Texas Center for the Book Announces the 2024 Texas Great Reads

Graphic with text reading 2024 Texas Great Read Program Selections and covers of The Which Way Tree and The Mystery of the Monarchs, with the Texas Center for the Book and TSLAC logos.

Many libraries across Texas carry copies of The Which Way Tree and The Mystery of the Monarchs; we encourage you to check them out! Talking Book Program patrons may request the The Which Way Tree now (DB 90644) ,  and The Mystery of the Monarchs will be available soon! In addition, both books are available through E-Read Texas, TSLAC’s statewide program that provides e-books to small and medium-sized public libraries statewide; if your local library is part of this network, you can access the books this way, too.

Every year, the Library of Congress asks each state Center for the Book to select titles that represent the state’s literary landscape to highlight at the National Book Festival, an event showcasing the importance of books and reading. This year’s festival will be held August 24 in Washington, DC, and online. Check out the Library of Congress website for details.

This summer, TSLAC will hold two video webinars, one for each book, including a video interview with each author and the opportunity for readers to ask questions. Stay tuned for registration. These events will be free and available on TSLAC’s YouTube channel after airing.

The Texas Center for the Book invites Texans to read The Mystery of the Monarchs and The Which Way Tree. For more information on the 2024 Texas Great Read Program, including synopses of the books, information about the authors and illustrator, and upcoming events, visit www.tsl.texas.gov/greatreadtexas.

October 19, 2023: “TEXAS GREAT READ” BONUS BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION

Please join us on Thursday, October 19 at 7:00 p.m. (Central) for our Great Texas Read book club discussion of WEST WITH GIRAFFES by Lynda Rutledge DB 102687, BR 24571.

Every year, the Library of Congress asks each state Center for the Book to select a title that represents the state’s literary landscape to highlight at the National Book Festival. The event showcases the importance of books and reading. The festival is sponsored by the Library of Congress and takes place during Labor Day weekend in Washington, D.C.

In honor of this event, the Texas Talking Book Program will host a bonus book club meeting so that our patrons can participate in the Great Texas Read initiative. The Great Texas Read is an event sponsored by Texas Center for the Book.

Our Book Club meetings via Zoom, however all you need to participate is a telephone! If you have a land line, we will provide a telephone number for you to dial. If you have a smart phone we will email you an easy “one click” number you can use to join the discussion. We will also email a Zoom invitation to those who prefer to use a computer. This information will be sent to all patrons who RSVP a week prior to the book club meeting.

To RSVP, please call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605. 

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge or if you prefer to download it from BARD. Also, please let us know if you would like a reminder via email or phone-call (or both).

NLS Annotation: As the Great Depression lingers, Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. In a 12-day road trip, Woodrow Wilson Nickel drives a custom truck to deliver the giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Some violence and some strong language. 2021.

We request that everyone remember the following:

  • Keep external distractions to a minimum.
  • Be courteous and be respectful of differing opinions.
  • Keep discussion points concise and relevant to the book.

We look forward to having you join us on Thursday, October 19!


Summer Reading Program and Read Across Texas Book Club Title Announced for June 2023!

Please join us on Thursday June 22 at 7:00 p.m. (Central) for our Book Club discussion of REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES by Shelby Van Pelt (DB 107924; BR 24204). This book is both a selection for Read Across Texas as well as our Summer Reading Program Adult Book Club pick!

For more information concerning the Read Across Texas Initiative: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/readacrosstexas.

We host our Book Club discussions via Zoom. However, all you need to participate is a telephone!

If you have a land line, we will provide a telephone number for accessing the Book Club.

If you have a smart phone, we will email an easy “one click” number you can use to join the discussion.

We can also send an email Zoom invitation to those who prefer to use a computer.

Patrons who register for the discussion will receive this information a week before the Book Club meeting.

Please contact a Reader’s Advisory Librarian at 1-800-252-9605 or tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov with any questions, or to RSVP.

REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES is available by mail as a digital cartridge, available to download via BARD, and available in braille.

We’re looking forward to having you join us on June 22!

REMARKABLY BRIGHT CREATURES by Shelby Van Pelt (DB 107924; BR 24204)

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift cleaning at the Sowell Bay Aquarium. Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors, until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova. Some strong language. Commercial audiobook. 2022.

Library of Congress Announces New U.S. Poet Laureate, Ada Limón

On July 12, 2022, Ada Limon was named the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States by the Library of Congress. The position was authorized by an act of Congress in 1985. Appointed by the Librarian of Congress, the poet laureate’s office is administered by the Center for the Book. Limón will assume her duties on September 29,. In the meantime, here are the books by previous U.S. Poet Laureates in the NLS Collection.

