disbrowe’s Any Night Grilling (great doable recipes and beautiful photographs to help anyone master fire and smoke); and Edward Lee’s Buttermilk Graffiti (most literary of the bunch, as Lee intimately relates his encounters with immigrants and their influences to foods in specific, memorable American locales, many in the South.)

Any and each of these books would be a great holiday gift for the food lover or cook in your life!


Julie Wernersbach, Literary Director:

I love to give poetry during the holidays. The meditative, reflective moments at the end of the year offer a lovely opportunity to let new verse open us up. There are so many wonderful collections to choose from this year.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s Oceanic is a beautiful love letter to our dear planet, joyful and curious and attentive to the delicate relationships of our planet’s creatures to one another, and to the fragile balance of our partnership with Earth. Traci Brimhall’s Saudade is an engrossing, lyrical exploration of family, history, spirituality, and the long echo of the past.

I love to give (and receive) anthologies, where the multiplicity of voices, subjects and perspectives often introduce readers to new writers. New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid Erdrich, brings together a wide variety of work by twenty-one poets in a collection that reflects the vibrant cultural diversity of Native poetry and experience.

Evolution, the new collection by Eileen Myles, is a dash across the world of this energetic, entertaining, and enduring poet. (At a recent reading, Myles said they try to “make the poems fast as hell;” indeed, the verse flies across these pages.)

Of course, this time of year is also perfect for sinking into a sweeping, epic, touching, funny, original and unforgettable novel. For this reason, I am wrapping up copies of Little by Edward Carey, the fictionalized life of Marie Grosholtz, who grows up to become Madame Tussaud. It’s one of the best novels I have read this year!

Giving the Joy of Reading: Claire and Maris Recommend Books For Any Reader

Novels, collections, memoir-in-recipes, and more—there’s something for every sort of reader in these lists.


Claire Burrows, Development Director

A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley

This incredible collection of short stories set in Brooklyn and the South Bronx is the book you should buy for all the men in your life. And everyone. They will be stunned by the brilliance.

There There by Tommy Orange

This novel about Native American people in Oakland, California is so powerful and devastating, you’ll think about it all the time, long after reading the last page. I would recommend this as a gift for college students, aspiring authors, and everyone.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

A beautiful and captivating novel about growing up in Columbia during the time of Pablo Escobar, this book is perfect for people who love to read. Sandra Cisneros recommends it.



Maris Finn, Financial and Administrative Coordinator

For the friend with wanderlust: I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff by Abbi Jacobson

Centered on an aptly-timed road trip from New York to Los Angeles, Abbi Jacobson (of Broad City fame) takes us on a hilarious, heart-breaking, and contemplative journey. Complete with original drawings, music recommendations, and irreverent anecdotes, this is a perfect gift for that friend who’s been meaning to take a road trip, or sign up for that improve class.


For the novel-reader: If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim

Kim’s debut novel is equal parts family saga and love triangle set during the tumultuous Korean War. Between Haemi Lee, the novel’s fierce and complicated protagonist, and the gorgeous prose, this is a story that sticks with you for a long time after you’ve finished reading, making it the ideal gift for those literary fiction lovers in your life.


For the oddball: Get in Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link

Kelly Link is a writer like no other. This book is perfect for that person in your life who seems impossible to shop for, and the stories in the collection will give you a temporary blissful relief from reality, which we could all use around the holidays.


For the Great British Baking Show fan: Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes by Martin Philip

Equal parts cookbook and memoir, Philip’s book is the perfect gift for the people in your life who may have watched more than their fair share of competitive baking shows. Though these recipes might not be for the novice baker, they’re ideal for collaborating with family members over the holidays. It’s a feast for the eyes as well: the photos of Philip’s bakes will make your mouth water!

