Holiday Book Fair

Holiday Book Fair: Saturday, December 8

Humanities Texas will host its ninth annual Holiday Book Fair at the historic Byrne-Reed House in Austin on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Twenty-seven noteworthy authors—including Lawrence Wright, Sarah Bird, H. W. Brands, Elizabeth Crook, Joe Holley, Bill Wittliff, Carrie Fountain, Michael Barnes, Mimi Swartz, Chris Barton, Don Graham, Bethany Hegedus, Kyle Longley, Austin Bay, Kenny Braun, Samantha M. Clark, Xelena González, Paul Woodruff, Bronson Dorsey, Virginia A. Cumberbatch, Leslie A. Blair, Bill Wright, Wyatt McSpadden, Barbara Morgan, Kevin Robbins, Anne R. Keene, and Jennifer Ziegler—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 youth readers.

All proceeds benefit Texas libraries.

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

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


God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State

Lawrence Wright

With humor and the biting insight of a native, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower explores the history, culture, and politics of Texas, while holding the stereotypes up for rigorous scrutiny. God Save Texas is a journey through the most controversial state in America. It is a red state that hasn't elected a Democrat to a statewide office in more than twenty years, but it is also a state in which minorities already form a majority (including the largest number of Muslims). The cities are blue and among the most diverse in the nation. Oil is still king, but Texas now leads California in technology exports. The Texas economic model of low taxes and minimal regulation has produced extraordinary growth but also striking income disparities. God Save Texas is a meditation on politics, community, commitment, and legacy; it is a profound portrait of a state that not only reflects America as it is, but as it may become.

Wright, Lawrence. God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State. (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018).

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Sarah Bird

Powerful, epic, and compelling, Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen shines light on a nearly forgotten figure in history. Cathy Williams was born and lived a slave—until the Union army comes and destroys the only world she's known. Separated from her family, she makes the impossible decision—to fight in the army disguised as a man with the Buffalo Soldiers. With courage and wit, Cathy must not only fight for her survival and freedom in the ultimate man's world but also never give up on her mission to find her family and the man she loves. Beautiful, strong, and impactful, Cathy's story is one that illustrates the force of hidden history come to light, the strength of women, and the power of love.

Bird, Sarah. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen. (Thorndike, 2018).

Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants

H. W. Brands

In the early days of the nineteenth century, three young men strode onto the national stage, elected to Congress at a moment when the Founding Fathers were beginning to retire to their farms. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, a champion orator known for his eloquence, spoke for the North and its business class. Henry Clay of Kentucky, as dashing as he was ambitious, embodied the hopes of the rising West. South Carolina's John Calhoun, with piercing eyes and an even more piercing intellect, defended the South and slavery. Together this second generation of American founders took the country to war, battled one another for the presidency, and tasked themselves with finishing the work the Founders had left undone. Above all, they sought to remedy the two glaring flaws in the Constitution: its fudge on where authority ultimately rested, with the states or the nation; and its unwillingness to address the essential incompatibility of republicanism and slavery. They wrestled with these issues for four decades, arguing bitterly and hammering out political compromises that held the union together, but only just. Then, in 1850, when California moved to join the union as a free state, "the three great men of America" had one last chance to save the country from the real risk of civil war. But by then they were never further apart. Thrillingly and authoritatively, H. W. Brands narrates an epic American rivalry and the little-known drama of the dangerous early years of our democracy.

Brands, H. W. Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants. (Doubleday, 2018).

The Which Way Tree

Elizabeth Crook

Early one morning in the remote hill country of Texas, a panther savagely attacks a family of homesteaders, mauling a young girl named Samantha and killing her mother, whose final act is to save her daughter's life. Samantha and her half-brother, Benjamin, survive, but she is left traumatized, her face horribly scarred. Narrated in Benjamin's beguilingly plainspoken voice, The Which Way Tree is the story of Samantha's unshakeable resolve to stalk and kill the infamous panther, rumored across the Rio Grande to be a demon, and avenge her mother's death. In the tradition of the great pursuit narratives, The Which Way Tree is a breathtaking saga of one steadfast girl's revenge against an implacable and unknowable beast. Yet, with the comedic undertones of Benjamin's storytelling, it is also a timeless tale full of warmth and humor and a testament to the enduring love of a brother and sister caught up in a perilous adventure that takes on the dimensions of a legend.

