Humanities Texas will host its thirteenth annual Holiday Book Fair at the historic Byrne-Reed House in Austin on Saturday, December 9, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Twenty Texas authors will visit with the public and sign copies of their latest books, which Humanities Texas will offer for purchase at a discounted price. Available titles include works of fiction and nonfiction, with selections for both adult and young readers.

This year's authors include:
Chris Barton • Greg Beets and Richard Whymark • H. W. Brands • Edward Carey • Elizabeth Crook • George Getschow • Xelena González • S. C. Gwynne • Mark Atwood Lawrence • Jardine Libaire • James Magnuson • Taylor Moore • Roger Reeves • Carmen Tafolla • Don Tate • Ron Tyler • Bill Wright and Marianne Wood • Lawrence Wright

All proceeds benefit Texas libraries.

Street parking can be found in the neighborhood surrounding the Byrne-Reed House. Coffee and bake sale treats will be available. Invite your friends!

Friends of Humanities Texas receive an additional 25% percent discount on Holiday Book Fair purchases!

Glitter Everywhere! Where It Came From, Where It's Found & Where It's Going

Chris Barton

If you love glitter, this book is for you. If you hate glitter, this book is also for you.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about glitter. But how much do you know about the tiny, shiny confetti? What makes glitter glitter? Why does it stick to everything? Who invented it? How is it made? Is glitter bad for the environment?

Chris Barton's informative wit and Chaaya Prabhat's vibrant art make Glitter Everywhere sparkle as it covers the good, the bad, and shiny of all things glitter.

Chris Barton. Glitter Everywhere! Where It Came From, Where It's Found & Where It's Going (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2023).

A Curious Mix of People: The Underground Scene of '90s Austin

Greg Beets and Richard Whymark

It's 1990 in Austin, Texas. The next decade will be a tipping point in the city's metamorphosis from sleepy college town to major city. Beneath the increasingly slick exterior, though, a group of like-minded contrarians were reimagining an underground music scene. Embracing a do-it-yourself ethos, record labels emerged to release local music, zines cheered and jeered acts beneath the radar of mainstream media outlets, and upstart clubs provided a home venue for new bands to build their sound.

The first book about Austin underground music in the 1990s, A Curious Mix of People is an oral history that tells the story of this transformative decade through the eyes of the musicians, writers, DJs, club owners, record-store employees, and other key figures who were there.

Greg Beets and Richard Whymark. A Curious Mix of People: The Underground Scene of '90s Austin (University of Texas Press, 2023).

Founding Partisans: Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Adams, and the Brawling Birth of American Politics

H. W. Brands

From bestselling historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands, Founding Partisans is a revelatory history of the shocking emergence of vicious political division at the birth of the United States.

To the framers of the Constitution, political parties were a fatal threat to republican virtues. They had suffered the consequences of partisan politics in Britain before the American Revolution, and they wanted nothing similar for America. Yet parties emerged even before the Constitution was ratified, and they took firmer root in the following decade. In Founding Partisans, master historian H. W. Brands has crafted a fresh and lively narrative of the early years of the republic as the Founding Fathers fought one another with competing visions of what our nation would be.

H. W. Brands. Founding Partisans: Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, Adams, and the Brawling Birth of American Politics (Penguin Random House: Doubleday, 2023).

Edith Holler: A Novel

Edward Carey

The year is 1901. England's beloved queen has died, and her aging son has finally taken the throne. In the eastern city of Norwich, young Edith Holler spends her days among the boisterous denizens of the Holler Theatre, warned by her domineering father that the playhouse will literally tumble down if she should ever leave its confines. Fascinated by tales of the city she knows only from afar, she decides to write a play of her own: a stage adaptation of the legend of Mawther Meg, a monstrous figure said to have used the blood of children to make the local delicacy known as Beetle Spread. But when her father suddenly announces his engagement to a peculiar, imposing woman named Margaret Unthank, heir to the actual Beetle Spread fortune, Edith scrambles to protect her father, the theatre, and her play—the one thing that's truly hers—from the newcomer's sinister designs.

Teeming with unforgettable characters and illuminated by the author's trademark fantastical illustrations, Edith Holler is a surprisingly modern fable of one young woman's struggle to escape her family's control—and to reveal inconvenient truths about the way children are used.

Edward Carey. Edith Holler: A Novel (Penguin Random House: Riverhead Books, 2023).