Giving the Joy of Reading: Books We’re Sharing This Holiday

Season’s Readings, fellow book lovers! Lydia saw Brazos Bookstore, one of our fave Texas indie bookstores, using that clever phrase and is totally stealing it (but citing her sources). We are all greatly looking forward to the coming holidays, especially the gift-giving part. You’ve probably heard us talk about our mission, “Inspiring Texans of all ages to love reading,” so you won’t be surprised to learn we bring that mission into other areas of life. We know there are few things more exciting than seeing a loved one dive into a book we picked out just for them, but we also know picking out the perfect read for a particular reader can feel a bit daunting.

Thus, in the spirit of inspiring Texans to love reading again and again, we offer our own book-gifting recommendations. Happy Reading, y’all!

Lois and Julie on the books they love to give

Claire and Maris give book recommendations for every sort of reader

Lydia and Lea reveal the books they’re giving this year (shhh, don’t tell)

TBF and APL Present: an Evening with Edward Carey

WHO: Edward Carey
WHAT: The Extraordinary Illustrated Fiction of Edward Carey – Little Book Launch and Exhibition Opening
WHERE: Austin Central Library Art Gallery
WHEN: Tuesday, October 23 at 7:00PM
Free and open to the public

Join Texas Book Festival and The Library Foundation as we celebrate the launch of Little, the highly anticipated new novel by Austin-based writer and illustrator, Edward Carey. Carey will appear in conversation with fellow writer (and wife), Elizabeth McCracken. The book launch coincides with  an art exhibit featuring illustrations from the novel and Carey’s other works. After the talk, Carey will sign books, available for sale courtesy of BookPeople.

About Little

In 1761, a tiny, odd-looking girl named Marie is born in a village in Switzerland. After the death of her parents, she is apprenticed to an eccentric wax sculptor and whisked off to the seamy streets of Paris, where they meet a domineering widow and her quiet, pale son. Together, they convert an abandoned monkey house into an exhibition hall for wax heads, and the spectacle becomes a sensation. As word of her artistic talent spreads, Marie is called to Versailles, where she tutors a princess and saves Marie Antoinette in childbirth. But outside the palace walls, Paris is roiling: The revolutionary mob is demanding heads, and . . . at the wax museum, heads are what they do.

In the tradition of Gregory Maguire’s Wicked and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Edward Carey’s Little is a darkly endearing cavalcade of a novel–a story of art, class, determination, and how we hold on to what we love.

About Edward Carey

Edward Carey is a novelist, visual artist, and playwright. His acclaimed YA series, the Iremonger Trilogy, was a fan favorite, with citations for Best Books of the Year by The New York Times, NPR, and Kirkus Reviews. He is also the author of two adult novels, Observatory Mansions and Alva & Irva. Born in England, he now teaches at the University of Texas in Austin, where he lives with his wife, the author Elizabeth McCracken., and their family.


Can’t make it to the event? You can catch Edward Carey at the Texas Book Festival October 27-28! You can also pre-order a signed copy of Little from BookPeople if you can’t be there to have Carey sign it in person. BookPeople ships worlwide!

Join TBF, the Austin Film Festival, and Mexic-Arte for Super Saturday!


This year, we’re teaming up with the Austin Film Festival and Mexic-Arte Museum‘s Viva La Vida Festival and Parade to host Super Saturday—a full day of culture, arts, and activities in the heart of downtown Austin—on October 27!

Join us for a free screening of Pixar’s Academy Award-winning film Coco, live music, food, children’s activities and much more!

“We Austinites are fortunate to have so many opportunities to experience arts and culture first-hand,” says Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “We have three of Austin’s most iconic events taking place on Saturday, October 27—Austin Film Festival, Mexic-Arte Museum’s Vida la Vida Festival and Parade, and the Texas Book Festival. These venerable organizations—hosting annual events that have helped shape this city as a Festival town—are working closely together to maximize the day’s cultural impact for our citizens. It’s a Saturday downtown you won’t want to miss!”

