Books make great gifts!
Any time of the year, for any occasion: Below is a selection of books that make for wonderful personal gifts.
Texas A&M Press is known for our titles that tell the unique history of the State. Fort Worth between the World Wars by Harold Rich is a stellar economic and social history of the city that was a microcosm of the state and the nation when the roar of the 1920s came to an abrupt halt in the Great Depression.
To visit the site of the first capital of Spanish Texas, you have to cross the state line into Lousiana. In Los Adaes, the First Capital of Spanish Texas, Francis X. Galan traces the roots of the current US-Mexico border to the colonial history of this all but forgotten Spanish fort and mission.
In a much more modern, but no less important, history, Nikki Van Hightower’s memoir That Woman: The Making of a Texas Feminist is a sobering reminder of the state of women’s rights in the 1970s, how those rights have improved, and the work still left to be done.
Catherine Nixon Cooke, niece of legendary Texas oilman, entrepreneur, and explorer Tom Slick, mined personal letters, family papers, archives of the institutes founded by her uncle, and other resources to expand what we know of this enigmatic, energetic adventurer. Her book In Search of Tom Slick shows how the major guiding principle in the life of Slick was a relentless search for adventure and exploration of the unknown — even including the yeti and the Loch Ness Monster.
The secret to attracting butterflies to your garden is making them habitable for caterpillars. Lynn and Jim Weber’s Native Host Plants for Texas Butterflies is a user-friendly, heavily illustrated field guide that describes 101 native larval host plants in Texas.
While you can’t go wrong with any of our gardening classics, these newest books offer much to the people on your list who are trying to increase the beauty—and yield—of their gardens. Veteran author and pioneer organic gardener Judy Barrett’s When Good Gardens Go Bad offers safe, practical, and inexpensive advice for handling common garden problems and challenges.
And speaking of beauty, in The Natural History of Flowers, a gorgeously illustrated book with more than 200 stunning photographs, Michael and Patricia Fogden take a deep dive into flowers and their roles in nature.
Birding enthusiasts, beginners to advanced, will appreciate having a scientifically sound resource like Book of Birds: Introduction to Ornithology. John Faaborg’s approachable writing style engages birders while introducing them to the study of the evolution, taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, diversity, and behavior of birds. Exquisite illustrations by Claire Faaborg bring the science to life through her unique, hand-drawn artwork.
The first two volumes of the 11-volume The Regional Collection of the Natural History of Texas are now available. The Natural History of the Edwards Plateau and The Natural History of the Trans-Pecos both explore the formation of the regions, their diverse ecosystems, and the conservation efforts to keep those ecosystems intact and thriving. The latter is great way to add an extra level of appreciation to a trip to the Big Bend region.
Wild Turkeys in Texas is a great reference for ranchers and biologists. It’s the first book to bring together experts on game birds and land management in the state to present the most current information about ecology and management of the three subspecies of wild turkeys found in Texas.
Parking Lot Birding by Jennifer Bristol shows that birding is an activity for everyone, regardless of mobility. This easy and fun guide revels birding sites across the state to observe a wide variety of birds in easy access locations that don’t require arduous hikes or a degree in ornithology.
Aggie fans will want to read Gareld Rollins’ Return to Junction — the first book to tell the TRUE story of the “Junction Boys.” Rollins was there in the summer of 1954 as a student manager for Bear Bryant’s football team and provides a locker room view of a golden time in Aggie football.
For fans of saltwater fishing. President of the Coastal Conservation Association and publisher of TIDE magazine, Pat Murray’s It’s More Than Fishing is a how-to guide for Texas coastal fishing that addresses a number of key aspects of coastal angling, including the basics of patterning, fishing the Texas surf, choosing lures and baits, common myths and misconceptions, and what to keep in mind when hiring a fishing guide. Murray shows that angling is part science and part art, and provides helpful tips along the way.
In Bebes and the Bear: Gene Stallings, Coach Bryant, and Their 1968 Cotton Bowl Showdown, Ron J. Jackson Jr. unpacks for readers the heartwarming journey of two coaches and their lifelong mutual respect and admiration. From the rocky, drought-plagued practice fields in Junction, Texas, in the summer of 1954, through the memorable 1967 autumn season that led both coaches to their highly publicized Cotton Bowl matchup, Jackson chronicles the story of Bryant, Stallings, and the two storied football traditions that bound them together.
Legendary sports journalist Dave Campbell serves as your personal guide to Texas college football’s golden era, presenting his most treasured stories in Dave Campbell’s Favorite Texas College Football Stories.
Music and Performing Arts
From 1983 to 1990, Tracy Anne Hart captured Stevie Ray Vaughan as he summoned magic with his passion, his blistering guitar techniques, his intensity, and his love and respect for music. Hart’s photographs of the legendary musician found in Seeing Stevie Ray present a deeply felt visual portrait that can almost be heard.
Fans of Texas great Ray Wylie Hubbard will appreciate Brian T. Atkinson’s The Messenger, which brings together a host of different musicians to explain why Hubbard’s songwriting is so masterful.
Legend has it that gonzo journalist/mad man Hunter S. Thompson once `tapped out at a wild party before Bud Shrake did. Says a lot about the man, and the same kind of hijinx is here in spades in Bud Shrake’s lost novel Hollywood Mad Dogs that the Press is excited to be publishing in partnership with the The Wittliff Collection.
HOLLYWOOD MAD DOGS
Art & Photography
There is beauty in the flat land. Laura Lewis’s paintings make the case that Texas’s plains region is just as striking as the rest of Texas.
AT HOME ON THE GREAT PLAINS OF TEXAS
Deborah Paris’s Painting the Woods is a communion between nature and art making. Narrative passages interweave with observations about the natural history of Lennox Woods, an old-growth southern hardwood forest in northeast Texas, its flora and fauna, art history, the science of memory, Transcendentalist philosophy, and the role of metaphor in creative work.
PAINTING THE WOODS
Daddy-O’s Book of Big-Ass Art features images of more than a hundred of artist Bob “Daddy-O” Wade’s most famous pieces, complete with the wild tales that lie behind the art, told in brief essays by both Wade and more than forty noted artists and writers familiar with Wade’s work. 2020 Texas Book Festival featured book. https://www.tamupress.com/
Rediscover one of Texas’ early modern, visionary landscape painters, Everett Spruce, whose art countered the mythic images of Texas as only a land of cattle and cowboys.Texas Made Modern: The Art of Everett Spruce traces Spruce’s artistic evolution from his early experimental work of the 1920s through the mysterious, surrealist-imbued landscapes of the 1930s.
TEXAS MADE MODERN
The Press is proud to have published the definitive biography of Roger Winter, one of the last surviving artists of the 1960s Dallas avant-garde and one of the most important American painters still working today. In The Art of Roger Winter Susie Kalil explores the myriad influences of the artist and his dizzying stylistic journey.
THE ART OF ROGER WINTERhttps://www.tamupress.
In 1912 Georgia O’Keeffe boarded a train in Virginia and headed west, to the prairies of the Texas Panhandle, where she eventually joined the faculty at what is now West Texas A&M University. Amy Von Lintel brings to readers the collected O’Keeffe correspondence and added commentary and analysis, shining fresh light on this period of the artist’s life, resulting in an important new examination of a beloved artist in a formative time in her life.