The best books about Houston

3 authors have picked their favorite books about Houston and why they recommend each book.

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Lot

By Bryan Washington,

Book cover of Lot: Stories

As a longtime resident of Houston, of course, I must include a book about this unusual place! Washington’s characters lead difficult lives, his narrative is tough, and sometimes his geographical references are misleading. Nonetheless, each episode (which unfolds on a particular lot or spot in Houston) captures the experience of living in the Bayou City – the traffic, the summer weather, the slow-moving waterways, the unruly weed patches, the architecture, the neatly maintained neighborhoods, and the mix of cultures from around the world. Houston was transformed from prairie, swamp, and piney woods to a landscaped metropolis by wildcatters, entrepreneurs, scientists, workers, creatives, and others. Washington’s stories evoke this dynamic human/environment connection throughout. 


Who am I?

My childhood was marked by weekly trips to the library, afternoons on the couch with snacks and novels, and imaginary play with friends. I became a professional historian later in life and found my home in the study of energy, environment, and technology as key factors in the story of human change. My workday is consumed with tracking down the facts of how and why things took place in the past. It's a delight to pick up a novel for the writing and narrative, and to put it down thinking about the environmental history hidden within. I selected these five books because they're renowned for their authorship, yet they convey tales of environmental change interwoven with the drama of human lives.


I wrote...

The Grid: Biography of an American Technology

By Julie Cohn,

Book cover of The Grid: Biography of an American Technology

What is my book about?

The North American power grid has been called the world's largest machine. Power lines connect nearly every living soul on the continent and Americans rely utterly on the miracle of electrification. This book traces the history of the grid, from early linkages in the 1890s through the grid's maturity as a networked infrastructure in the 1980s. It focuses on the strategies and technologies used to control power on the grid—in fact, made up of four major networks of interconnected power systems—paying particular attention to the work of engineers and system operators who handled the everyday operations.

The Grid investigates major challenges and major breakthroughs but also the hidden aspects of our electricity infrastructure, both technical and human. In a world looking for paths to a net-zero energy future, this book provides a look back at the choices, gambles, and innovations that brought our electric power system to this moment.

A Taste for Love

By Jennifer Yen,

Book cover of A Taste for Love

I picked up A Taste for Love while I was browsing the aisles at Barnes and Noble and the description and gorgeous cover immediately caught my eye. Sometimes it is hard to rewrite a classic story and make it your own, but Jennifer Yen does it beautifully here. I completely forgot that it was a retelling of Pride and Prejudice as I was swept away in Liza’s life and all the laugh-out-loud antics of her family and friends. I’m also a huge fan of Top Chef so all the cooking in this book only made me hungry for more.  


Who am I?

As a kid, I’ve always loved reading romances, even if it meant spending my recesses in the library and reading through lunchtime. This resulted in my 6th-grade teacher giving me the weirdest look when she caught me reading a romance at school. When I started writing, I wrote a couple of different genres to test out, but YA contemporary romances were always the ones that stuck with me. I loved writing about the fluttery feelings of first love and the complexities of an uncertain future. It also helps that I met my husband, the love of my life, in high school so I’ll always have a soft spot for books that make me feel that way again.


I wrote...

Fake It Till You Break It

By Jenn P. Nguyen,

Book cover of Fake It Till You Break It

What is my book about?

Mia and Jake have known each other their whole lives. They’ve endured summer vacations, Sunday brunches, even dentist visits together. Their mothers, who are best friends, are convinced that Mia and Jake would be the perfect couple, even though they can’t stand to be in the same room together. After Mia’s mom turns away yet another cute boy, Mia and Jake decide they’ve had enough. Together, they hatch a plan to get their moms off their backs. Permanently. All they have to do is pretend to date and then stage the worst breakup of all time―and then they’ll be free.

It’s the perfect plan - except that it turns out maybe Mia and Jake don’t hate each other as much as they once thought…

Footsteps

By DiAnn Mills,

Book cover of Footsteps

This book is a little different from the others I’ve recommended in that the heroine is not a victim of child or sexual abuse but abuse nonetheless when her children and husband disappear. She must come to understand and trust in the depth of God and His redemptive grace, mercy, and forgiveness. 


Who am I?

I am first and foremost an avid reader of a variety of genres, but women’s/romantic fiction is my favorite. I have a passion for God and His ability to pull us out of the deepest pit and transform a life of beauty from the ashes of our past. Although I write from a “Christian” viewpoint, I prefer characters with flaws and books that deal with women’s issues in a realistic way, not glossed over or hinted at. Which is why my tagline is “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ In my opinion, the harder our characters fall from grace, the more powerful their redemption or testimony will be.


I wrote...

The Visionary

By Pamela S. Thibodeaux,

Book cover of The Visionary

What is my book about?

While most visionaries see into the future, Taylor sees the past. but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as “a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique” Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disturbingly prevalent in today’s society.

Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives?

Burn for Me

By Ilona Andrews,

Book cover of Burn for Me

Ilona Andrews (a husband and wife team) is one of my instant buy authors. I love all their series but Hidden Legacy is my favorite. The intricate plots, compelling characters, and real-world feel make their books memorable. BURN FOR ME, set in an alternate Houston, Texas, introduces the reader to Navada Baylor and the Baylor Family Detective Agency. Navada is given a case she can’t refuse, which puts her in the crosshairs of two powerful Primes. Primes are the highest-ranked magic users and act as if they are above the law.

Nevada is a strong female character willing to do anything to protect the ones she loves.


Who am I?

I love stories set in contemporary urban environments where magic just happens to be real. This can take many forms, but my preference is a novel with realistic real-world scenarios that have to accommodate a magical world, without making things too easy for those with power. When I write Urban Fantasy (or SciFi) I try to inject logic and consistency into the worlds I create. My day job, working in the software industry and the logic skills needed to master problem solving, add these qualities to my writing.  


I wrote...

Dark Hope (The Devil's Assistant)

By H.D. Smith,

Book cover of Dark Hope (The Devil's Assistant)

What is my book about?

After five years of working for the Devil, Claire Cooper believes she lives an otherwise normal life. Until she finds herself in jeopardy for a murder she did not commit. Desperate to save her life and soul, she enters Purgatory, but runs afoul of the Pagan Queen Mab. Mab has her own agenda and uses Claire to get even with the Devil. Claire learns each ruler is in a race to discover “the girl” in the prophecy to fix time. As Claire peels away clues to the real killer, she realizes she must outwit the Devil’s children or end up a prisoner in Purgatory forever.

Eyes of Prey

By John Sandford,

Book cover of Eyes of Prey

Let’s talk about memorable beginnings and I am talking about the kind that will keep you awake at night. Sanford is gritty and he really pushes the edge with his villains. On that note, he really pushes the edge with his protagonists as well, because Lucas Davenport is one of my favorite cops. Take one very smart (but seriously disturbed villain) and one very smart (but intense cop) and pit them against each other.

As Lucas weaves through the unfathomable workings of the brain of someone who is truly unhinged, he encounters an unholy marriage of two killers who operate on a separate plane yet have a common goal and the result is chilling to say the least.

The Prey novels are never for the faint of heart, but always fast-paced and well-written, suspense being the end game each time.


Who am I?

Kate Watterson is the author of thriller novels for various publishers, and has always been a fan of the suspense genre. Good tension and a bit of danger balanced by an investigator who is on the trail, and she turns pages into the night. It is all about the hunt and the solution in her opinion, and of course, being perched on the edge of your seat.


I wrote...

The Lake House

By Kate Watterson,

Book cover of The Lake House

What is my book about?

Three friends with secrets. One luxurious lake house vacation. A killer on the loose. Lauren, Drew and Rob go on a relaxing vacation that turns into a nightmare. As Lauren sunbathes by the lake, she sees the man from next door lugging something heavy into a boat. The night before, Lauren thought she heard a woman screaming. What is their rich and famous neighbor hiding? Women are vanishing in this beautiful corner of Tennessee, full of woods and water. Detective Chris Bailey has his hands full. He's investigating a drowning from last summer. The woman was never identified. But a pattern is emerging. Another body surfaces. The killer will stop at nothing to stay hidden. Will Lauren be the next victim? And can she handle the fact both her friends are in love with her?

Deep Six

By Clive Cussler,

Book cover of Deep Six

I read this while living in Korea, so the sinister Asian shipping empire theme inspired me at a time when I was learning to write sea adventures myself. Deep Six also involves the Aleutian Islands, which is another place where I have lived and worked. These coincidences caused me to identify with the book, but Cussler is a master storyteller, which brought it all together.


Who am I?

I have worked and lived at sea for months at a time, and I have many memories of the sea, good and bad. I have lived through extreme Alaskan storms, fished in remote coves, and worked beyond exhaustion over and over. Working at sea taught me some important lessons about life and the possibility of sudden death. I experienced the romance of the sea from a young age, and it has inspired my writing.  


I wrote...

Hostile Takedown

By Roger Weston,

Book cover of Hostile Takedown

What is my book about?

CIA Director Will Harlock has a secret: Working off-the-books, using the CIA as a cover and also working from an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, he reigns over the Firm--the smallest, most elite, and most secret intelligence organization in the world. With a handful of eclectic agents, he oversees an operation to discover what is behind a secret cargo that poses huge danger to the public. America’s future is at stake. Will America survive—or will it crash and burn like the Roman Empire?

Seeking Safety

By T.L. Payne,

Book cover of Seeking Safety: A Post Apocalyptic EMP Survival Thriller (Gateway to Chaos Book One)

Not as popular as some of the above-named authors but still an incredible storyteller. The characters in this book fight for survival against roaming gangs and a bitter winter storm. Great dialogue and intriguing character development make you think you’re facing the same dangers and gasping for breath. The first book of a thrilling series!!!


Who am I?

I remember finding an old Edgar Rice Burroughs book on my grandfather’s bookshelf when I was nine years old. I opened the pages and started to read. From that moment, I was hooked on anything that had to do with fictional worlds. Books became my passion, gobbling them up by the hundreds. Also, attending a private Catholic elementary school, I constantly heard the tales of Revelations and the End Times. These two reasons instilled in me a passion for post-apocalyptic books and led me to write in the same genre. I hope you enjoy these books on the list as much as I have!


I wrote...

I call him HIM

By Scott W. Kimak,

Book cover of I call him HIM

What is my book about?

Reeling from the loss of his family, a lone warrior embarks across a post-apocalyptic wasteland on a quest for revenge. But his need for vengeance has consumed his soul and there is only one person who can save him from the call to darkness --- a young girl with a mystical power. In a desperate battle of good vs. evil, can the duo defeat the ultimate darkness? Or will they both be doomed?

Bestselling author Scott W Kimak takes the classic theme of good and evil and gives it a modern twist in this action-packed tale of the importance of keeping hope in the bleakest of circumstances.

The Wizard of Us

By Jean Houston,

Book cover of The Wizard of Us: Transformational Lessons from Oz

For anyone growing up in western culture, you’ve probably have heard of the story of The Wizard of Oz or are familiar with pieces of it. The excellent storyteller and teacher, Jean Houston, whom I’ve had the opportunity to study with and a good friend of my dear mentor, Mary Morrissey, shares insights that make this story personal. It is a story of transformation, of Dorothy traversing a new land, conquering her adversaries, and finally discovery the path home by tapping her feet together three times. Why, she asked the good witch why she wasn’t just told that in the beginning, the good witch’s response was, “because you wouldn’t have believed me anyway.” Maybe the journey is part of the process that enables us to build the awareness to open our doors.


Who am I?

I'm fascinated by how our world operates, from the macro-level to the microlevel and metaphysics. It creates more depth and makes life infinitely colorful and exciting, even in the most mundane things. I've been studying personal development and spirituality for almost 20 years now, and I find the journey of growth and becoming to be rewarding. Books that help me expand my horizon and think differently enable this process, and I find that to be exciting.


I wrote...

One Million Steps: Lessons From A Legendary Hike

By Ngan H. Nguyen,

Book cover of One Million Steps: Lessons From A Legendary Hike

What is my book about?