Live music, children’s art activities, retail booths and food will be available along Congress Avenue from 4th Street to the Capital. Our three organizations will also be teaming up to a host a free public screening of Pixar’s Academy Award-winning animated feature Coco at 4:00 pm at the Paramount Theatre, which will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s co-writer Matthew Aldrich. At 2pm, Texas Book Festival and Mexic-Arte Museum will present author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Christian Robinson, Newbery Medal winners of Last Stop On Market Street, for a reading and signing of their new picture book, Carmela Full of Wishes, at the Festival’s Education Pavilion (at the Frost Bank Tower patio on 4th and Congress).

 Capital Metro and the Austin Public Library want to make sure everyone can join us for Super Saturday! On October 27, you can go to the front desk at any of the six participating branch libraries (below) between 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM to get a free Capital Metro Day Pass and a Travel Guide, so you can get to and from downtown with ease.

  • Recycled Reads | 5335 Burnet Road | Routes 3, 803
  • Pleasant Hill | 211 East William Cannon Drive | Routes 1, 801
  • Little Walnut Creek | 835 West Rundberg Lane | Routes 1, 801
  • Ruiz | 1600 Grove Boulevard | Route 20
  • Carver | 1161 Angelina Street | Routes 2, 6
  • Southeast | 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd | Route 7

 The 25th annual Austin Film Festival will take place October 25 – November 1, Mexic-Arte Museum Viva la Vida Festival and Parade on October 27, and of course, our 23rd annual Festival Weekend takes place October 27 – 28.

We’ll see y’all there!



Exciting News: TBF is Moving!

Hey Booklovers! We’ve got exciting news: we’re moving!
While the Texas Book Festival will still take place in and around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin, our 6th street office—our home since the Festival’s beginning in 1995—is officially closed.

But don’t worry! We aren’t going far.

We are excited to be joining the Center for Social Innovation at Springdale General on the east side of Austin later this summer, and can’t wait to share photos of our new digs with you!  In the meantime, please save our current mailing address:
PO Box 6020
Austin, TX  78762

Keep an eye out for moving updates on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Lineup Sneak Peek: Fifteen Authors presenting at the 2018 Texas Book Festival

We are thrilled to give you a sneak peek at our 2018  Texas Book Festival Lineup! These fifteen authors are set to present their books over the Festival Weekend, October 27 and 28, in and around the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin.

We’ll reveal our full lineup of authors presenting at the 2018 Festival in August—in the meantime, you can catch all TBF news and announcements by signing up for our newsletter, and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



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Alexander Chee – How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

Bestselling author of  The Queen of the Night, Alexander Chee, has now put himself on the map as the next great essayists of his generation with How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, his first work of nonfiction. In a collection of essays about his life, Chee details events both deeply impactful to him, like the death of his father, and to the nation, like the AIDS crisis, and 9/11. With a voice that is both commanding and honest, Chee stuns in his nonfiction debut.


Alfredo Corchado – Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexian-American Migration

The second book from Mexican-American journalist Alfredo Corchado, Homelands tells the story of Mexican immigration through three decades. Centered around four friends, an activist, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, and Alfredo himself, Corchado tracks the changes and challenges of  immigration through their relationships with one another. Homelands is both a beautiful story about friendship and required reading for our current political state. Corchado is currently the Mexico City bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News.


Erin Entrada Kelly – You Go First

We are proud to welcome Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly to the 2018 Festival. Author of several middle grade novels, including Hello, Universe, Kelly’s latest novel, You Go Firstfollows the lives of young Charlotte and Ben, two kids with little in common outside of an online Scrabble game. Kelly’s gem of a book tackles bullying, family, and the ultimate struggle that is middle school in a beautiful and engaging way.


David Grann – The White Darkness

Acclaimed author and New Yorker staff writer David Grann follows his two bestselling books, Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z, with a brand new true story of adventure. The White Darkness follows Henry Worsley and his fascination with Ernest Shackleton, the explorer who attempted to be the first person to reach the South Pole and cross Antarctica on foot. Grann brings an impossible story to life with a powerful prose about a man and his obsessions.


