The most recommended books about Texas

Who picked these books? Meet our 218 experts.

218 authors created a book list connected to Texas, and here are their favorite Texas books.
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Book cover of A Likeable Woman

Suzy Spencer Author Of The Fortune Hunter

From my list on money-loving, murdering Texans.

Who am I?

I’ve written four true crime books about Texas murders. The first, Wasted, was about the murder of a rich lesbian in Austin, Texas. It was a New York Times bestseller. My last, The Fortune Hunter, was about the murder of a multi-millionaire media mogul. It was the basis of the Lifetime TV movie Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer. I have since started writing memoir. Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality was about my journalistic exploration into the worlds of alternative sex practices, written through my uptight, prudish Texan, wide-opened eyes. It was featured on Katie Couric’s talk show, Katie.

Suzy's book list on money-loving, murdering Texans

Suzy Spencer Why did Suzy love this book?

After reading a lot of true crime, I need a break from reality. That’s when I escape into murderous thrillers by May Cobb, an author many people call the Jackie Collins of Texas.

Whereas Jackie wrote about the glamorous and cosmopolitan, May writes about the small-town scions of East Texas, who think they’re glamorous and cosmopolitan.

A Likeable Woman, which comes out July 11, 2023, revolves around Kira, who has believed since she was 12 years old that her mother was murdered. Everyone else in Longview, Texas, including her grandmother and sister, knows that Sadie Foster committed suicide.

Decades later, Kira learns that her grandmother holds an unpublished memoir written by Sadie that indicates Kira might have been right all along.

A Likeable Woman contains everything that drives my writing passions—murder, memoir, and East Texas—and reads at breakneck speed. 

By May Cobb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Likeable Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kira’s back in her affluent hometown for the first time in years and determined to unravel the secrets of her mother’s death--hidden in the unpublished memoir she left behind-- even if it kills her. . . .

After her troublemaker mother’s mysterious death, Kira fled her wealthy Texas town and never looked back. Now, decades later, Kira is invited to an old frenemy’s vow renewal celebration Though she is reluctant to go, there are things pulling her home. . . like chilled wine and days spent by the pool . . . like her sexy teenage crush, Jack. But more…


Book cover of Dark

Julie Embleton Author Of Bound

From my list on not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch.

Who am I?

The idea of paranormal beings living amongst us makes me irrationally giddy. It constantly distracts me as I wonder how they blend into society and live behind their closed doors. Happy to explore these possibilities, I love to read and write books where wolves, vamps, and witches are put through the wringer as they navigate a world that’s sometimes hidden, and other times not. Tenacious females, gutsy heroes, and heinous villains inhabit my dark paranormal and epic fantasy realms, but with added twists that make them not-your-usual paranormal tales. When not torturing my characters, I can be found reading tarot as I live my own otherworldly life in Dublin, Ireland. 

Julie's book list on not-your-usual vampire, werewolf, and witch

Julie Embleton Why did Julie love this book?

Ever wonder what would happen if paranormal beings were ousted on social media? Kinney explores this enticing idea in her Texas Shifter series, where she’s created a gritty new existence for vamps and wolves. With one of the MCs a freshly-bitten hot mess, and desperate to avoid eating her family, she seeks help from her equally troubled (and broody) ex. Cue the drama, sass, chemistry, and steam. What I enjoyed most is how the more hard-hitting, sobering themes of this book are balanced out by the spice and sarcasm. But best of all? No damsel in distress! 

By Kat Kinney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hayden Crowe fronts an all-girls band down in Austin, Texas. Between tending bar so her sister can stay in school and dealing with the fallout after their addict father skipped town, she hasn’t exactly had time to join the social media freak out over the recent outing of vampires and werewolves.

Her world comes crashing down the night she’s attacked in an alley after a gig and bitten by a feral werewolf. Unable to return home for fear of hurting her sister, and with a message scrawled across her arm warning HOSPITALS NOT SAFE, Hayden is left with just one…


Book cover of Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition

David Bowles Author Of Comanche Trace

From my list on the American westward movement.