For more information: https://newsroom.loc.gov/news/librarian-of-congress-names-ada-lim-n-the-nation-s-24th-u.s.-poet-laureate/s/44d3bf04-61fa-465d-89f7-6ace60f0790a

2022-present: Ada Limón

2019–2022: Joy Harjo

AMERICAN SUNRISE: POEMS
DB 101306, BR 22723
CONFLICT RESOLUTION FOR HOLY BEINGS: POEMS
DB 100519, BR 22835
CRAZY BRAVE: MEMOIR
DB 97592, BR 22807
HOW WE BECAME HUMAN: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 96674, BR 22778
POET WARRIOR
LB 13827

2017–2019: Tracy K. Smith

LIFE ON MARS: POEMS
DB 74916, en español: DB 104879
SUCH COLOR: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 106653
WADE IN THE WATER: POEMS
DB 91468, BR 22310

2015–2017: Juan Felipe Herrera

BORDER-CROSSER WITH A LAMBORGHINI DREAM: POEMS
DB 106520
FEATHERLESS/DESPLUMADO: STORY/CUENTO
BR 16017
HALF OF THE WORLD IN LIGHT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DBE 00018
JABBERWALKING
BR 22695
UPSIDE DOWN BOY: EL NINO DE CABEZA
BR 13098

2014–2015: Charles Wright

BLACK ZODIAC
BR 11995
OBLIVION BANJO: THE POETRY OF CHARLES WRIGHT
DB 102171

2012–2014: Natasha Trethewey

BEYOND KATRINA: A MEDITATION ON THE MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST
BR 19612
MEMORIAL DRIVE: A DAUGHTER’S MEMOIR
DB 100452
MONUMENT: POEMS: NEW AND SELECTED
DB 94262, BR 22650
NATIVE GUARD
DB 65666
THRALL: POEMS
DB 75891

2011–2012: Philip Levine

MERCY: POEMS
BR 12822
NEW SELECTED POEMS
DB 74619
SEVEN YEARS FROM SOMEWHERE: POEMS
BR 04555
SIMPLE TRUTH: POEMS
BR 10139
WHAT WORK IS: POEMS
DB 34000

2010–2011: W. S. Merwin

LOST UPLAND
DB 36307
OPENING THE HAND
DB 32064
UNFRAMED ORIGINALS: RECOLLECTIONS
DB 19263

2008–2010: Kay Ryan

BEST OF IT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 72287
SYNTHESIZING GRAVITY: SELECTED PROSE
DB 100002, BR 23143

2007–2008: Charles Simic

BOOKS OF GODS AND DEVILS
DB 33645
HOTEL INSOMNIA
DB 37392
NEW AND SELECTED POEMS: 1962-2012
DB 83462
SCRIBBLED IN THE DARK: POEMS
DB 89595
VOICE AT 3:00 A.M.: SELECTED LATE AND NEW POEMS
DB 63320
WALKING THE BLACK CAT: POEMS
BR 10814
WEDDING IN HELL: POEMS
DB 39978
WORLD DOESN’T END
DB 32955, BR 08498

2006–2007: Donald Hall

CARNIVAL OF LOSSES: NOTES NEARING NINETY
DB 92353, BR 22422
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN POETRY
BR 01245
ESSAYS AFTER EIGHTY
DB 80647, BR 20675
HERE AT EAGLE POND
DB 34441
IDEAL BAKERY
DB 28382
LIFE WORK
DB 37596
LUCY’S CHRISTMAS
DB 40911
LUCY’S SUMMER
DB 40904
OLD AND NEW POEMS
DB 34487
OLD HOME DAY
DB 45071
ONE DAY: A POEM IN THREE PARTS
DB 30743
OX-CART MAN
DB 21584, BR 05914
POETRY SAMPLER
LB 00200
PRINCIPAL PRODUCTS OF PORTUGAL: PROSE PIECES
DB 41857
SEASONS AT EAGLE POND
DB 28160
SELECTED POEMS OF DONALD HALL
DB 85035, BR 21568
STRING TOO SHORT TO BE SAVED
LB 02513
UNPACKING THE BOXES: A MEMOIR OF A LIFE IN POETRY
DB 68474
WHEN WILLARD MET BABE RUTH
BR 10788
WHITE APPLES AND THE TASTE OF STONE: SELECTED POEMS, 1946-2006
DB 64104
WITHOUT: POEMS
BR 11891