Sandra Cisneros – Puro Amor 

We are proud to present much-beloved poet and author, Sandra Cisneros, winner of the American Book Award and acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street. Cisneros’s latest book is a bilingual blend of fiction and illustration about love, devotion, and a house full of animals. Sweet, poignant, and full of life, Puro Amor is illustrated throughout with the author’s original line drawings. 


Fatima Farheen Mirza – A Place for Us

The debut novel from Fatima Farheen Mirza, A Place For Us explores themes of family, sense of self, and belonging. The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, A Place for Us features a less-than-perfect family with less-than-perfect relationships. Parents struggle with the decisions of their children, daughters choose to marry for love and not tradition, and a son tries to make his way home. Brimming with both love and loss, Mirza writes with an eloquence deserving of praise.


V.E. Schwab – Vengeful

We are pleased to announce New York Times bestselling author of the Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song, and Our Dark Duet, and master of contemporary science fiction and fantasy, V.E. Schwab, will be attending the 2018 Texas Book Festival! Schwab’s newest is the highly anticipated sequel in her Villains series, Vengeful (following Vicious, which was re-released earlier this year).


Tommy Orange – There There

Breakthrough author Tommy Orange’s debut novel, There There, has been one of the most highly praised books of 2018 thus far. There There is a multi-generational story that follows the lives of twelve characters all headed to the Big Oakland Powwow for different reasons. A powerful book about the plight of the urban Native American, The New York Times has called it “groundbreaking” and “extraordinary.”


Mary Pope Osborne – Magic Tree House#30: Hurricane Heroes in Texas 

The 30th installment of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series, Hurricane Heroes in Texas, series brings Jack and Annie to our own great state for the 1900 Hurricane in Galveston, Texas—the most devastating natural disaster in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Osborne’s historical fiction books for young readers has become an internationally-beloved and bestselling series and is supplemented by nonfiction companion books.


Tayari Jones – An American Marriage

New York Times Bestseller and a 2018 Oprah Book Club pick, Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage has been called “haunting … beautifully written” by the New York Times, and “A tense and timely love story’ . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class,” by People magazine. A stunning love story from the author of Silver Sparrow, An American Marriage is a brilliant as it is heartbreaking, following newlyweds Roy and Celestial as they begin to build a life together, only to have it torn apart by unforeseeable circumstances.


Chloe Benjamin – The Immortalists

From the author of The Anatomy of Dreams comes The Immortalists, one of the year’s first big bestsellers. The New York Times Book Review calls it, “A captivating family saga.” Benjamin’s novel follows the four Gold children whose lives are dictated by the prophecies of a traveling physic who claims to be able to predict the day someone will die. A novel of family and the power we give to our beliefs, The Immortalists is a stunner of a story.


Sandhya Menon – From Twinkle, With Love

New York Times bestselling Young Adult author of When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon’s latest novel From Twinkle, With Love has been called “utterly charming” by NPR. Following aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra as she chases her dreams—and her heart—Menon’s sophomore novel is just as perfect and endearing as her first. We are elated to welcome Menon to the Festival!


Leslie Jamison – The Recovering 

Bestselling author of The Empathy Exams, and columnist for the New York Times Book Review, Leslie Jamison’s latest book, The Recovering, is part memoir, part investigative work. Focused on addiction and the narrative surrounding it, Jamison includes her own story, along with others including John Berryman and Billie Holiday, in order to examine who we are and why we need. Keen observations and unique voice make for a starkly real story about addiction and recovery which Entertainment Weekly called “Achingly wise.”


Walter Mosley – John Woman

From the beloved author of 47, Down the River Unto the Sea, Blonde Faith, and Devil in the Blue Dress, comes a new literary novel, John Woman, the riveting tale of a young New Yorker who transforms himself into Professor John Woman after the death of his father and the disappearance of his mother. Author of more than forty-five works of fiction and nonfiction, Walter Mosley is one of the most prolific authors of our time.


