The Greatest "Texas" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 280 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Texas

The "Texas" category of books typically refers to literature that is set in or about the state of Texas. These books often explore the unique culture, history, and landscape of Texas, and may feature themes such as cowboys, ranching, oil drilling, and the struggles of frontier life. The Texas category may also include works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry that are written by Texas authors or that focus on the experiences of Texans. Overall, the Texas category offers readers a diverse range of books that capture the spirit and character of this iconic American state.

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  1. 1. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

    The book tells the story of two retired Texas Rangers who embark on a perilous cattle drive from Texas to Montana in the 1870s. The narrative focuses on the duo's adventures and the characters they meet along the way, including a variety of outlaws, Indians, and settlers. This epic tale of the Old West explores themes of friendship, unrequited love, and the harsh realities of frontier life.

  2. 2. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

    This novel follows the journey of a young Texas cowboy who, after his grandfather's death, ventures into Mexico with his best friend in search of a life of freedom and adventure. Their journey becomes complicated when they are arrested and imprisoned, and the protagonist falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner. The book explores themes of love, loss, friendship, and the harsh realities of life.

  3. 3. No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

    This novel is a gripping tale of a cat-and-mouse chase set in the harsh landscape of 1980 Texas. After stumbling upon a drug deal gone wrong and a suitcase full of money, a Vietnam War veteran finds himself pursued by a relentless hitman. As the veteran attempts to keep himself and his wife safe, a local sheriff struggles to keep up with the increasing violence and brutality of the modern world. The narrative explores themes of fate, conscience, and circumstance, painting a bleak and riveting picture of the human condition.

  4. 4. Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith

    In this psychological thriller, two men meet by chance on a long train journey and strike up a conversation that leads to a chilling pact: each will commit a murder for the other, executing what they believe to be the perfect crimes due to their lack of obvious connection to the victims. However, as one of the men becomes entangled in the sinister plan and the other's sociopathic tendencies emerge, the agreement spirals into a tense and dangerous game of cat and mouse, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator, and pulling both men into a world of guilt, paranoia, and psychological torment.

  5. 5. The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson

    "The Killer Inside Me" is a chilling psychological thriller that delves into the mind of a sociopathic sheriff in a small Texas town. The seemingly respectable lawman hides a dark secret, as he is also a cold-blooded killer. The narrative unfolds from his perspective, revealing his disturbing thought processes and his ability to manipulate those around him, all while maintaining his façade of respectability. The book explores themes of duality, deception, and the depths of human depravity.

  6. 6. The Martian by Andy Weir

    A gripping tale of survival and resilience, this book follows the story of an astronaut left stranded on Mars by his crew who believed him dead after a fierce storm. With limited supplies, he must utilize his ingenuity, wit, and spirit to survive and signal to Earth that he is alive. The narrative is a thrilling testament to human willpower and the relentless fight for survival against all odds.

  7. 7. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk: A Novel by Ben Fountain

    The novel follows Billy Lynn, a 19-year-old soldier, who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. During the tour, they're honored at a Dallas Cowboys game, which exposes the commercialization and shallow appreciation of their sacrifices. Amidst the celebration, Billy grapples with his understanding of heroism, patriotism, family, and the stark contrast between the realities of war and America's perceptions.

  8. 8. Halftime by Martin Walser

    "Halftime" is a thought-provoking novel that explores the life of a successful businessman who, in the midst of his midlife crisis, begins to question the meaning and purpose of his life. As he grapples with his own mortality and the emptiness of his achievements, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery, seeking to reconcile his past and present and find a new path forward. The book delves deep into the human psyche, offering a profound exploration of existential crises, personal transformation, and the quest for authenticity.