2004–2006: Ted Kooser

DELIGHTS AND SHADOWS
DB 60382
POETRY HOME REPAIR MANUAL: PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR BEGINNING POETS
DB 61714
MR POSEY’S NEW GLASSES
DB 106348
WHEELING YEAR
DBC 01971

2003–2004: Louise Glück

AMERICAN ORIGINALITY: ESSAYS ON POETRY
DB 101223, BR 23461
FAITHFUL AND VIRTUOUS NIGHT
DB 101237, BR 23465
MEADOWLANDS
DB 43058
POEMS 1962-2012
DB 79850
TRIUMPH OF ACHILLES
BR 06473
WILD IRIS
DB 37600
WINTER RECIPES FROM THE COLLECTIVE
DB 106655

2001–2003: Billy Collins

AIMLESS LOVE: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 77867, BR 20375
POETRY 180: A TURNING BACK TO POETRY
DB 75492
RAIN IN PORTUGAL: POEMS
DB 87464, BR 21825
SAILING ALONE AROUND THE ROOM: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 53069

2000–2001: Stanley Kunitz

COLLECTED POEMS
DB 52239
INTERVIEWS AND ENCOUNTERS WITH STANLEY KUNITZ
DB 52177
PASSING THROUGH: THE LATER POEMS, NEW AND SELECTED
DB 42433
WELLFLEET WHALE AND COMPANION POEMS
DBC 04231

1997–2000: Robert Pinsky

AMERICANS’ FAVORITE POEMS: THE FAVORITE POEM PROJECT ANTHOLOGY
DB 5000, BR 12771
FIGURED WHEEL: NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS, 1966-1996
BR 11292
HISTORY OF MY HEART
DB 22693
JERSEY RAIN
DB 56663
LIFE OF DAVID
BR 16614
POEMS TO READ: A NEW FAVORITE POEM PROJECT ANTHOLOGY
DB 55374, BR 14510

1995–1997: Robert Hass

APPLE TREES AT OLEMA: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
DB 73030
HUMAN WISHES
DB 40909
SUMMER SNOW: NEW POEMS
DB 98754
SUN UNDER WOOD: NEW POEMS
BR 10828
TIME AND MATERIALS: POEMS 1997-2005
DB 66784
TWENTIETH CENTURY PLEASURES: PROSE ON POETRY
DB 25022

1993–1995: Rita Dove

DARKER FACE OF THE EARTH: A VERSE PLAY IN FOURTEEN SCENES
DB 39360
MOTHER LOVE: POEMS
DB 41331
ON THE BUS WITH ROSA PARKS
BR 12555
PLAYLIST FOR THE APOCALYPSE: POEMS
DB 105310, BR 23936
SELECTED POEMS
DB 40038
THOMAS AND BEULAH
DB 27316
THROUGH THE IVORY GATE
DB 36005

1992–1993: Mona Van Duyn

FIREFALL: POEMS
DB 37002
IF IT BE NOT I: COLLECTED POEMS, 1959-1982
DB 37854
NEAR CHANGES: POEMS
DB 35335

1991–1992: Joseph Brodsky

COLLECTED POEMS IN ENGLISH
DB 51984
LESS THAN ONE: SELECTED ESSAYS
DB 24352, BR 08784
NATIVITY POEMS
BR 14350
ON GRIEF AND REASON: ESSAYS
DB 42661
SO FORTH: POEMS
BR 10774
TO URANIA: SELECTED POEMS
DB 28616
WATERMARK
DB 35031

1990–1991: Mark Strand

BLIZZARD OF ONE: POEMS
DB 50109
CONTINUOUS LIFE
DB 32952
DARKER
DB 32314
MONUMENT
DB 32599
SELECTED POEMS
DB 37399

1988–1990: Howard Nemerov

HOWARD NEMEROV READER
DB 39005
INSIDE THE ONION
DB 21035
TRYING CONCLUSIONS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1961-1991
DB 36418

1987–1988: Richard Wilbur

COLLECTED POEMS, 1943-2004
DB 63295
NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS
BR 07575

1986–1987: Robert Penn Warren

ALL THE KING’S MEN
DB 53553, BR 13840
AUDUBON, A VISION
BR 01238
BAND OF ANGELS
DB 11520
CIRCUS IN THE ATTIC AND OTHER STORIES
DB 46060, BR 11646
LEGACY OF THE CIVIL WAR
DBC 03376, BR 12296
NEW AND SELECTED ESSAYS
DB 29919, BR 08067
NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, 1923-1985
DB 42648
PLACE TO COME TO
DB 52041
PORTRAIT OF A FATHER
DB 29884
WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME
DB 60856

11 New Texas Titles Available on BARD!

As summer approaches and temperatures creep steadily upward, beat the heat by dipping into these cool Texas titles recently added to BARD.