Who am I?

I've always had a passion for epic events in history, especially Texas history. I'm the fifth generation of my family born in Travis County, Texas. Both my parents were from early pioneer settlers. My great-grandmother Elnora Van Cleve was the first child born in Austin on April 14, 1841. When I first heard the family story of Elnora’s nine-year-old cousin Fayette, kidnapped by Comanche Indians on Shoal Creek, I knew the story must be told. I approached two well-known authors about writing the book. Both said, only I could write the story to my satisfaction. They were right and I wrote the award-winning Comanche Trace.

David's book list on the American westward movement

David Bowles Why did David love this book?

I highly recommend this 2-volume set of books The Texan Santa Fe Expedition to anyone interested in the days of the Republic of Texas 1836-1845. The narrative written by George Wilkins Kendall, the only American on the so-called trade expedition from Round Rock, TX to Santa Fe, NM. The author was editor of the New Orleans Picayune at the time. Kendall was invited by President Lamar to travel as an observer on the Santa Fe Expedition. The caravan left Brushy Creek on June 21, 1841, consisting of 248 militia and 49 merchants. Less than one hundred men survived. Fortunately, one was Kendall who survived to write about it. His well-written narrative provided me fodder for my award-winning novel.

By George Wilkins Kendall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Narrative of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and…


Book cover of Mr. Texas

Ellen Pall Author Of Must Read Well

From Ellen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Writer Reader Bluegrass jammer Best friends with my dog

Ellen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Ellen Pall Why did Ellen love this book?

A big fat novel full of sly, rueful, knowing humor, great, unpredictable characters, and most surprising plot turns, Mr. Texas made me laugh (which I love), breathe fast, and stay up reading late into the night.

Long as it is, it sped by, and I missed it after I was done. It’s also rich with the deep knowledge Wright, a distinguished New Yorker writer and longtime Texas resident, has of the state: the ranchers, the legislators, the families, the hard land left behind after the oil wells it once supported have disappeared.

We root for the maverick protagonist and hold our breath when he risks defeat. In an epilogue, Wright describes the very long road this book had to publication. What luck that it finally got there.

By Lawrence Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Texas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author, a hilarious, sharply drawn send-up of local politics • A novel about a dark-horse candidate who risks his personal happiness for a career in the Texas House of Representatives • "Required reading in these politically turbulent times.”—Susan Orlean, author of On Animals

“A rollicking satire . . ."— Paul Begala, The New York Times Book Review

Sonny Lamb is an affable, if floundering, rancher with the unfortunate habit of becoming a punchline in his Texas hometown. Most recently, to everyone’s headshaking amusement, he bought his own bull at an auction. But when…


Book cover of Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Who am I?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

George W. Bush, even today, 14 years after leaving the presidency, is a controversial president. But as with all presidents, to understand their politics and policies you have to first understand their personality and character. That’s what I like about this book: Bruni seeks to explain and understand who Bush was as a man—a man who, although the son of a president, never seemed destined to lead a nation and the world and yet ultimately faced one of the greatest crises in US history. Bruni, a former New York Times reporter who covered Bush as presidential nominee and president, shows W.’s weaknesses and strengths, his somewhat surprising life journey of serious endeavors for an often less-than-serious man, and ultimately how the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed Bush’s entire outlook and demeanor, thrusting him into an unprecedented challenge that elevated the laid-back good-time guy to a serious and dedicated leader.…

By Frank Bruni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ambling Into History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush. As the principal New York Times reporter assigned to cover George W. Bush's presidential campaign from its earliest stages - and then as a White House correspondent - Frank Bruni has spent as much time around Bush over the last two years as any other reporter. In Ambling Into History, Bruni paints the most thorough, balanced, eloquent and lively portrait yet of a man in many ways ill-suited to the office he sought and won, focusing on small moments that often escaped the news media's notice. From the author's initial introduction to Bush…


Book cover of The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life

Tina Muir Author Of Becoming a Sustainable Runner: A Guide to Running for Life, Community, and Planet

From my list on helping you process emotions around climate.