Crook, Elizabeth. The Which Way Tree. (Little, Brown and Company, 2018).

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

Joe Holley

An inside look at the 2017 Houston Astros championship season, focusing on the epic seven-game World Series, the front office decisions that built a winning team, and the resilience of the city in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. On November 1, 2017, the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in an epic seven-game battle to become 2017 World Series champs. For the Astros, the combination of a magnificently played series, a 101-victory season, and the devastation Hurricane Harvey brought to their city was so incredible it might give Hollywood screenwriters pause. The nation's fourth-largest city, still reeling in the wake of disaster, was smiling again. The Astros' first-ever World Series victory is a great baseball story, but it's also the story of a major American city―a city (and a state) that the rest of the nation doesn't always love or understand―becoming a sentimental favorite because of its grace and goodwill in response to the largest natural disaster in American history.

Holley, Joe. Hurricane Season: The Unforgettable Story of the 2017 Houston Astros and the Resilience of a City. (Hachette Books, 2018).

The Devil's Fork

Bill Wittliff

In this engrossing conclusion to The Devil's Backbone and The Devil's Sinkhole, the young man Papa and his cowboy amigo Calley Pearsall encounter relentless enemies and supernatural helpers as their escapades drive them toward the Devil's Fork. Proving himself a master storyteller once again, Bill Wittliff spins a yarn as engrossing as the stories his own Papa told him long ago.

Wittliff, Bill. The Devil's Fork. (University of Texas Press, 2018).

I’m Not Missing

Carrie Fountain

It’s senior year, and Miranda Black's best friend, Syd, has run away―suddenly and inexplicably, leaving behind nothing but a pink leopard print cell phone with a text message from the mysterious HIM. Everyone wants to know why Syd left, but the truth is, Miranda has no idea. When Miranda’s mother abandoned her as a child, Miranda had found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor. Now Miranda's been left behind again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is―and if she’s even a friend worth saving―all while stumbling into first love with the most unlikely boy in school. How do you take on the future when it feels like so much of your past wasn't even real?

Fountain, Carrie. I'm Not Missing. (Flatiron, 2018).

Indelible Austin: More Selected Histories

Michael Barnes

Indelible Austin: More Selected Histories collects several dozen historical columns written by Michael Barnes and originally published by the Austin American-Statesman. The notion of publishing a book grew out of frequent reader requests for a collected version of these stories that have not been covered in standard histories of Austin. The columns connect Old Austin with New Austin and almost always bring the historical record into the present. Themes include natural settings, built environments, older neighborhoods, ancestral families, and park gems, as well as the meeting of politics, cultures, and charity and interpretations of how Old and New Austin relate. Stories from African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and the LGBT community are all featured.

Michael Barnes, Indelible Austin: More Selected Histories (Waterloo Press, 2018).

Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart

Mimi Swartz

It wasn't supposed to be this hard. If America could send a man to the moon, shouldn't the best surgeons in the world be able to build an artificial heart? In TickerTexas Monthly executive editor and two-time National Magazine Award winner Mimi Swartz shows just how complex and difficult it can be to replicate one of nature's greatest creations. Part investigative journalism, part medical mystery, Ticker is a dazzling story of modern innovation, recounting fifty years of false starts, abysmal failures, and miraculous triumphs, as experienced by one the world's foremost heart surgeons, O. H. "Bud" Frazier, who has given his life to saving the un-savable. 

Swartz, Mimi. Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart. (Crown, 2018).

What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

Chris Barton

Even as a child growing up in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Barbara Jordan stood out for her big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It was a voice that made people sit up, stand up, and take notice. So what do you do with a voice like that? Barbara took her voice to places few African American women had been in the 1960s: first law school, then the Texas State Senate, then up to the United States Congress. Throughout her career, she persevered through adversity to give voice to the voiceless and to fight for civil rights, equality, and justice. Learn all about her amazing career in this illuminating and inspiring picture book biography by New York Times bestselling author Chris Barton and Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes.

Chris Barton, What Do You Do With a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (Beach Lane Books, 2018).

Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film

Don Graham

A larger-than-life narrative of the making of the classic film, marking the rise of America as a superpower, the ascent of Hollywood celebrity, and the flowering of Texas culture as mythology. Featuring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, Giant is an epic film of fame and materialism, based around the discovery of oil at Spindletop and the establishment of King Ranch of south Texas. Isolating his star cast in the wilds of West Texas, director George Stevens brought together a volatile mix of egos, insecurities, sexual proclivities, and talent. Stevens knew he was overwhelmed with Hudson’s promiscuity, Taylor’s high diva-dom, and Dean’s egotistical eccentricity. Yet he coaxed performances out of them that made cinematic history. Drawing on archival sources, Graham's Giant is a comprehensive depiction of the film's production showing readers how reality became fiction and fiction became cinema.

Graham, Don. Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film. (St. Martin's Press, 2018).

All Around Us

Xelena González

Grandpa says circles are all around us. He points to the rainbow that rises high in the sky after a thundercloud has come. "Can you see? That's only half of the circle. That rest of it is down below, in the earth." He and his granddaughter meditate on gardens and seeds, on circles seen and unseen, inside and outside us, on where our bodies come from and where they return to. They share and create family traditions in this stunning exploration of the cycles of life and nature. All Around Us has won multiple awards including the 2018 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award and the 2018 Texas Institute of Letters Literary Award Award for Best Picture Book.

González, Xelena. All Around Us. (Cinco Puntos Press, 2017).

The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers' Perspectives on Philanthropy

Paul Woodruff

In giving to charity, should we strive to do the greatest good or promote a lesser good that we care more about? On such issues, ethical theory can have momentous practical effects. This volume is a unique collection of new papers on philanthropy from a range of philosophical perspectives. The authors are among the best-regarded philosophers writing on ethics today and include a number of thinkers who have not previously published on the subject.

Woodruff, Paul, ed. The Ethics of Giving: Philosophers' Perspectives on Philanthropy. (Oxford University Press, 2018).

LBJ's 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America's Year of Upheaval

Kyle Longley

1968 was an unprecedented year of upheavals: political, military, economic, social, cultural. In the United States, perhaps no one was more undone by the events of 1968 than President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Kyle Longley leads his readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of what Johnson characterized as the "year of a continuous nightmare." Longley explores how LBJ confronted the most significant events of 1968, including the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and the violent Democratic National Convention in Chicago. His responses to the crises were sometimes effective but often tragic, and LBJ's refusal to seek re-election underscores his recognition of the challenges facing the country in 1968. As much a biography of a single year as it is of LBJ, Longley vividly captures the tumult that dominated the headlines on a local and global level.

Longley, Kyle. LBJ's 1968: Power, Politics and the Presidency in America's Year of Upheaval. (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Cocktails from Hell: Five Complex Wars Shaping the 21st Century

Austin Bay

Even in the absence of a major war, the world remains a dangerous place. Fuses are lit in practically every region and on every continent, which could eventually ignite a global conflagration and draw the world’s superpowers into a deadly and catastrophic conflict. The United States, Russia, and China all eye these regional conflicts with care—each hoping to use this turmoil to its advantage. Meanwhile, each of these countries attempts to avoid major direct intervention that would trigger its rivals into action. In Cocktails from Hell, Col. Austin Bay provides a concise and indispensable guide to the most dangerous threats against peace facing the United States—and the world. An expert in military strategy, analysis, and planning, Bay uses his critical eye and sharp pen to bring each of these bubbling global situations into sharp focus, both in their local and global contexts. Civilian students of war and military experts alike will benefit from his knowledge and insights.

Bay, Austin. Cocktails From Hell: Five Complex Wars Shaping the 21st Century. (Bombardier Books, 2018).

As Far as You Can See: Picturing Texas

Kenny Braun

Texas continually awes and surprises with its natural beauty. Within the state's quarter-million square miles are scenic landscapes as varied as the rugged desert mountains of Big Bend country, cypress swamps and old-growth forests in the Piney Woods, ocean beaches and dunes along the Gulf Coast, and stretches of the Great Plains that spread as widely over the earth as the skies above. Kenny Braun has traveled the length and breadth of Texas photographing its vast lands. In As Far as You Can See, he presents a portfolio of stunning images that capture the natural splendor of the entire state.

