Humanities Texas will host its annual holiday book fair at the historic Byrne-Reed House on Saturday, December 8, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A number of noteworthy authors, including H. W. Brands, Paul Woodruff, Jan Reid, John Spong, George Bristol, Jacqueline Kelly, Gilbert Garcia, Peter LaSalle, Sarah Cortez, Martha Braniff, John Kerr, Jenna McEachern, and Arturo Madrid, will visit with the public and sign copies of their latest books, which Humanities Texas will offer for purchase at a discounted price.

Proceeds will benefit Texas libraries.

Park for free in the St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church's large lot on the northwest corner of 15th and Rio Grande Streets, and enjoy coffee and a bake sale of donated and homemade treats.

Read below for more information about the authors and their books!

The Gap Year

Sarah Bird

Cam has raised her daughter Aubrey alone, but the bond between mother and daughter seems to have disappeared. While Cam is frantic to see Aubrey, a straight-A student, at the perfect college, Aubrey suddenly shows no interest in her mother's plans. Even the promise of an exciting gap year saving baby seals or bringing clean water to remote villages hasn't tempted her. Both mourn the gap that has grown between them, but Cam and Aubrey seem locked in a fight without a winner. Can they both learn how to hold onto dreams . . . and when to let go to grasp something better? Sarah Bird's trademark laugh-out-loud humor joins with the tears that accompany love in a combination that reveals the fragile yet tough bonds of mother and daughter. Bird is an Austin-based screenwriter, journalist, and author of several books, including The Boyfriend School and How Perfect is That.

The Gap Year book jacket.

The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr

H. W. Brands

H. W. Brands is the Dickson, Allen, Anderson Centennial Professor of History at The University of Texas at Austin. He writes on American history and politics, with books including Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, and T. R.: The Last Romantic. Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The First American, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.

Though he was a hero of the Revolutionary War, a prominent New York politician, and vice president of the United States, Aaron Burr is today best remembered as the villain who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. But as Brands demonstrates in this fascinating portrait of one of the most compelling politicians in American history, Burr was also a man before his time—a proponent of equality between the sexes well over a century before women were able to vote in the U.S. Through Burr's extensive, witty correspondence with his daughter Theodosia, Brands traces the arc of a scandalous political career and the early years of American politics. The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr not only dramatizes through their words his eventful life, it also tells a touching story of a father's love for his exceptional daughter, which endured through public shame, bankruptcy, and exile, and outlasted even Theodosia's tragic disappearance at sea.

The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr book jacket.

The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace

H. W. Brands

Ulysses Grant rose from obscurity to discover he had a genius for battle, and he propelled the Union to victory in the Civil War. After Abraham Lincoln's assassination and Andrew Johnson's brief presidency, America turned to Grant again to unite the country, this time as president. In Brands's sweeping, majestic biography, Grant emerges as a heroic figure who was fearlessly on the side of right. He was a beloved commander in the field but willing to make the troop sacrifices necessary to win the war, even in the face of storms of criticism. He worked valiantly to protect the rights of freedmen in the South; Brands calls him the last presidential defender of black civil rights for nearly a century. Yet within decades of his death, his reputation was in tatters, the victim of Southerners who resented his policies on Reconstruction. In this page-turning biography, Brands reconsiders Grant's legacy and provides a compelling and intimate portrait of a man who saved the Union on the battlefield and consolidated that victory as a resolute and principled political leader.

The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace book jacket.

Step Over Rio

Martha Everhart Braniff

Martha Everhart Braniff is an author, poet, and child advocate based in Houston. After creating the first art program at the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center, in 1984 she founded Child Advocates, a non-profit organization serving abused children. Step Over Rio is a novel about a young Guatemalan boy's triumphant odyssey to find a better life in the United States. Aided by a fearless journalist and federal agent, his journey is woven into a larger quest to bring down the kingpins of a child trafficking ring. The novel, a fictional exploration of very real and timely issues affecting hundreds of thousands of youths every year, is based on actual crimes researched through federal agencies and on Braniff's work with abused and neglected children and child immigrants over the past thirty years.

Step Over Rio book jacket.

On Politics and Parks

George Bristol

When George Bristol first saw the mountains surrounding East Glacier, Montana, in the early summer of 1961, he was, in his own words, awed to his depths. Thus began a love affair with nature and public parks that has endured for more than fifty years. This same love affair would lead Bristol to become a crusader for America's national parks and, later, to be largely credited for the rescue of the ailing public park system in his home state. In On Politics and Parks, Bristol tells his own story in lively prose that includes many intriguing peeks at behind-the-scenes events in Washington, Austin, and elsewhere. Beginning with his upbringing by a widowed young mother with a passion for music and literature, he narrates the converging of influences that led him to an influential political career, culminating in a place on the board of the National Park Foundation (NPF). Over ten years and five legislative sessions, Bristol, through the Texas Coalition for Conservation, the nonprofit organization he founded, fought for everyone who loves the state's public lands. On Politics and Parks is at once a lesson in conservation history and a captivating personal memoir that will inform, entertain, and inspire all those who share Bristol's love for the unspoiled beauty of the outdoors and his commitment to preserve that beauty for future generations.