The Madstone: A Novel

Elizabeth Crook

Texas Hill Country, 1868. As nineteen-year-old Benjamin Shreve tends to business in his workshop, he witnesses a stagecoach strand a passenger. When the man, a treasure hunter, persuades Benjamin to help track down the vanished coach—and a mysterious fortune left aboard—Benjamin is drawn into a drama whose scope he could never have imagined, for they discover on reaching the coach that its passengers include Nell, a pregnant young woman, and her four-year-old son, Tot, who are fleeing Nell's brutal husband and his murderous brothers. Learning of their plight, Benjamin offers to deliver Nell and Tot to a distant port on the Gulf of Mexico, where they can board a ship to safety.

Fraught with jeopardy from the outset, the trek across Texas becomes still more dangerous as buried secrets, including a cursed necklace, emerge. And even as Benjamin falls in love with Nell and imagines a life as Tot's father, vengeful pursuers are never far behind. Told in Benjamin's resolute and unforgettable voice, The Madstone is full of action, unrelenting peril, and droll humor—a thrilling and beautifully rendered story of three people sharing a hazardous and defining journey that will forever bind them together.

Elizabeth Crook. The Madstone: A Novel (Hachette: Little, Brown and Company, 2023).

Pastures of the Empty Page: Fellow Writers on the Life and Legacy of Larry McMurtry

George Getschow

This collection of essays offers an intimate view of Larry McMurtry, America's preeminent western novelist, through the eyes of a pantheon of writers he helped shape through his work over the course of his unparalleled literary life.

When he died in 2021, McMurtry was one of America's most revered writers. The author of treasured novels such as Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show and coauthor of the screenplays for Brokeback Mountain and Streets of Laredo, McMurtry created unforgettable characters and landscapes largely drawn from his life growing up on the family's hardscrabble ranch outside his hometown of Archer City, Texas. Pastures of the Empty Page brings together fellow writers to honor the man and his impact on American letters.

Contributors include Paulette Jiles, Stephen Harrigan, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Lawrence Wright alongside McMurtry's screenwriting partner Diana Ossana and his brother Charlie McMurtry. In contrast to his curmudgeonly persona, Pastures of the Empty Page paints a picture of McMurtry as a trustworthy friend and supportive mentor. McMurtry was famously self-deprecating, but as his admirers attest, this self-described "minor regional writer" was an artist for the ages.

George Getschow. Pastures of the Empty Page: Fellow Writers on the Life and Legacy of Larry McMurtry (University of Texas Press, 2023).


Xelena González

A family remembers their beloved pet dog through the traditions of Día de Muertos in this "gorgeous, deeply touching exploration of grief and remembrance" (Kirkus Reviews) from Pura Belpré Award–winning team author Xelena González and illustrator Adriana M. Garcia.

A child and their family observe the customs of Día de los Angelitos, one of the ritual celebrations of Día de Muertos, to celebrate the life of their beloved dog who passed away. They build a thoughtful ofrenda to help lead the pet's soul home and help the little one process their grief in this moving reminder that loved ones are never really gone if we take the time to remember them.

Xelena González. Remembering (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023).

His Majesty's Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World's Largest Flying Machine

S. C. Gwynne

The tragic fate of the British airship R101—which went down in a spectacular fireball in 1930, killing more people than died in the Hindenburg disaster seven years later—has been largely forgotten. In His Majesty's Airship, historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist S. C. Gwynne resurrects it in vivid detail, telling the epic story of great ambition gone terribly wrong.

Gwynne's chronicle features a cast of remarkable—and tragically flawed—characters, including Lord Christopher Thomson, the man who dreamed up the Imperial Airship Scheme and then relentlessly pushed R101 to her destruction; Princess Marthe Bibesco, the celebrated writer and glamorous socialite with whom he had a long affair; and George Herbert Scott, a national hero who was the first person to cross the Atlantic twice in any aircraft, in 1919—eight years before Lindbergh's famous flight—but who devolved into drink and ruin. These historical figures—and the ship they built, flew, and crashed—come together in "a Promethean tale of unlimited ambitions and technical limitations, airy dreams and explosive endings" (The Wall Street Journal).

S. C. Gwynne. His Majesty's Airship: The Life and Tragic Death of the World's Largest Flying Machine (Simon & Schuster: Scribner, 2023).

A Crown for Corina

Laekan Zea Kemp

Today is Corina's birthday, and she's excited to wear the biggest crown with the most beautiful flowers picked from her abuela's garden. Each flower tells a special story about all the ways Corina is rooted in the family she loves.

