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Books

What Your Favorite Dallas Author Is Reading Now

You're stuck inside. Let local authors help you escape through their book recommendations.

I’ve finished two books since last week and I’m halfway through a third. There’s a good chance I will finish all the unread books in my house before this [waves arms everywhere] is all over. I’m sure you’ve been reading more than usual lately, or you’re about to, or you really should consider starting to do so. Books are perhaps the most foolproof way to escape right now. Reality is too close no matter where you go on your phone or computer, and even scrolling through Netflix’s menu you’re likely to stumble upon Outbreak or something similar. Books are just the words on the page and the world you create with them. They are safe. But where to start? Here are some recommendations.

D Senior Editor Zac Crain’s Top Three Books about Dallas

Seven Samurai Swept Away in a River
by Jung Young Moon

The cult Korean novelist wrote this book while in Texas at the 100 West Corsicana residency. It’s a fish-out-of-water tale but not exactly a novel; he calls it “unnamable” in the first paragraph. Whatever it is, it’s delightful, filled with ruminations about Jack Ruby’s dogs, the La Réunion colony, and Bonnie Parker’s hot chocolate.

BUY AT DEEP VELLUM BOOKS

Strange Peaches
by Edwin “Bud” Shrake

Shrake lived through the debauchery he describes in Peaches, which finds Dallas just on the verge of when everything changed, as John F. Kennedy’s visit neared. You’ll almost get a contact high.

BUY ON AMAZON

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
by Ben Fountain

Fountain was inspired to write this after watching the halftime show of the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day game. He manages to carry that initial feeling of shock and awe throughout a book that hits back at all the big institutions (the government, the military, the NFL). It’s not exactly about Dallas the city, but it certainly captures an idea of it.

BUY ON AMAZON

Here are five book selections by local authors from Deep Vellum Books founder Will Evans.

Ain’t Nobody Nobody
by Heather Harper Ellett

“The SMU graduate and Dallas-based therapist’s debut novel is a hilarious dark mystery set in East Texas, like Joe Lansdale meets Bernie.”

BUY AT INTERABANG BOOKS

Pippa Park Raises 
Her Game
by Erin Yun

“The brilliant 
middle-grade book by a Frisco native is a refreshing take on the coming-of-age story with a Korean-American 
protagonist.”

BUY ON AMAZON

Above Us the Milky Way: An Illuminated Alphabet
by Fowzia Karimi

“This debut autobiographical novel by the Rona Jaffe award-winning, Denton-based writer and artist is told through text, watercolor paintings, and family photos. It’s a full-color book that is a gorgeous piece of book art, all designed by Fowzia herself. This is Deep Vellum’s first novel by a local writer, first hardcover novel, and first English-original novel!”

BUY AT DEEP VELLUM BOOKS

Tigers, Not Daughters
by Samantha Mabry

“This amazing YA magical realist story about sisters trying to get out of their San Antonio neighborhood will appeal to adults as much as teen readers.”

BUY ON AMAZON

The Big Finish

by Brooke Fossey

“A funny, heartfelt romp that’s all about a loving friendship across generations between two contrasting characters, it’s the debut novel from one of our area’s leading 
literary citizens!”

BUY ON AMAZON

Eight local writers offer a few suggestions. (You should also read their books.)

Lonesome Dove
by Larry McMurtry

“Instead of going stir-crazy while sheltering in place, take a nice long trip with the Hat Creek gang.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Beautiful Country Burn Again

BUY ON AMAZON

The Terror
by Dan Simmons

“I found this novel in a Little Free Library and after reading it wondered where on Earth it had been all my life. It’s a beautiful and brutal horror novel that describes how the members of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition (we know that the crew abandoned their ships in the Arctic ice in 1848, but that’s about all we know) meet their demise at the hands of madness, starvation, and a monster.” —Samantha Mabry, author of Tigers, Not Daughters and All the Wind in the World

BUY ON AMAZON

A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

“More than ever, I personally need to be reminded that life has purpose, destiny, connection, and humanity. This classic delivers that times 100. John Irving doesn’t believe in God, but he has said that in squeaky little Owen Meany, he created a character that would change his mind.” —Julia Heaberlin, author of the forthcoming We Are All the Same in the Dark and Paper Ghosts

BUY ON AMAZON

Super Sad True Love Story
by Gary Shteyngart

“It’s a near-future satire that will keep you laughing through the near-apocalypse. One reviewer says it has ‘all the tenderness of Chekhov and hormonal hijinks of Judd Apatow.’ ” —Will Clarke, author of The Neon Palm of Madame Melançon and Lord Vishnu’s Love Handles

BUY ON AMAZON

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari

“Written for the layperson, this fascinating nonfiction book explores the biology and history of ‘modern’ humans beginning 70,000 years ago: what makes us the same as other animals, and what makes us different? The final unanswered question in Harari’s book being: are we intelligent enough to save ourselves from extinction?” —Kathleen Kent, author of The Burn and The Dime 

BUY ON AMAZON

Priest of Bones
by Peter McLean

“A crook and his men return from devastating war to reclaim their city, opposed by political machinations, turf wars, and PTSD. An atypical fantasy page turner infused with the pitch-black soul of postwar noir.” —Ken Lowery, author of The Night Driver and When the Devil Drives

BUY ON AMAZON

Mosquito
by Gayl Jones

“One of the great novels of the Texas border, by one of our most unjustly neglected novelists (ask Toni Morrison), it’s ripe for rediscovery.” —Joe Milazzo, author of Crepuscule W/ Nellie and Of All Places in This Place of All Places

BUY ON AMAZON

Circe
by Madeline Miller

“It’s not a bad time to lose yourself in another world, and Miller’s engrossing, lyrical prose about isolation couldn’t be more inviting. It has a killer audiobook, so it’s perfect for anyone who is stress-cleaning their home right now.” —Jeramey Kraatz, author of The Cloak Society and Space Runners

BUY ON AMAZON

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