On Politics and Parks book jacket.

Laugh with the Moon

Shana Burg

Thirteen-year-old Clare Silver is stuck. Stuck in denial about her mother’s recent death. Stuck in the African jungle for sixty-four days without phone reception. Stuck with her father, a doctor who seems able to heal everyone but Clare. She feels like a fish out of water at Mzanga Full Primary School, where she must learn a new language. Soon, though, she becomes immersed in her new surroundings and impressed with her fellow students. When Clare's new friends take her on an outing to see the country, the trip goes horribly wrong, and Clare must face heartbreak head-on. Shana Burg is the author of A Thousand Never Evers. She currently lives in Austin.

Laugh with the Moon book jacket.

A Thousand Never Evers

Shana Burg

In Kuckachoo, Mississippi, 1963, Addie Ann Pickett worships her brother Elias and follows in his footsteps by attending the black junior high school. But when her careless act leads to her brother's disappearance and possible murder, Addie Ann, Mama, and Uncle Bump struggle with not knowing if he's dead or alive. Then a good deed meant to unite Kuckachoo sets off a chain of explosive events. Addie Ann knows Old Man Adams left his land to the white and black people to plant a garden and reap its bounty together, but the mayor denies it. On garden picking day, Addie Ann's family is sorely tested. Through tragedy, she finds the voice to lead a civil rights march all her own, and maybe change the future for her people.

A Thousand Never Evers book jacket.

Hill Country Deco

David Bush and Jim Parsons

In this book, authors and photographers David Bush and Jim Parsons examine and record the artistic elements and original economic purposes of Art Deco buildings in San Antonio, Austin, and the Hill Country, offering insights into architectural preservation while providing an appreciative view of sometimes overlooked corners of Central Texas. Some buildings are obscured and hardly recognizable due to unsympathetic remodeling or neglect, while others have had their Deco designs maintained through the decades or restored as new appreciation for the style has emerged. Hill Country Deco explores how the rich history of these structures intersects with progressive notions of historic preservation. The photographers' images clearly capture the lines and angles of Art Deco and document buildings that were significantly altered from their original forms. David Bush is director of programs and information for the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. Jim Parsons is a freelance writer, an editor, and a photographer.

Hill Country Deco book jacket.

Summer and Bird

Katherine Catmull

In this young adult book, when their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely—Down—one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen. With breathtaking language and deliciously inventive details, Austin-based author and actor Katherine Catmull has created a world unlike any other, skillfully blurring the lines between magic and reality and bringing to life a completely authentic cast of characters and creatures.

Summer and Bird book jacket.

Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston

Sarah Cortez

This groundbreaking, mixed-genre memoir journeys from the soil of Texas farmland near Floresville to the shrimpers' nets of the Gulf Coast, near Matagorda, and the twentieth-century metropolis of Houston. Memoirist Sarah Cortez views three generations of Hispanic families through the lens of their dreams both fulfilled and unfulfilled. Cortez broadens the definition of memoir to include the literary space of faith and the function of deep belief. Cortez is a teacher, poet, and police officer who was born in Houston.

Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston book jacket.

The Texas Book Two

David Dettmer

The Texas Book (2006) offered the first in-depth exploration of The University of Texas's history and traditions through a collection of profiles, histories, and reminiscences. Now The Texas Book Two continues the story, with a variety of contributors recalling particular events and personalities that have helped shape the university and the people whose lives it has touched. Twenty-one essays present personalities such as John A. Lomax, Anna Hiss, J. R. Parten, Harvey Penick, John W. Hargis, and Jorge Luis Borges; accounts of legislative battles and debates over campus architecture; histories of crown jewels such as the McDonald Observatory and Austin City Limits; and the reminiscences of Barbara Smith Conrad, Sam Hurt, and Cat Osterman, among others. Editor David Dettmer is an educator and writer who has been associated with The University of Texas at Austin as a student and staffer for nearly two decades. Today, he is a staff member in the Office of the President at UT and an adjunct professor of English at Austin Community College.

The Texas Book Two book jacket.