  9. 9. The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

    The memoir is a gritty, often hilarious look at a childhood in a dysfunctional family in a small Texas town. The narrative follows the author's experiences growing up in the 1960s in a family rife with alcoholism, mental illness, and violence. It is a story of resilience and survival, as the author navigates her chaotic home life, the sexual abuse she suffered, and her mother's mental instability, eventually finding solace in literature and writing. Despite the harsh realities it depicts, the book is filled with humor and love, offering a poignant exploration of the bonds of family and the power of storytelling.

  10. 10. The Headless Horseman by Thomas Mayne Reid

    Set in Texas in the early 19th century, this novel follows the mysterious and eerie adventures surrounding the legend of a spectral rider who haunts the prairies. The story weaves together the lives of settlers, Native Americans, and the enigmatic figure of the Headless Horseman against a backdrop of love, jealousy, and frontier hardship. As the protagonist, a young Irish adventurer, pursues the affection of a beautiful plantation owner's daughter, he must also unravel the truth behind the chilling myth that seems to be connected with a series of unsettling events, leading to a climax that intertwines romance, suspense, and the supernatural.

  11. 11. 11 22 63 by Stephen King

    "11/22/63" is a science fiction novel by Stephen King that follows the story of Jake Epping, a high school English teacher who discovers a portal that leads to 1958. After being convinced by his friend Al to use the portal to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jake embarks on a journey through time to change the course of history. Along the way, he falls in love with a woman named Sadie and faces various obstacles that threaten to alter the timeline he is trying to change. The book explores themes of love, loss, and the consequences of trying to change the past.

  12. 12. Horseman, Pass By: A Novel by Larry McMurtry

    This novel takes place in a small Texas town where a young boy grows up on a ranch with his grandfather and a host of other characters. The story is about the boy's coming of age and his struggle to understand the adult world around him, especially when a devastating disease threatens the cattle on their ranch. The narrative explores themes of morality, love, and the harsh realities of life in a small, close-knit community.

  13. 13. Wild at Heart: The Story of Sailor and Lula by Barry Gifford

    The book tells the story of Sailor Ripley and Lula Pace Fortune, two young lovers from the South who embark on a terrifying and exhilarating journey across America. Sailor, a rebellious outlaw with a troubled past, and Lula, a passionate woman with a zest for life, face numerous challenges and dangerous situations, including encounters with eccentric characters and run-ins with the law. Their compelling, roller-coaster romance is a testament to the extreme lengths people will go to preserve their love amidst chaos and adversity.

  14. 14. The Path to Power by Robert Caro

    "The Path to Power" is a detailed biography of a U.S. president, tracing his life from his birth and upbringing in a poor rural community, through his college years, and onto his early political career. The book explores his personal and professional struggles, his ruthless ambition, and his relentless drive for power. It provides a deep insight into his character, his accomplishments, and the controversial methods he used to achieve his goals.

  15. 15. Rain Of Scorpions And Other Stories by Estela Portillo Trambley

    "Rain of Scorpions and Other Stories" is a collection of narratives that delve into the lives and experiences of Chicano and Mexican-American characters, predominantly women, as they navigate the complexities of identity, culture, and societal expectations in the American Southwest. The stories blend elements of folklore, tradition, and the supernatural, offering a poignant exploration of themes such as love, oppression, resilience, and empowerment. Through vivid imagery and emotional depth, the anthology captures the struggles and triumphs of its characters, providing a voice to a community often marginalized in literature.

  16. 16. North Toward Home by Willie Morris

    "North Toward Home" is a memoir that explores the author's journey from his childhood in the South during the 1940s, through his college years in Texas, and finally his time in New York City as a young writer in the 1960s. The book offers a vivid portrayal of the South's racial tensions and the author's struggles with the cultural differences in the North. The author's longing for his Southern roots while grappling with the stark realities of racism and social change forms the central theme of the book.

  17. 17. Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre

    The book revolves around the life of a 15-year-old boy, Vernon Little, living in a small town in Texas. After a horrific school shooting where his best friend kills 16 of their classmates before committing suicide, Vernon becomes the prime suspect. With the media and law enforcement on his tail, he attempts to escape to Mexico, resulting in a series of unfortunate events and dark comedic situations. The narrative is a biting satire of America's obsession with fame and the justice system.

