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Don’t Mess With Texas: 9 Books That Take Place in the Lone Star State

Ah, Texas, the big, beautiful Southwestern state that fills much of its populace with pride. With its history and culture, it’s no wonder it has inspired so much wonderful literature. They say everything is bigger in Texas—and I’m bound to believe the list of books that are set in Texas is, too. From football and westerns to military bases and modern society, there’s a lot of ground to cover, so for the sake of focusing our energy, we picked out our favorites: Here are the 9 top books (in our opinion) that take place in the Lone Star State.

1. That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx

Winner of a National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner Award, Annie Proulx is a literary master who has penned eight incredible books (including CLOSE RANGE, which features the short story you’re probably familiar with—“Brokeback Mountain”) spanning American time and space. Through the young and aimless character Bob Dollar, who moves to the two-bit Texas town Woolybucket, THAT OLD ACE IN THE HOLE explores the beauty of Texas ranchland and the changes the American West has experienced in the last century. With descriptions of full landscapes, love, history, and a few bawdy moments, it’s a completely addictive read through and through. Read More.
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2. News of the World by Paulette Jiles

We’re really excited to see the forthcoming adaptation, starring Tom Hanks, of this National Book Award for fiction finalist, which takes place in the aftermath of the Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, traveling through north Texas, agrees to take an orphan girl 400 miles to relatives in San Antonio. But their journey leads to bonding, and their arrival leaves him with a difficult decision. With appropriate excitement and intensity for a novel set in nineteenth-century Texas, it’s also full of heart and easy-to-love characters. Read More.
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3. You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

This exceptional book is really a collection of short stories about the people living and working at the American army base in Fort Hood. From women whose husbands are away at war to teenagers who disappear and officers facing struggles at home, author Siobhan Fallon gives a realistic and emotional look at the lives of soldiers and their families. Read More.
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4. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Adventure tale, love story, and frontier epic, LONESOME DOVE is the Pulitzer Prize–winning classic about the Texas town Lonesome Dove in the nineteenth century. With a cast of characters including cowboys, settlers, Native Americans, outlaws, brothel workers, and beautiful ladies, it’s a deeply atmospheric and exciting tale, and possibly one of the best stories about the wild American west. Read More.
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5. Rainwater by Sandra Brown

This romantic historical novel takes place during the Depression and follows two main characters, David Rainwater and Ella Baron. Ella is a mother and runs a boardinghouse. David is a dying stranger who becomes a lodger in her home. While she is initially very suspicious of him, a romance begins to kindle. Ella’s whole life is about to change, and not just because of David—there’s an economic crisis threatening to tear up the town. It’s a heartwarming story about circumstances and the choices we make. Read More.
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