Who am I?

FernGully was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and it made me really think about the natural world and how humans interact with it. Now, aged 35 with kids of my own (who also love FernGully), I consider myself a climate activist for the work I do in helping everyday people to believe they can be a part of the solution to climate change. As an author, podcast host, and community builder, I've connected with other humans with fascinating passions, perspectives, and values. I want to show my audience that we can all view the world differently, but there is one important thing we need to all believe, that we matter.

Tina's book list on helping you process emotions around climate

Tina Muir Why did Tina love this book?

While this is not written as a climate-related book, it was a powerful reminder that we all have goodness within us; we all have a role to play in moving the world into the place we believe it can be.

It addresses social and racial justice, which is part of the climate conversation, and gives us a framework to believe in our own journey and voice. I believe that every single one of us has an important role to play, and this book can help readers figure out what that could be for them.

By Simran Jeet Singh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Light We Give as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A National Bestseller

“I love this book… It is rich in wisdom, religious and personal, and it is absolutely charming.” —Anne Lamott, author of Dusk, Night, Dawn and Help, Thanks, Wow

An inspiring approach to a happier, more fulfilling life through Sikh teachings on love and service.

As a boy growing up in South Texas, Simran Jeet Singh and his brothers confronted racism daily: at school, in their neighborhood, playing sports, and later in college and beyond. Despite the prejudice and hate he faced, this self-described “turban-wearing, brown-skinned, beard-loving Sikh” refused to give in to negativity. Instead, Singh delved deep…


Book cover of Interview with a Dead Editor

Tiffany Seitz Author Of And They Danced

From my list on mystery and suspense that are based in Texas.

Who am I?

I have enjoyed mysteries since childhood. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belton, and others filled my bookshelves. Mysteries continue to be one of my favorite genres, and I particularly love the way Texas is represented in these stories. Texas has a rich and unique history, culture, topography, and climate that stimulates the creative spirit but is rarely represented accurately in most genres. As a native Texan, I enjoy reading others’ take on my favorite state, and it’s where I chose to base my writings. The added benefit is that these are female authors who have inspired my own work.

Tiffany's book list on mystery and suspense that are based in Texas

Tiffany Seitz Why did Tiffany love this book?

Based in the fictional town of Stirling Mills, Texas, Lexie Lincoln’s history of being in the right place at the right time served her well as a journalist until she is laid-off. When she arrives for an interview at a small town newspaper, she finds the editor murdered and herself as the suspect. To get to the bottom of the mystery and clear her name, Lexie uncovers not only the town’s unusual history but the reality that her luck stems from ghostly interactions.

After thoroughly enjoying Ms. Swendon’s Enchanted, Inc series, I was pleased to hear she was writing a cozy series. With seven books to date in the Lucky Lexie series, the quirky town of Stirling Mills is a great place to visit.

Book cover of Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

Doris Fisher Author Of Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster

From my list on cowboys and rodeos.

Who am I?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have always been fascinated by the Wild West. Native Americans, cowboys, rodeos, settlers, farmers, and the great National Parks of the West. I’ve been fortunate to see Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park, and many western national monuments. My first elementary school was Sequoyah, named for the great Cherokee who created the Cherokee alphabet. While researching early library methods of transportation, I came across books being delivered by stagecoach in the west. That eventually led me to discover the amazing life of Jackson Sundown. I hope these books on cowboys, buckaroos, and rodeos enchant you and your little ones like they have me.

Doris' book list on cowboys and rodeos

Doris Fisher Why did Doris love this book?

Phoebe Clapsaddle was a southern belle who lived on a ranch. This fiction book involves the Tumbleweed Gang who made an acquaintance with Phoebe after they visited her town. Appalled by their lack of manners and impolite speech, Phoebe decides they need her southern charm and culture. Phoebe teaches them lessons in riding, roping, and good manners. There are more Tumbleweed Gang adventures in other books, too. I know the author personally. Phoebe Clapsaddle’s name is in her family tree. Though she didn’t know if Phoebe was a southern belle cowgirl, the author loved her name so much, she wanted to write a book about her as a main character.

