Texas Almanac Published annually, this handy book includes virtually everything you’d ever need to know about Texas—current and historical information about politics, agriculture, transportation, geography, and culture along with maps of each county (all 254 of ‘em).
Texas Monthly A monthly magazine with an upper-crust subscriber base, Texas Monthly features some of the best writers in the state offering insightful commentary and substantive feature articles about the state’s politics, culture, history, and Texas-ness. It’s available at most bookstores, coffee shops, and grocery stores.
State Travel Guide Each year, the Texas Department of Transportation publishes this magazine-sized guide with maps and comprehensive listings of the significant attractions in virtually every town, including all the local history museums in Texas’s tiny communities.
Literature, Fiction, History
Bissinger, H.G. Friday Night Lights. This book will tell you more about Texas than you could ever experience in a visit to the state. It’s not just about football, but the passionate emotions involved with family, religion, and race in Odessa through the eyes of journalist Buzz Bissinger.
Dobie, J. Frank. Tales of Old-Time Texas. Known as the Southwest’s master storyteller, J. Frank Dobie depicts folk life in Texas unlike any other author, with 28 inspiring stories of characters (Jim Bowie) and culture (the legend of the Texas bluebonnet).
Fehrenbach, T.R. Lone Star. Considered the definitive book on Texas history, this enormous book by a highly respected historian covers Texas’s lengthy and colorful heritage in fascinating and accurate detail.
Harrigan, Stephen. The Gates of the Alamo. This is gripping historical fiction, with detailed history about the actual people and events associated with the battle of the Alamo weaved with a dramatic narrative resulting in a completely compelling read.
McCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses. Tracing a young man’s journey to the regions of the unknown (though it technically takes place along the Texas–Mexico border), this novel depicts a classic quest with plenty of good, evil, and Texas mystique.
McMurty, Larry. Lonesome Dove. Beautifully written by Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Larry McMurtry, this period piece (late 1800s) chronicles two ex–Texas Rangers on a cattle drive, leaving readers with a yearning for the compelling characters and the Texas of the past.
Music and Food
Govenar, Alan. Meeting the Blues: The Rise of the Texas Sound. This thoroughly researched book provides fascinating insight about the development of the Texas blues through historical narrative, interviews, and photos.
Marshall, Wes. The Wine Roads of Texas: An Essential Guide to Texas Wines and Wineries. Covering more than 400 Texas wines and the top wineries in Texas, this guide offers a comprehensive sampling of wines from Big Bend to the bayous.
Porterfield, Bill. The Greatest Honky Tonks of Texas. You’ll likely have to do some searching to dig up a copy of this guide, but it’s worth it for the engaging text about the colorful culture associated with the state’s iconic honkytonks and historic dance halls.
Walsh, Robb. Legends of Texas Barbecue. This book is as fun to read as it is to use—learn about the fascinating history of the many different styles of Texas barbecue while trying out some of the state’s best recipes and cooking methods.
Walsh, Robb. The Tex-Mex Cookbook. Well-researched and comprehensive in approach, this informative book includes cultural information about classic and unknown Tex-Mex dishes and plenty of authentic recipes.
Tekiela, Stan. Birds of Texas Field Guide. Designed for amateur birders, this handy guide is color coded (corresponding to the birds’ feathers) with helpful photos, maps, and descriptions.
Tennant, Alan. A Field Guide to Texas Snakes. This thorough guidebook provides essential information about understanding and appreciating Texas’s venomous and non-venomous snakes through identification keys and color photos.
Wauer, Roland. Naturalist’s Big Bend. If you ever wanted to know about the major and minor details of Big Bend’s mammals, reptiles, insects, birds, trees, shrubs, cacti, and other living things, this guide is the resource you’re looking for.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition