Over the years, as I pick books I think I might like, I find one set in Texas more often than you might think. Why Texas? And what draws readers like me to these books? Just what makes that place compelling enough to draw me to novels about this sprawling state?
Good questions, right?
For answers I looked back at the novels I’ve bought and read. A couple of points do come to mind:
- Texas is a large enough state (it could have been five states) to encompass a wide variety of geography: eastern Texas looks much like the rest of the south – pine forests, farmland. Then the rolling hills west of San Antonio. Prairie to the north. From this it’s easy enough to declare the geography itself a character in the best novels.
- Texas, as one friend tells me, “accepts an oddball for every regular person there, all on equal terms.” From oil workers to motorcycle gangs to business types to self-styled cowboys to some of the finest musicians in the nation, all somehow fit into the state’s psyche, making the state’s people industrious, quirky, down to earth and sometimes even a bit dangerous.
- This last trait says a lot about the way the state seems so diverse, so odd, so interesting. From the streets of lawyer-laden Dallas to the oil country of the football-crazy panhandle to yuppie-fied Austin there’s a feral streak in Texas, a wildness, that remains untamed, that touches everyone, everything. Even the youthful wildness remaining in me.
Texas is a feeling as much as it’s a people, a geography. I might sum it up by having you listen to my friend Eric Taylor sing about the state, his song, Texas, Texas. Then hustle on down to your indie bookstore and start browsing. You just might latch onto one set in the Lone Star State.
You can find the song at: https://www.reverbnation.com/erictaylor/song/26853675-texas-texas or at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwAWRDKI4lE
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