From Panhandle longhorns and Lone Star swimmin’ holes to “The Last Picture Show,” these Texas titles are an oasis from the heat and humidity.

Jump in, the reading’s fine!

FAR GONE by Laura Griffin (DBC 18373)

Andrea Finch is a rising star in the Austin police department until a split-second decision derailed her career. On leave from her job, she gets an urgent call from her younger brother. Andrea’s search for answers takes her to a dusty Texas border town where nothing is quite what it seems. FBI agent, Jon North, is working undercover in west Texas investigating an unsolved murder that may be linked to a broader plot. Strong language and some descriptions of sex.

JAKE by J.J. Pickle (DBC 18761)

Jake Pickle tells his own story of a lifetime of public service, most notably his thirty-one years in the U.S. Congress representing Texas’ Tenth District. A born raconteur, he begins with his youth in Big Spring, Texas, then his lean (in every sense) student years at the University of Texas during the Depression, followed by U.S. Navy service in World War II. The heart of the book is former Representative Pickle’s stories of political life—in Washington, D.C. and on the campaign trail back home in Austin, Texas.

JEFF MILTON, A GOOD MAN WITH A GUN by J. Evetts Haley (DBC 26248)

Jeff Milton was a cowboy, Texas Ranger, adventurer, and Arizona Border Patrolman. For seventy years he was known as a western gunman of great ability who followed a rigid code of honor.

LAST CAVALIER: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN A. LOMAX, 1867-1948 by Nolan Porterfield (DBC 26307)

John Avery Lomax considered himself a Texan even though was born in Mississippi. His belief in betterment through education led him to enroll at the newly established University of Texas in 1895. He is best known as a pioneering American folklorist although his colorful life included stints in academia and business. He is credited with collecting and preserving cowboy songs and African American folk songs that would otherwise have become a lost part of the rural culture of this nation.

For more information about Lomax, visit the Texas Center for the Book’s John A. Lomax Literary Landmark page: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/literarylandmark/Lomax.

ORILLA OSCURA by Jose Maria Merino (DBC 18765)

A Spanish professor who lives in the United States travels to Central America on sabbatical. During a visit to a museum, he discovers a portrait of a man who looks remarkably like his late father, a discovery that causes the professor to re-examine his youth and the events of his past. The “dark edge” of the novel’s title refers to the fine line between past and present, fantasy and reality, dreaming and waking.

Variant title: Title in English: DARK EDGE

REVOLUCION ES UN SUENO ETERNO by Andres Rivera (DBC 18766)

Winner of Argentina’s Premio Nacional de la Literatura in 1992, this novel re-imagines the life of a true military hero of Argentina’s Revolutionary War against Spain in 1810. In real life, Juan Jose Castelli died in poverty and disgrace but fate is kinder in fiction.

Variant Title: Title in English: Revolution is an eternal dream.

SAM HOUSTON WITH THE CHEROKEES by Jack Gregory (DBC 26254)

This tale covers Houston’s exile among the Cherokees after his resignation of the governorship of Tennessee. Includes many previously undiscovered pieces of information.

SHORT GRASS & LONGHORNS by Laura V. Hamner (DBC 26231)

Stories of the Panhandle area of Texas in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s. Strong language.

STRANGE FRUIT by Lillian Eugenia Smith (DBC 26267)

Regional novel of the deep South. It is the story of the love of an educated black girl for a white man, and the tragedies of murder and lynching which are the fruit of that love. Strong language. Explicit descriptions of sex.

SWIMMING HOLES OF TEXAS by Julie Wernersbach (DBC 18378)

Nothing beats a natural swimming hole for cooling off on a scorching summer day in Texas. Cold, clear spring water, big old shade trees, and a quiet stretch of beach or lawn offer the perfect excuse to pack a cooler and head out with family and friends to the nearest natural oasis. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or an unforgettable summer vacation, let The Swimming Holes of Texas be your guide.

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JACY FARROW? by Ceil Cleveland (DBC 18762)

Daughter of pioneer Texas ranchers, Ceil Cleveland grew up in Larry McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, fictionalized in his novel “The Last Picture Show.” Among the locals, Cleveland has long been assumed to be the model for the novel’s beautiful, bitchy character Jacy Farrow who was portrayed in the film version by Cybill Shepherd. In this memoir, Cleveland recalls a girl’s life in small-town Texas during the same era described by McMurtry from a boy’s point of view.