Reagan's Comeback: Four Weeks in Texas That Changed American Politics Forever

Gilbert Garcia

In this book, Gilbert Garcia describes the dramatic turning point when Ronald Reagan found his voice as a presidential contender and overcame the Republican establishment. Reagan's Comeback is the story of how one state, one man, and one month changed national politics forever. Chronicling how Reagan's political career nearly ended, this turnabout story is told by those who made it happen: campaign volunteers, financiers, political activists, and media observers. Positioning Reagan to win in 1980, the birth of the "Reagan Democrat" transformed Texas from Democratic stronghold to the reliably Republican powerhouse it is today, since producing five Republican presidential candidates and two Republican presidents.

Reagan's Comeback: Four Weeks in Texas That Changed American Politics Forever book jacket.

Slingin' Sam: The Life and Times of the Greatest Quarterback Ever to Play the Game

Joe Holley

Slingin' Sam is the first major biography of legendary quarterback Slingin' Sammy Baugh, one of the first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Holley traces the whole arc of Baugh's life (1914–2008), from his small-town Texas roots to his college ball success as an All-American at TCU, his brief flirtation with professional baseball, and his stellar career with the Washington Redskins (1937–1952), as well as his later career coaching the New York Titans and Houston Oilers and ranching in West Texas. Through Holley's vivid descriptions of close-fought games, Baugh comes alive both as the consummate all-around athlete who could play every minute of every game, on both offense and defense, and as an all-around good guy.

Slingin' Sam book jacket.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Jacqueline Kelly

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones. With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is a 2010 Newbery Honor Book and the winner of the 2010 Bank Street Josette Frank Award.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate book jacket.

Return to the Willows

Jacqueline Kelly

In this sequel to the The Wind in the Willows, Jacqueline Kelly evokes the magic of Kenneth Grahame's beloved 1908 children’s classic, bringing back Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger for more rollicking adventures. Clint Young's lavish illustrations accompany the text. Kelly was born in New Zealand and raised in Canada. She now makes her home with her husband and various cats and dogs in Austin and Fentress, Texas. She is a practicing physician.

Return to the Willows book jacket.

Fell the Angels

John Kerr

Fell the Angels is based on the well-known, unsolved murder by poisoning of Charles Bravo in Victorian-era London. The victim, re-christened Charles Cranbrook in the novel, died in his bed from poisoning a mere four months after marrying the beautiful and exceptionally wealthy Cecilia Henderson. During the course of the coroner's inquest into the death it emerged that Cecilia had been involved in a scandalous affair with the much older, famous physician Dr. James Gully, whose patients numbered William Gladstone, Lord Tennyson, and Charles Darwin. In Fell the Angels, Cranbrook's mysterious murder is investigated by the brilliant crime detective Duncan Cameron. Kerr, a Humanities Texas board member, published his first novel, Cardigan Bay, in 2008. Kerr also co-authored Only A Khaki Shirt, A Memoir of the Pacific War with his late father, Baine Kerr, which the Admiral Nimitz Foundation published in 2006.

Fell the Angels book jacket.

A Rose in No Man's Land

John Kerr

Set in Flanders and France during World War I, A Rose in No Man's Land opens with idealistic volunteer Frank Harrington's first trip to collect wounded British soldiers in his American Field Service ambulance. After making the perilous journey under German bombardment, he allows himself a brief respite and falls in love with the English nurse Kit Stanley. Kerr's powerful novel paints a vivid picture of life just behind the front lines and of the ordinary, unsung men and women whose sacrifice and heroism helped save the lives of thousands of soldiers. 

A Rose in No Man's Land book jacket.

Mariposa's Song: A Novel

Peter LaSalle

In his new novel Mariposa's Song, Peter LaSalle uses a single book-length sentence to tell of a young Honduran woman, twenty-year-old Mariposa, who is in the U.S. without documentation. She's working as a bar girl in a scruffy East Austin nightclub called El Pájaro Verde in 2005, and her story takes readers into the shadowy world that undocumented workers are too often forced to live in today. LaSalle is Susan Taylor McDaniel Regents Professor in Creative Writing at The University of Texas at Austin, teaching in both the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers. He is the author of several books of fiction, and his work has appeared in many anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Travel Writing, Sports' Best Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards.

Mariposa's Song: A Novel book jacket.

In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico

Arturo Madrid

In the Country of Empty Crosses is Arturo Madrid's complex yet affirming memoir about northern New Mexico—places such as Tierra Amarilla, San Augustín, and Los Fuertes, which were once among the most remote in the nation. This is Madrid's homeland, a place in which his ancestors predate those who landed at Plymouth Rock. Madrid grew up in a family that was doubly removed from the community: as Hispanic Protestants, they were a minority among the region's politically dominant Anglo Protestants and a minority within the overwhelmingly Catholic Hispanic populace. He writes affectingly of the lives of his family as they negotiated prejudice and racism in a beautiful if sometimes unforgiving landscape. The result is an account of New Mexico unlike any other, one in which humor and heartache comfortably coexist. Images by acclaimed photographer Miguel Gandert complement the narrative to portray unkempt rural cemeteries, New Mexico's small villages, and stunning vistas while capturing the sense of loss and survival, hope and redemption that marks this moving and loving memoir.