Braun, Kenny. As Far as You Can See: Picturing Texas. (University of Texas Press, 2018).

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast

Samantha M. Clark

A boy washes up on a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited beach. Who is he? How did he get there? The boy can't remember. When he sees a light shining over the foreboding wall of trees that surrounds the shore, he decides to follow it, in the hopes that it will lead him to answers. The boy's journey is a struggle for survival and a search for the truth—a terrifying truth that once uncovered, will force him to face his greatest fear of all if he is to go home.

Clark, Samantha M. The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast. (Simon & Schuster, 2018).

Lost, Texas: Photographs of Forgotten Buildings

Bronson Dorsey

In Lost, Texas: Photographs of Forgotten Buildings, Bronson Dorsey takes us on a tour of old, abandoned buildings in Texas that evoke the mystique of bygone days and shifting population patterns. With a skilled photographer's eye, he captures the character of these buildings, mostly tucked away in the far corners of rural Texas—though, surprisingly, some of his finds are in the midst of thriving communities, even, in one case, the Dallas metroplex. Most of the buildings are abandoned and in a state of decay, though a handful have been repurposed as museums, residences, or other functional structures. Encompassing all regions of the state, from the Piney Woods to the Panhandle, the images in Lost, Texas evoke distinctive memories of the past. They grant a sense of how those who preceded us lived and how the Texas of earlier days became the Texas of today.

Dorsey, Bronson. Lost, Texas: Photographs of Forgotten Buildings. (Texas A&M University Press, 2018).

As We Saw It: The Story of Integration at the University of Texas at Austin

Virginia A. Cumberbatch and Leslie A. Blair

In 2016, The University of Texas at Austin celebrated two important milestones: the thirtieth anniversary of the Heman Sweatt Symposium on Civil Rights and the sixtieth anniversary of the first black undergraduate students to enter the university. These historic moments aren't just special; they are relevant to current conversations and experiences on college campuses across the country. The story of integration at The University of Texas against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South is complex and momentous—a story that necessitates understanding and sharing. Likewise, this narrative is inextricably linked to current conversations about students' negotiations of identity and place in higher education.

Cumberbatch, Virginia A., Leslie A. Blair, and Gregory J. Vincent, eds. As We Saw It: The Story of Integration at the University of Texas at Austin. (University of Texas Press, 2018).

The Whole Damn Cheese: Maggie Smith, Border Legend

Bill Wright

Anecdotes about Maggie Smith abound, but Bill Wright's The Whole Damn Cheese is the first book devoted entirely to the woman whose life in Big Bend country has become the stuff of legend. For more than twenty years—from 1943 until her death in 1965—Maggie Smith served folks on both sides of the border as doctor, lawyer, midwife, herbalist, banker, self-appointed justice of the peace, and coroner. As she put it, she was "the whole damn cheese" in Hot Springs, Texas. She was also an accomplished smuggler with a touch of romance as well as larceny in her heart. Her travels between Boquillas, San Vicente, Alpine, and Hot Springs define Maggie's career and illustrate her unique relationships with the people of the border. Capturing the rough individualism and warm character of Maggie Smith, author Bill Wright demonstrates why this remarkable frontier woman has become an indelible figure in the history of Texas.

Wright, Bill. The Whole Damn Cheese: Maggie Smith, Border Legend. (Texas Christian University Press, 2018).

Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird

Bethany Hegedus

The inspiring true story of Harper Lee, the girl who grew up to write To Kill a Mockingbird. Nelle Harper Lee grew up in the rocky red soil of Monroeville, Alabama. From the get-go, she was a spitfire. Unlike most girls at that time and place, Nelle preferred overalls to dresses and climbing trees to tea parties. Nelle loved to watch her daddy try cases in the courtroom. More than anything, Nelle loved words. This love eventually took her all the way to New York City, where she dreamed of becoming a writer. Nelle wouldn't give up—not until she discovered the right story, the one she was born to tell. Finally, that story came to her, and Nelle, inspired by her childhood, penned To Kill a Mockingbird. A groundbreaking book about small-town injustice that has sold over forty million copies, Nelle's novel resonated with readers the world over, who, through reading, learned what it was like to climb into someone else's skin and walk around in it.