  18. 18. Lit: A Memoir by Mary Karr

    "Lit: A Memoir" is a moving and often humorous account of the author's journey through alcoholism, a failed marriage, and a struggle with faith. The author details her descent into alcoholism, her tumultuous relationship with her husband, and her eventual recovery with the help of a spiritual awakening. Throughout the narrative, the author's love for her son and her desire to give him a better life serve as a powerful motivation for her to overcome her struggles and find redemption.

  19. 19. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

    This classic novel is set in the post-Civil War Texas frontier and tells the heartwarming yet tragic story of a young boy and a stray dog that wanders into his family's life. The dog, named for his yellow coat, quickly proves his worth by protecting the family from various dangers, including wild animals and disease, becoming an indispensable part of their lives. Through their adventures and the challenges they face together, the story explores themes of loyalty, love, and the painful necessities of growing up and making hard decisions. The bond between the boy and the dog is tested in a climax that has moved readers for generations, leaving an enduring legacy on the concept of friendship and sacrifice.

  20. 20. Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

    In this coming-of-age novel, two Mexican-American teenagers, Aristotle and Dante, form an unlikely friendship during the summer of 1987. As they navigate their way through adolescence, they uncover the complexities of their identities, family dynamics, and the world around them. Through their shared experiences, they discover the power of love, self-acceptance, and the profound mysteries that the universe holds.

  21. 21. Cities of the Plain by Cormac McCarthy

    "Cities of the Plain" is the conclusion to a trilogy set in the post-World War II American West. The story follows two cowboys, John Grady Cole and Billy Parham, who work on a ranch in New Mexico near the Texas border. Cole falls in love with a Mexican prostitute, which leads to a tragic confrontation with her pimp. The novel explores themes of love, friendship, and the fading of the old West.

  22. 22. Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

    Half Broke Horses is a novel based on the life of the author's grandmother, Lily Casey Smith, who grew up in the early 1900s on a ranch in Texas. The book follows Lily's journey from a young girl with a thirst for adventure to a strong-willed woman who becomes a teacher, a rancher, and a mother. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, Lily remains determined and resilient, forging her own path in a world that often tries to limit her. The book is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of one remarkable woman and a celebration of the American West.

  23. 23. The Son by Philipp Meyer

    This epic novel spans over 200 years of Texas history, tracing the complex and bloody legacy of the McCullough family. It delves into the life of Eli McCullough, the family patriarch who was captured by Comanches as a boy and grew into a ruthless land and cattle baron. Through the perspectives of three family members across generations, the narrative explores themes of survival, power, and the transformation of the American West. The story weaves together the brutal realities of colonialism, the oil boom, and the relentless push of westward expansion, painting a vivid portrait of the American dream and its often violent pursuit.

  24. 24. The Passage Of Power: The Years Of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro

    "The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson" by Robert Caro is the fourth volume in his acclaimed biography of the 36th President of the United States. This book covers the years from 1958 to 1964, including Johnson's ascent to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Caro explores Johnson's struggles to pass civil rights legislation, his relationship with Kennedy's family, and his efforts to establish his own presidential legacy. The book also delves into Johnson's personal life, including his marriage to Lady Bird Johnson and his health issues. Overall, "The Passage of Power" provides a comprehensive and insightful look into one of the most complex and consequential figures in American political history.

  25. 25. Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson

    "Isaac's Storm" is a gripping narrative that chronicles the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane, the deadliest natural disaster in American history, through the eyes of Isaac Cline, a senior meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau. The book delves into Cline's personal and professional life, exploring his initial underestimation of the storm's severity and the tragic consequences that followed. It combines meticulous research with vivid storytelling to capture the human drama and the meteorological turmoil of the event, highlighting the limitations of early 20th-century weather forecasting and the impact of human error and hubris on disaster response and preparedness.

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

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