Joe Holley – Hurricane Season: The Unforgettable Story of the 2017 Houston Astros and the Resilience of a City

Journalist and native Texan Joe Holley has written for The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, Columbia Journalism Review, and The Houston Chronicle. His latest work, Hurricane Season, follows the Houston Astros’ journey to their first-ever World Series win in 2017, following the devastation caused when Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast earlier that year. Chronicling both the story behind the team as well as the hearts of its players, Holley’s story is as bold and beautiful as the city of Houston itself.

Announcing our 2018 Festival Poster Artist!


We are thrilled to announce we have selected our 2018 Festival poster artist, Austin-based painter Valerie Fowler! Fowler’s oil painting, Spring, Everything Changes, will be featured on this year’s Festival poster and will represent our annual Festival Weekend.

Fowler’s career has spanned more than thirty years and includes a wide variety of works, from oil on canvas paintings to commissioned murals, CD art for local musicians, and even a fully illustrated 64 page book called “Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase,” to accompany a musical project written, recorded, and produced by her husband Brian Beattie. Fowler’s work most often explores the wildly diverse natural world of Texas and describes “a natural world of extreme beauty and vigor while also conveying nature’s sensitive vulnerability.”

“The Texas Book Festival is thrilled to feature Valerie Fowler’s work this year,” says Lois Kim, executive director of Texas Book Festival. “Her beautifully alive paintings convey the fantasy in our imaginations and the energy of what lies just beneath the surface. They perfectly capture the creative spirit of our Festival.”

The painting selected for our 2018 Festival poster features a gorgeous, surrealistic interpretation of Fredericksburg peach trees in bloom, evoking a sense of storybook wonder and the unique possibility of the Texas landscape.

“I hope my paintings bring recurring pleasure,” Fowler says. “Having a work of art you come back to is much like reading a favorite novel—every time you return to it, it takes you back to moments from earlier in your life: who you were before, who you’ve been since, and also gives you something new. When a painting keeps giving each time you come back to it, that’s part of what really makes it a successful painting.”

Our tradition of choosing a representative work by a Texas artist began in 1998, and the honor has been shared by acclaimed artists and photographers such as Lance Letscher, Julie Speed, Randal Ford, Dan Winters, Kate Breakey, and Jack Unruh.

“The Texas art community, I would say, is wide open, just like our skies, and we’re lucky to see so many diverse genres and types of art. The uniqueness is that there’s so much variety in Texas. Beyond even the differences in styles and influences between regions, you find a wide variety inside those regions—each city and area holds as much variety as the state itself, and the vastness of our state really lends itself to growing that variety.”

Join us this year on October 27 and 28 in downtown Austin for the 2018 Texas Book Festival!


Announcing the Recipients of our Harvey Relief Fund!


Last November over the 2017 Texas Book Festival Weekend, Festival-goers from all across the state helped us raise money to provide relief for school libraries affected by Hurricane Harvey. With matching grants from The Tocker Foundation and the Texas Book Festival, we were able to raise $10,000 to help five school libraries in Houston and the Gulf Coast area recover.

“These rebuilding grants are a wonderful example of the local community joining two Texas nonprofit literacy organizations to support Texas libraries in need. We are looking forward to seeing the new books on the shelves of these worthy schools.”  —Lois Kim, Executive Director


The five school libraries selected for funding are Aransas ISD Little Bay Primary and four
schools in Houston ISD: Forest Brook Middle School, Mitchell Elementary, Martinez Elementary, and Robinson Elementary.

Aransas ISD’s Little Bay Primary was heavily damaged during the storm and will not reopen. Its pre-kindergarten classrooms received substantial damage and all mentor texts for classroom libraries were lost. Funds will be used to purchase new classroom books for the 2018-2019 school year at Aransas ISD’s new campus, the Discovery Learning Center.

More than 20,000 books were destroyed in the four Houston ISD school libraries selected for funding. Forest Brook Middle School, Mitchell Elementary, Martinez Elementary, and Robinson Elementary will receive funds to help replace the books that were lost at each campus.

Thanks to you, these libraries will be able to replace books lost to flooding. 
Together, we keep our state #TXBookStrong!