In the Country of Empty Crosses: The Story of a Hispano Protestant Family in Catholic New Mexico book jacket.

DKR: The Royal Scrapbook

Jenna McEachern

DKR offers an intimate, insider's view of the private life of the legendary University of Texas football coach through an extraordinary collection of never-before-published photographs, letters, newspaper clippings, football ephemera, recollections, and "Royalisms" lovingly preserved by Royal's wife of more than sixty-five years, Edith. This irreplaceable family archive offers revealing snapshots of Royal's entire life, from his impoverished youth in Oklahoma, through his courtship of Edith and his glory days as a player at Oklahoma and a coach at Texas, to his retirement career as a goodwill ambassador for the university. Accompanying the images are moving recollections from fellow coaches and former players, family members, and friends who testify to Royal's honesty and integrity and the transformative effect that his character has had on the legions of people whose lives he has touched. Jenna Hays McEachern is the author of 100 Things Longhorn Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.

DKR: The Royal Scrapbook book jacket.

Fair Park Deco

Jim Parsons and David Bush

Fair Park Deco is a fascinating tour of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition. Like every American exposition in the 1930s, it began in economic depression. Although its economy had been buoyed by major oil discoveries in the early '30s, Texas agriculture was hard hit by the Great Depression. By the middle of the decade, state officials had set their sights on a great centennial celebration to help stimulate the economy and attract tourist dollars. This book focuses specifically on the Art Deco art and architecture of Fair Park—the public spaces, buildings, sculptures, and murals that were designed for the 1936 exposition. Most of the chapters in the book represent different areas of Fair Park, with buildings and artwork effectively arranged in the same order that a visitor to the Texas Centennial Exposition might have seen them. The art and architecture are featured in original photography by Jim Parsons and David Bush as well as in historic photographs.

Fair Park Deco book jacket.

Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards

Jan Reid

In Let the People In, Jan Reid draws on his long friendship with Ann Richards, interviews with her family and many of her closest associates, her unpublished correspondence with longtime companion Bud Shrake, and extensive research to tell a very personal, human story of Ann Richards's remarkable rise to power as a liberal Democrat in a conservative Republican state. Reid traces the whole arc of Richards's life, beginning with her youth in Waco, her marriage to attorney David Richards, her frustration and boredom with being a young housewife and mother in Dallas, and her encounters with Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter. He tells the full, inside story of Richards's rise from county office and the state treasurer's office to the governorship, where she championed gun control, prison reform, environmental protection, and school finance reform. Reid goes on to explain why she lost her reelection bid to George W. Bush. His nuanced portrait reveals a complex woman who battled her own frailties and a good-old-boy establishment to claim a place on the national political stage and prove "what can happen in government if we simply open the doors and let the people in."

Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards book jacket.

A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove

John Spong

Widely acclaimed as the greatest western ever made, Lonesome Dove has become a true American epic. Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was a New York Times best seller, with more than 2.5 million copies currently in print. A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove takes you on a fascinating behind-the-scenes journey into the creation of the book and the miniseries. Writer John Spong talks to forty of the key people involved, including author Larry McMurtry; actors Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston, Diane Lane, Danny Glover, Ricky Schroder, D. B. Sweeney, Frederic Forrest, and Chris Cooper; executive producer and screenwriter Bill Wittliff; executive producer Suzanne de Passe; and director Simon Wincer. They and a host of others tell lively stories about McMurtry's writing of the epic novel and the process of turning it into the miniseries Lonesome Dove. Accompanying their recollections are photographs of iconic props, costumes, set designs, and shooting scripts.

A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove book jacket.

The Ajax Dilemma: Justice, Fairness, and Rewards

Paul Woodruff

In The Ajax Dilemma, Paul Woodruff examines one of today's most pressing moral issues: how to distribute rewards and public recognition without damaging the social fabric. How should we honor those whose behavior and achievement is essential to our overall success? Is it fair or right to lavish rewards on the superstar at the expense of the hardworking rank-and-file? How do we distinguish an impartial fairness from what is truly just? Woodruff builds his answer to these questions around the ancient conflict between Ajax and Odysseus over the armor of the slain warrior Achilles. Woodruff argues that while we can never create a perfect system for distributing just rewards, we can recognize the essential role that wisdom, compassion, moderation, and respect must play if we are to restore the basic sense of justice on which all communities depend. Woodruff is the Darrell K. Royal Professor in Ethics and American Society and inaugural dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Ajax Dilemma: Justice, Fairness, and Rewards book jacket.