With elegant and eye-catching illustrations from award-winning artist Elisa Chavarri, this charming story from two Pura Belpré Award-winning creators shares a beloved family tradition through one girl's journey of self-discovery as she learns about the symbolism behind the Mexican flower crown.

Laekan Zea Kemp. A Crown for Corina (Hachette: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2023).

An Appetite for Miracles

Laekan Zea Kemp

Award-winning author Laekan Zea Kemp's heart-wrenching novel-in-verse follows two teens who must come together to heal the pain from their pasts, perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Nicola Yoon.

Danna Mendoza Villarreal's grandfather is slowly losing himself as his memories fade, and Danna's not sure her plan to help him remember through the foods he once reviewed will be enough to bring him back. Especially when her own love of food makes her complicated relationship with her mother even more difficult.

Raúl Santos has been lost ever since his mother was wrongly incarcerated two years ago. Playing guitar for the elderly has been his only escape—to help them remember and him forget. But when his mom unexpectedly comes back into his life, what is he supposed to do when she isn't the same person who left?

When Danna and Raúl meet, sparks fly immediately and they embark on a mission to heal her grandfather . . . and themselves. Because healing is something best done together—even if it doesn't always look the way we want it to.

Laekan Zea Kemp. An Appetite for Miracles (Hachette: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2023).

LBJ's America: The Life and Legacies of Lyndon Baines Johnson

Mark Atwood Lawrence

In innumerable ways, we still live in LBJ's America. More than half a century after his death, Lyndon Baines Johnson continues to exert profound influence on American life. This collection skillfully explores his seminal accomplishments—protecting civil rights, fighting poverty, expanding access to medical care, lowering barriers to immigration—as well as his struggles in Vietnam and his difficulty responding to other challenges in an era of declining U.S. influence on the global stage. Sweeping and influential, LBJ's America probes the ways in which the accomplishments, setbacks, controversies, and crises of 1963 to 1969 laid the foundations of contemporary America and set the stage for our own era of policy debates, political contention, distrust of government, and hyper-partisanship.

Mark Atwood Lawrence and Mark Updegrove. LBJ's America: The Life and Legacies of Lyndon Baines Johnson (Cambridge University Press, 2023).

You're an Animal: A Novel

Jardine Libaire

It's springtime in Oklahoma, and Ernie feels uneasy. Nerves at the abandoned summer camp where he and his fellow oddballs are crashing have been on edge since the arrival of a teenager named Coral, unceremoniously dropped off from her family's minivan one afternoon. Adding to her aura of mystery, Coral doesn't say a word. Ever.

When an explosion burns the compound to the ground, Ernie, Coral, and the hard-living couple Staci and Ray escape on a pair of motorcycles to a rundown house in rural Texas: It's a place to stay, they tell themselves, for now. Yet to their surprise, over card games and wild strawberries and target-shooting and late-night dancing to ZZ Top on the local radio, a quirky little family forms. At the heart of their new home is Coral, whose silence only amplifies her strange, undefinable power and the sense that she found them for a reason.

But soon, tensions rise, and a mysterious threat begins to materialize—whether it's coming from inside or outside the house still isn't clear. All this crew knows is, now there's something at stake: their chosen family, forged by both loneliness and joy, and bonded by an awkward kind of love.

Jardine Libaire. You're an Animal: A Novel (Penguin Random House: Hogarth, 2023).

Young Claus: A Novel

James Magnuson

Young Lars Claus loses his father in a logging accident and, with his mother and grandmother, has to move to a strange land in the Far North, a land of exiles, outcasts, and survivors. Here he encounters a school where the children only laugh at the misfortunes of others; where no one has ever seen a tree; where small, bizarre tomten are imprisoned beneath a fish-liver-oil factory; and where his widowed mother is courted by the malevolent Mayor Wolfpaw.

Young Claus is a wild romp of a book that soars into the skies and plunges deep beneath the permafrost. It is a book filled with marvels and ghosts—a book where Lars, with the aid of invisible helpers, will learn to carve; where he will discover sorrows as deep as his own, and eventually, the healing powers of gifts. It charts the journey of a boy beset by grief who will, after many trials, fashion a vision of generosity that will encompass the entire world.

James Magnuson. Young Claus: A Novel (Texas Christian University Press, 2023).

