Stephen Harrigan’s long-awaited comprehensive history of Texas is scheduled for release by the University of Texas Press in October.

I have not seen an advance copy, but I did read an excerpt in the UT Press fall catalog that arrived the other day.

Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas ($35 hardcover) will tip the scales at 992 pages, according to the catalog, so you might want to start working with the weights before approaching the behemoth volume.

Harrigan is one of Texas’s most acclaimed writers, and Big Wonderful Thing may well be the most anticipated Texas book of the year.

Here’s what S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon, has to say about Harrigan’s epic: “I am not sure which is the greater achievement here: digesting such a vast amount of historical data or making that gigantic wall of information fun to read. I challenge the reader to open to any page … and not have fun. It’s all interesting, and that is not hype. Harrigan tacks brilliantly through the shifting winds of Texas history by telling a series of rip-snorting good tales.”

Doesn’t that whet your appetite?

Lisa Wingate update

I’m happy to report that my friend Lisa Wingate’s excellent novel, Before We Were Yours, is now available in paperback (Ballantine, $17). The book, which came out in hardback two years ago, spent 52 consecutive weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List.

The novel revolves around a Memphis children’s home in the 1930s that kidnapped poor children and sold them to wealthy families for a huge profit.

The story is fiction, but the children’s home was not. Georgia Tann ran the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis from the 1920s until the scandal was fully investigated in the early 1950s.

The paperback edition includes a readers’ supplement intended for book club discussions.

Lisa also has co-authored with Judy Christie a nonfiction book containing the real-life stories of orphans who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. That book, titled Before and After, is scheduled for release on Oct. 22.

“Their true stories are surprising, and beautiful, and filled with life lessons about love, resilience, and the meaning of family,” she says.

Two more notes from Lisa: Movie rights to Before We Were Yours have been optioned by MGM, and she has completed her next novel, which will come out sometime next year.

Read more on her website, lisawingate.com.


Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at g.dromgoole@suddenlink.net.

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