Texas may not be as famous for its literary prowess as it is for its barbecue and Stetson hats, but there are still a handful of noteworthy Lone Star State authors out there. By the way, we’re putting Larry McMurtry (author of The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment, Lonesome Dove (and a bunch of others) in his own category (see below). Otherwise, from newspaper columnists to hardcore novelists, here’s who tops our list:
5 – Julie Powell makes the list for her blog The Julie/Julia Project, better known for its memoir and film adaptations, Julie & Julia. Powell hails from Austin, but was working in New York following 9/11 when she started her blog.
4 – Sandra Cisneros has graced many a required summer reading list with her novel, The House on Mango Street. Cisneros has been honored with the Texas Medal of the Arts and founded the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation to provide grants to Texas writers.
3 – Patricia Highsmith was a Fort Worth-born writer most famous for her creation of the character Tom Ripley. Her many psychological thrillers have since been adapted into over two dozen films.
2 – Rick Riordan was launched into the national spotlight in the early 2000s with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and its consequent film adaptations. Born in San Antonio, he attended the University of Texas and has published several other mythology-inspired series.
And the No. 1 coolest Texas author belongs to…Molly Ivins. Ivins was born in California but grew up in Houston, terrorizing local and national politicians alike with her wickedly humorous newspaper columns. She also chronicled life in books, including her best-selling Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She?
Top 5 coolest Larry McMurtry books
Why does he have a category to himself? Because he’s prolific, acclaimed, the essential Texas writer, and his work forms the basis for movies starring Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Debra Winger, Shirley MacLaine, Cybill Shepherd, Jeff Bridges, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Duvall, Danny Glover, and more.
5 – Horseman, Pass By. Haven’t heard of this book, McMurtry’s first. Perhaps you’ve heard of the movie made from it: Hud, starring Paul Newman.
4 – Buffalo Girls. An underrated McMurtry work about Martha Jane Canary, better known as Calamity Jane.
3 – Terms of Endearment. A mother and daughter live and love in more modern Texas. Plus it has an astronaut, played by Nicholson in what became an Oscar Best Picture.
2 – The Last Picture Show. A coming of age story in a dying Texas town, revisited in the novel Texasville.
And the No. 1 coolest Larry McMurtry book … Lonesome Dove. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be surprised you care this much about cows and the people with them.
This week’s #TexasCool reader question: What are the best breweries in Texas? Give us your answers in any of the following ways: on Twitter (@chooseenergy) and Instagram (@choosetexascool), on our Facebook page (in a comment on any of our #TexasCool posts), or by email.
Plus, enter our weekly contest to win help toward summer electricity bills. See the full rules on #TexasCool.