Ricochet: A Garrett Kohl Novel

Taylor Moore

After hunting down a rogue spy as part of an elite CIA counterespionage unit, Garrett Kohl returns to Texas in hopes of settling down. While learning the ropes of fatherhood, falling deeper in love with his high school crush, and rebuilding his wildfire-ravaged cattle ranch, he is approached in secret by an engineer working at a nearby nuclear weapons plant. Garrett soon embarks on an off-the-books investigation and learns that Iranian operatives are blackmailing weapons facility employees and planning a devastating act of destruction.

Before Garrett's CIA team can take down the extortionists, enemy commandos hijack a train carrying nuclear weapons and activate an assassin to murder the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Caught flatfooted by the sudden attack, Garrett musters the only help he can find—a ragtag crew of outcasts and outlaws, some of whom he'd once put behind bars. Although they're from different walks of life, and opposite sides of the law, they hold in common the deep desire to protect their homes, their families, and their way of life on the remote Texas High Plains.

Taylor Moore. Ricochet: A Garrett Kohl Novel (HarperCollins: William Morrow, 2023).

Dark Days: Fugitive Essays

Roger Reeves

In his debut work of nonfiction, award-winning poet Roger Reeves finds new meaning in silence, protest, fugitivity, freedom, and ecstasy. Braiding memoir, theory, and criticism, Reeves juxtaposes the images of an opera singer breaking the state-mandated silence curfew by singing out into the streets of Santiago, Chile, and a father teaching his daughter to laugh out loud at the planes dropping bombs on them in Aleppo, Syria. He describes the history of the hush harbor—places where enslaved people could steal away to find silence and court ecstasy, to the side of their impossible conditions. In other essays, Reeves highlights a chapter in Toni Morrison's Beloved to locate common purpose between Black and Indigenous peoples; he visits the realities of enslaved people on McLeod Plantation, where descendants of those formerly enslaved lived into the 1990s; and he explores his own family history, his learning to read closely through the Pentecostal tradition, and his passing on of reading as a pleasure, freedom, and solace to his daughter, who is frightened the police will gun them down.

Together, these groundbreaking essays build a profound vision for how to see and experience the world in our present moment and how to strive toward an alternative existence in intentional community underground.

Roger Reeves. Dark Days: Fugitive Essays (Macmillan: Graywolf Press, 2023).

Arte del Pueblo: The Outdoor Public Art of San Antonio

Carmen Tafolla

A celebration of the power of public art to express a community's cultural heritage, Arte del Pueblo explores San Antonio's heart and soul. In moving photography and poetic commentary, it covers five genres of public art in a variety of artistic styles, from murals, sculpture, and mosaics to street art and digital art projections. Readers will come away with a deeper understanding of this multicultural crossroad through an introduction to its major artistic influences, as well as thought-provoking interviews with eleven of the 190 artists featured. San Antonio's public artworks can be found everywhere: from its famous River Walk to the West Side Barrio, in parks and libraries, along roadways and bridges, on high-rises and restaurants. The book's suggested self-tours guide those who wish to appreciate their favorite pieces in person.

Carmen Tafolla. Arte del Pueblo: The Outdoor Public Art of San Antonio (Schiffer Publishing, 2022).

Warrior Girl: A Novel

Carmen Tafolla

Celina and her family are bilingual and follow both Mexican and American traditions. Celina revels in her Mexican heritage, but once she starts school it feels like the world wants her to erase that part of her identity. Fortunately, she's got an army of family and three fabulous new friends behind her to fight the ignorance. But it's her Gramma who's her biggest inspiration, encouraging Celina to build a shield of joy around herself. Because when you're celebrating, when you find a reason to sing or dance or paint or play or laugh or write, they haven't taken everything away from you. Of course, it's not possible to stay in celebration mode when things get dire–like when her dad's deported and a pandemic hits–but if there is anything Celina's sure of, it's that she'll always live up to her last name: Guerrera–woman warrior–and that she will use her voice and writing talents to make the world a more beautiful place where all cultures are celebrated.

Carmen Tafolla. Warrior Girl: A Novel (Penguin Random House: Nancy Paulson Books, 2023).

Jerry Changed the Game! How Engineer Jerry Lawson Revolutionized Video Games Forever

Don Tate

Before Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo Switch, there was a tinkerer named Jerry Lawson. As a boy, Jerry loved playing with springs, sprockets, and gadget-y things. When he grew up, Jerry became an engineer—a professional tinkerer—and in the 1970s, he turned his technical know-how to video games.

Back then, if players wanted a new video game, they had to buy an entire new console, making gaming very expensive. Jerry was determined to fix this problem, and despite roadblocks along the way and having to repeat a level or two, it was never game over for his mission. Eventually, he leveled up and built a brand-new kind of video game console: one that allowed players to switch out cartridges! He also founded Video Soft Inc., the first African American–owned video game company in the country.