Hegedus, Bethany. Alabama Spitfire: The Story of Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. (Balzer + Bray, 2018).

Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown

Wyatt McSpadden

In Texas BBQ (2009), Wyatt McSpadden immortalized the barbecue joints of rural Texas in richly authentic photographs that made the people and places in his images appear as timeless as barbecue itself. The book found a wide, appreciative audience as barbecue surged to national popularity with the success of young urban pitmasters such as Austin's Aaron Franklin, whose Franklin Barbecue has become the most talked about BBQ joint on the planet. Succulent, wood-smoked "old school" barbecue is now as easy to find in Dallas as in DeSoto, in Houston as in Hallettsville. In Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown, Wyatt McSpadden pays homage to this new urban barbecue scene, as well as to top-rated country joints, such as Snow's in Lexington, that were under the radar or off the map when Texas BBQ was published.

McSpadden, Wyatt. Texas BBQ, Small Town to Downtown. (University of Texas Press, 2018).

On Story―The Golden Ages of Television

Barbara Morgan

On Story―The Golden Ages of Television explores the transformation of television's narrative content over the past several decades through interviews with some of TV's best creators and writers, including Garry Shandling (The Larry Sanders Show), Carl Reiner (The Dick Van Dyke Show), Issa Rae (Insecure), Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Greg Daniels (The Office), Paula Pell (Saturday Night Live), Noah Hawley (Fargo), Liz Meriwether (New Girl), David Chase (The Sopranos), Alan Yang (Master of None), Marta Kauffman (Friends), Jenji Kohan (Orange Is the New Black), and many more.

Morgan, Barbara and Maya Perez, eds. On Story―The Golden Ages of Television. (University of Texas Press, 2018).

Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf

Kevin Robbins

The first-ever biography of the iconic and beloved golf coach who caddied for Francis Ouimet, played with Ben Hogan, competed against Bobby Jones, shaped Ben Crenshaw, and distilled his golf wisdom into the Little Red Book, granting simplicity to a vexing yet beloved sport. Millions of people were charmed by the homespun golf advice dispensed in Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, a sports classic that went on to become the best-selling sports book of all time. Yet, beyond the Texas golf courses where Penick happily toiled for the better part of eight decades, few people knew the self-made golf pro who coaxed the best out of countless greats—Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Betsy Rawls, Mickey Wright—all champions who considered Penick their coach and lifelong friend. In Harvey Penick, Kevin Robbins tells the story of this legendary steward of the game. Part elegy to golf's greatest teacher, part inquiry into his simple, impactful teachings, part history of golf over the past century, Harvey Penick is an exquisitely written sports biography.

Robbins, Kevin. Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf. (University of Texas Press, 2018).

The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II

Anne R. Keene

In 1943, the New York Yankees won the World Series, but one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a child, Anne Keene's father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team bat boy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally, watching players hit the road on cramped, tin-can buses, dazzling factory workers, kids, and service members at dozens of games, including a war-bond exhibition with Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium. Jimmy followed his baseball dreams as a college All-American but was crushed later in life by a failed major-league bid with the Detroit Tigers. He would have carried this story to his grave had Anne not discovered his scrapbook from Navy school. With the help of rare images and insights from World War II baseball veterans such as Yankees legends Dr. Bobby Brown and Eddie Robinson, the story of this remarkable team is brought to life for the first time.

Keene, Anne R. The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II. (Sports Publishing, 2018).

Revenge of the Teacher's Pets

Jennifer Ziegler

The Brewster triplets have this whole school year figured out. They'll share notes and books and help plan their big sister's wedding, and they're all going to be on color guard. Smooth sailing through the seventh grade. Only nothing goes right. They're accidentally on cheer squad, of all things. And the sisters are split into different classes―which Darby is failing because of her terrible participation grade. Meanwhile, Delaney really likes cheerleading and doesn't want just go along with what Dawn wants this time, especially on her cheering crusade. Can the triplets take turns pretending to be Darby, plan a shower for their beloved big sister, and stay out of the trouble Dawn keeps getting them into? And more importantly, can they do it without being split up for good? Three times the teacher's pets means three times the school shenanigans in this fun Brewster Triplets romp from Jennifer Ziegler.

Ziegler, Jennifer. Revenge of the Teacher's Pets. (Scholastic Press, 2018).