By Melanie Chrismer, Virginia Roeder (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Long ago in south Texas lived a Southwestern belle named Phoebe Clappsaddle. When the good-for-nothing Tumbleweed Gang blew into town, it was time for Phoebe to teach them a lesson in riding, roping, and good manners.


Book cover of Lonestar Sanctuary

Carmen Peone Author Of Captured Secrets

From my list on romance that rope you into cowboys and love.

Who am I?

Because I have lived on an Indian reservation for more than three decades, own and train horses, have competed in horse shows and competitions, have worked with one of my sons on a cattle ranch, and I’ve been happily married for almost forty years, writing contemporary Western romance became the perfect fit. I love reading clean romance stories with strong female characters. My degree in Abnormal Psychology from Eastern Washington University has proved useful in my development of characters and their fears, the lies they believe, and how to overcome their struggles.  

Carmen's book list on romance that rope you into cowboys and love

Carmen Peone Why did Carmen love this book?

Lone Star Sanctuary is one of those books that stirs up emotions and leaves you thinking about the characters and storyline for years. The Bluebird ranch in Texas Hill country is a place I’d love to live, and Allie Siders and Rick Bailey are folks I’d love to sit down with on a cool summer evening and swap stories. Infuse the plot with a daughter who won’t speak due to a traumatic event, and you have a tale of folks who want safety first and foremost, then they make a plan to help heal broken hearts. 

By Colleen Coble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lonestar Sanctuary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the quiet safety of the Bluebird Ranch, old promises resurface and unexpected love brings new hope.

Though tragedy has wrecked her life, Allie Siders holds on to the hope that her five-year-old daughter, Betsy, will speak again. But with a stalker out for revenge, all Allie can think about now is their safety. She must sever all ties and abandon life as she knows it. She heads to the peaceful Bluebird Ranch, nestled deep in Texas hill country, and to the only person who can help them.

The ranch is a sanctuary for abused horses, and also for troubled…


Book cover of The Train to Crystal City: FDR's Secret Prisoner Exchange Program and America's Only Family Internment Camp During World War II

Stephanie Hinnershitz Author Of Japanese American Incarceration: The Camps and Coerced Labor During World War II

From my list on Japanese American incarceration.

Who am I?

Growing up in central Pennsylvania, I learned little about Japanese American incarceration beyond the brief mention in textbooks. It wasn’t until I came across documents about incarceration camps in Arkansas that I wanted to learn more and spent the next five years exploring this subject. What I took away from my research is that even though confinement in camps only directly affected Japanese Americans, understanding how this tragedy happened is important for all Americans who value democracy. I’m a Senior Historian at the National WWII Museum and work hard to make sure that Japanese American incarceration is included in the larger history of the American home front during the war.

Stephanie's book list on Japanese American incarceration

Stephanie Hinnershitz Why did Stephanie love this book?

Was it just Japanese Americans who were detained during the war? I found myself asking this question before I started researching this topic. Sadly for me, Russell’s book was not yet published. While there are many books that detail the experiences of Germans and Italians (citizen and nationals) with internment, this book focuses on two young, American-born women—one German American, the other Japanese American—and the trials and tragedy they faced when they were detained and deported to Germany and Japan because their parents were foreign-born and eventually returned to the United States. I normally am skeptical of books described as telling “little-known” or “unknown” stories, but this book truly is an examination of an understudied event in the larger story of wartime panic, prejudice, and discrimination.

By Jan Jarboe Russell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Train to Crystal City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling dramatic and never-before-told story of a secret FDR-approved American internment camp in Texas during World War II: “A must-read….The Train to Crystal City is compelling, thought-provoking, and impossible to put down” (Star-Tribune, Minneapolis).

During World War II, trains delivered thousands of civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during the war, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” Hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City were exchanged…