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A College of the Cattle Frontier
A Deep East Texas Memory
Novelist Gerald Duff grew up both in Polk County, in Deep East Texas, and in Nederland, near the Gulf Coast, two drastically different areas in terms of social and economic status, and the way they interact. These communities shaped the way Duff thought and lived, causing him to build up certain false personae to fit in with the crowd. These changes and more are described within the pages of Duff’s new memoir, Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory.
From dealing with intrusive family members to judgmental classmates to marital bliss and misery, Duff’s memoir describes situations familiar to anyone who has ever lived in a small town. Experiences unfamiliar to the youths of today include growing up during World War II and the descriptions of propaganda tactics, hunting for your own meals, and dealing with the social mores of the 1950s and 1960s. Other occurrences however, such as working a summer job and the awkwardness of first dates, speak to people of every generation, young and old.
Early in life Duff learned to tell lies as a survival mechanism against his meddling family and occasionally cruel classmates. He describes the ordeal of hiding both his domestic situation and his talent for the written word. Duff’s talents for lies and half-truths helped him not only to discover a hidden talent within himself, but also a future career.
In Their Shoes
Culture, Identity and Houses, 1878–1920
“Inside Texas: Culture, Identity and Houses, 1878–1920” is a 464 page book with 296 photos that tests and rejects the notion that Texas homes, like all things Texan, were unique and different. Over the 40 year time span covered by the book, decorating ideas nationally and in Texas went from the era of Victorianism with “all that stuff” to the spare, clean lines of the arts and crafts movement. By 1920, like Americans across the country, many Texans, especially the wealthier, were taking their decorating ideas from the new professionals – architects and designers – and their homes reflected less their own identity than the taste and eye of the decorator.
In seven years of research, Brandimarte traveled the state, collecting photographs of interiors of Texas homes – rare in comparison to exterior views. The images reprinted here are arranged neither in chronological order nor according to decorating style but by identities –occupation, family, ethnicity, social group, region, culture and refinement, class and style. Brief biographical information about the homeowners is incorporated into the text.
“Inside Texas” is about people and houses. It is social history, a significant contribution to scholarship, an invaluable resource for preservationist, docents, architects and designers as well as a book to be treasured by anyone who loves old houses.
New and Selected Poems
As the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, Karla K. Morton believes that poetry is every man’s art, and has carved her place in Texas Letters with this stunning collection. Her poems take you on a journey; her flowing, storytelling style sparks memories and stirs emotions. This beautiful, linen hardbound book is a word-lover’s dream.
An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement
Brought to this continent by the settlers of Jamestown, the sacred harp, which refers to the human voice, is known as “fasola.” In Legacy of the Sacred Harp, author Chloe Webb follows the history of this musical form back four hundred years, and in the process uncovers the harrowing legacy of her Dumas family line.
The fourth in the successful literary cities series by TCU Press, Literary El Paso brings attention to the often overlooked extraordinary literary heritage of this city in far West Texas. El Paso is the largest metropolitan area along the U.S.-Mexico border and geographically isolated from the rest of Texas. It is in this splendid isolation surrounded by mountains in the midst of the beautiful Chihuahuan Desert that many award-winning writers found their literary voices. Daudistel uses her years of publishing experience in El Paso to gather the works of past, present and emerging writers of the Borderlands. Historical essays, fiction, journalism and poetry portray the colorful history and vibrant present of this city on the border through the works of sixty-three writers. Once a backdrop to the Mexican Revolution, El Paso was also home to infamous outlaws. Historians C.L. Sonnichsen, and Leon Metz write on the gunmen and lawmen of El Paso such as John Wesley Hardin, Dallas Stoudenmire and Bass Outlaw. There are feature stories from award-winning journalists Ruben Salazar early in his newspaper career, Ramon Renteria with the last interview of poet Ricardo Sanchez and Bryan Woolley on the 1966 UTEP Miners and lively South El Paso Street. Many groundbreaking Chicano writers who began their work in El Paso, such as Jose Antonio Burciaga, Abelardo Delgado, Estela Portillo Trambley and Arturo Islas are featured. The works of Tom Lea, the stories of Amado Muro, Dagoberto Gilb, Rick DeMarinis, Pat Littledog, the inimitable word sketches of Elroy Bode and the poetry of Benjamin Alire Saenz, Pat Mora, and Bernice Love Wiggins, one of the first African-American female poets published in Texas, explore the experience of life in El Paso. In addition, previously unpublished works from John Rechy, Ray Gonzalez and Robert Seltzer are included. Literary El Paso features bilingual selections for the first time in the series to reflect the bicultural environment of the region and the state.
Hurricane Katrina struck the Louisiana Gulf Coast in late August of 2005. In the aftermath of the category-three hurricane, the churning waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore through the levee system of New Orleans, causing unprecedented flooding and stranding those who had failed to evacuate in time. Images of desperate men and women clinging to rooftops and praying for rescue filled every news station. It is in this setting that Thomas Zigal’s new novel unfolds.
With water rapidly rising to alarming heights and contaminated by filth, the only way in or out of New Orleans is by boat. Hodges Grant, a veteran of Vietnam, must ply the fetid waters in a homemade craft in order to reach his stranded daughter and two grandchildren. Accompanied by his grandchildren’s good-for-nothing father Duval, Hodges enters into the treacherous wreckage left by the storm. The city appears to be deserted except for a few police out to commandeer civilian boats—by force, if necessary.
Deirdra, or Dee as she is known, was hardly daunted by the idea of a hurricane. There had been too many false alarms in the past from government officials. Still, for the sake of her two children, Dee had attempted to evacuate, only to turn back as gangs of armed highjackers pulled hapless drivers from their cars in gridlocked traffic. Now she and her children are stranded in their attic as the water laps at the hatch. They can only hope for Hodges’s swift arrival.
Hodges’s son PJ and eight thousand other inmates remain incarcerated in the Orleans Parish Jail as the waters begin to rise. Abandoned by the guards, the inmates must break through the bars of their cells or drown. They discover armed guards calmly waiting in boats outside; they pull a few inmates to safety and threaten to shoot those who rush for the fence.
As the waters advance through the city of New Orleans, so does Zigal’s story. Told through the eyes of each member of the Grant family, Zigal weaves a tale bound by terror, loss, perseverance, and survival.