Stretching 500-miles across the northern part of Spain is the Camino Francés of the Camino de Santiago. A pilgrimage to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. It was by fate that I found this path, and it became one of the most incredible adventures of my life. The path was a unique window into historical, natural, and cultural beauty, but even more than that, it was a walk into more depth within my own being. It became a journey of healing and self-discovery.

In this book, I tell the story of that adventure as well as the countless powerful lessons I learned. May these lessons shine more light on your journey to whatever destination that may be pulling at your consciousness at this moment.

Every Little Step

By Bobby Brown, Nick Chiles,

Book cover of Every Little Step: My Story

New Jack Swing is one of the most distinctive eras of music and is also rich with behind-the-scenes stories. Brown was there for all of it, from New Edition to his solo career to his very public marriage to Whitney Houston, “Every Little Step” weaves stories from his wild personal life with stories from his lengthy music career.


Who am I?

When I was a kid, my biggest escape was my father’s record collection. Growing up in 1990s NJ, music was a huge part of my experience. Springsteen was from a few miles south, Bon Jovi was from the town next to mine, and Whitney Houston was from the same state but a different county. Music told stories. Inspired my the music of my youth, I now make my living as a storyteller— I tell stories onstage, write books about storytelling and teach others how to tell stories effectively. I have no musical gifts except for the mass consumption of any book with juicy tales about the world of music. Here are a few of my favorites.


I wrote...

Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need

By Margot Leitman,

Book cover of Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You'll Ever Need

What is my book about?

Do you ever wish you could tell a story that leaves others spellbound? Comedian, Upright Citizens Brigade storytelling program founder, and Moth champion Margot Leitman will show you how in this practical guide to storytelling.

Using a fun, irreverent, and infographic approach, Long Story Short breaks a story into concrete components. From content and structure to emotional impact and delivery, Leitman guides you through the entire storytelling process, providing personal anecdotes, relatable examples, and practical exercises along the way. Using a fun, irreverent, and infographic approach, Long Story Short breaks a story into concrete components. From content and structure to emotional impact and delivery, Leitman guides you through the entire storytelling process, providing personal anecdotes, relatable examples, and practical exercises along the way.

Play to Win (Southern Gentlemen Book 1)

By Ja'Nese Dixon,

Book cover of Play to Win (Southern Gentlemen Book 1)

I love all things family and in Play to Win, Author Ja’nese Dixon gives us a look at a family of seven but the parents get a divorce and are divorced twenty years before they remarry. This series shows how a family deals with divorce, co-parenting, business, marriage, relationships, and broken matters. Throughout this entire series, you will see some twists and turns that will shock you, but also teach you the power of forgiving and love. The value is that when you are a part of a family, you become a unit, even when there are moving parts.


Who am I?

In every book that I have recommended, you’ll find the dynamics of family and love. I’ve been a pastor for over fifteen years and now work as an author of both Christian fiction and non-fiction books. I'm a Chaplain for a Trauma One leveled hospital, and I counsel people of all ages. My master's degree in Religious Education is also a much-used tool as I’ve used education to deepen my quest to obtain knowledge. My love of books about family and love began when I lived in Yokosuka, Japan. I was far away from my family, beginning a new chapter with my own family, but right on the verge of learning how friends can truly turn into family.


I wrote...

Blame It On My Boots: Smith Family Cowgirls & Christian Romance

By Danyelle Scroggins,

Book cover of Blame It On My Boots: Smith Family Cowgirls & Christian Romance

What is my book about?

Shelly Shanay Smith is sassy and a little tom-boyish but she always thought she had the perfect man to love her, until he left home and never returns. So she did what any woman would… Shelly moved on. Chace loved Shelly and he still does. The thought of her being with another man was too much for his heart to bear. So when he finds out from a little birdie that she’s back on the market, he sees the second chance he’s prayed for and vows to win Shelly back.

But Shelly’s no fool and refuses to release her heart to the man who abandoned her once. It will take more than his killer smile, a chiseled body, and the memory of a perfect kiss to get her back. Will this country cowgirl have faith in her perfect boots, bringing the perfect man? Or will she allow her bruised heart to block her from her happily ever after?

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