Jerry's tinkering and inventions changed the video gaming world forever. Today, gamers have access to hundreds of video games at the push of a button, all thanks to him.

Don Tate. Jerry Changed the Game! How Engineer Jerry Lawson Revolutionized Video Games Forever (Simon & Schuster: Paula Wiseman Books, 2023).

Roto and Roy: To the Rescue!

Don Tate

When a flash flood threatens a nearby town, helicopter Roto and pilot Roy soar to the rescue! Quick—a truck needs to be hoisted to safety! Hurry—that family's car is being swept away! Now grab as many sandbags and supplies as you can carry! This mission's going to be rough, but Roy and Roto are tougher than tough.

From Sherri Duskey Rinker, bestselling author of the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series, and acclaimed illustrator Don Tate, this action-packed story showcases two awesome heroes and the power of teamwork.

Sherri Duskey Rinker and Don Tate. Roto and Roy: To the Rescue! (Hachette: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2023).

Texas Lithographs: A Century of History in Images

Ron Tyler

Westward expansion in the United States was deeply intertwined with the technological revolutions of the nineteenth century, from telegraphy to railroads. Among the most important of these, if often forgotten, was the lithograph. Before photography became a dominant medium, lithography—and later, chromolithography—enabled inexpensive reproduction of color illustrations, transforming journalism and marketing and nurturing, for the first time, a global visual culture. One of the great subjects of the lithography boom was an emerging Euro-American colony in the Americas: Texas.

The most complete collection of its kind—and quite possibly the most complete visual record of nineteenth-century Texas, period—Texas Lithographs is a gateway to the history of the Lone Star State in its most formative period. Ron Tyler assembles works from 1818 to 1900, many created by outsiders and newcomers promoting investment and settlement in Texas. The images collected here envision an Eden of opportunity—a fairy-tale dream that remains foundational to Texans' sense of self and to the world's sense of Texas.

Ron Tyler. Texas Lithographs: A Century of History in Images (University of Texas Press, 2023).

Celia Hill's Headin' West: To a Remote Canyon Paradise

Bill Wright and Marianne Wood

Celia Smith Hill's journal provides a glimpse of hardscrabble life in far West Texas during the first half of the twentieth century. Hill's family moved to Texas from Tennessee in the late 1800s. After her death, Bill Wright and Marianne Wood researched the history of the area and interviewed family and friends to provide context for Hill's colorful tale of endurance in an unforgiving landscape. Hill's family suffered lean times during the Depression before cinnabar—mercury ore—was discovered on her family's property. During World War II, the Fresno Mines supplied one tenth of all the mercury produced in the United States. After graduating college, Celia began a peripatetic teaching career that lasted decades, marrying and losing two husbands along the way. Finally, living alone along the most remote western border of Texas, Celia spent her later years selling snacks to the occasional visitor. Bill Wright met Celia at her La Junta General Store in Ruidosa, where she told him about her unfinished journal. With this book Bill fulfills his promise to share her courageous and fascinating life with others.

Bill Wright and Marianne Wood. Celia Hill's Headin' West: To a Remote Canyon Paradise (Texas Christian University Press, 2023).

Mr. Texas: A Novel

Lawrence Wright

Sonny Lamb is an affable, if floundering, rancher with the unfortunate habit of becoming a punchline in his Texas hometown. But when a fire breaks out at a neighbor's farm, Sonny makes headlines in another way: not waiting for help, he bolts to the farm where his heroic actions make the evening news.

Almost immediately, a handsomely dressed lobbyist from Austin arrives at his ranch door and asks if he'd like to run for his West Texas district's seat in the state legislature. Though Sonny has zero experience, the fate of his ranch—and his marriage to the lovely "cowgirl" Lola—hangs in the balance. With seemingly no other choice, Sonny decides to throw his hat in the ring.

As he navigates life in politics—from running a campaign to negotiating in the capitol—Sonny must learn the ropes, weighing his own ethics and environmental concerns against the pressures of veteran politicians, savvy lobbyists, and his own party. In tracing Sonny's attempt to balance his marriage and morality with an increasingly volatile professional life, Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author Lawrence Wright has crafted an irresistibly funny and clever roller-coaster ride about one man's pursuit of goodness in the Lone Star State.

Lawrence Wright. Mr. Texas: A Novel (Penguin Random House: Knopf, 2023).