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Carol Dromgoole

Molly Ivins quotes, Stevie Ray photos

 By Glenn Dromgoole

             Fans who appreciated – and miss — the witty, irreverent prose of liberal Texas columnist Molly molly ivinsIvins, who died in 2007, can revisit some of her best lines in a compact little collection, Molly Ivins: She DID Say That (Great Texas Line Press, $5.99 paperback).

`          Compiled by twin sisters Allison and Margaret Engel, who also have produced one-woman plays based on the writings of Ivins and humorist Erma Bombeck, the pocket-sized book is full of  such zingers as:

“You know Texans. You can always tell ’em. You just can’t tell ’em much.”

“Our state is spending more on prisons than it is on higher education. That’s a fair working definition of a dead civilization.”

“Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country. Stay alert.”

Writing about a particular Republican congressman: “If ignorance ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want drilling rights on that man’s head.”

“I use humor to open people’s ears. That’s what happens when people laugh. They open their ears and hear what you have to say.” 

            Stevie Ray: Photographer Tracy Anne Hart has put together a photographic tribute to guitar seeing stevie rayvirtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan in Seeing Stevie Ray (Texas A&M University Press, $35 hardcover).

Her photographs feature Vaughan in concert from 1983 until shortly before his death in 1990.

“There will never be another like Stevie Ray Vaughan,” she writes. “What a privilege it was to hear and see him onstage and know him as a friend.”

The book also includes a section of photos of some of the musicians who influenced Vaughan, and another section of photos featuring musicians influenced by him.


New novel: Pandemic ravages the worldend of october

By Glenn Dromgoole

As bad as the COVID-19 pandemic has been, it barely compares to the coronavirus outbreak depicted in best-selling Texas author (and former Abilenian) Lawrence Wright’s new novel, The End of October.

            The principal character, revered epidemiologist Henry Parsons, finds himself on the other side of the world, far away from his family, investigating a mysterious disease as it spreads from a small African country to Saudi Arabia and then ravages the world.

In the U.S., Philadelphia is hit especially hard, but the rest of the country not as bad. And, then, as schools, workplaces, restaurants, theaters and sports venues begin to reopen, the second wave of the Kongoli plague spreads relentlessly, killing millions and threatening to virtually annihilate the world.

Meanwhile, Parsons finds himself in the bowels of a nuclear submarine as he tries to make it home to his family, if they’re even still alive.

In his dedication, Wright writes, “This book is offered as a tribute to the courage and integrity of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the service of public health.” Certainly, in recent months, we have come to acknowledge them as heroes.

The End of October (Knopf Publishing, $27.95 hardcover) is available at a 20 percent discount at Texas Star Trading Co.


Aggies: James R. Woodall, A&M Class of 1950, has compiled a book that few people will actually read but that many Aggies will certainly peruse and cherish as a handy reference.

The Book of Aggie Lists: Texas A&M’s Military Heritage begins with Aggies Who Served in the Spanish-American War, 1898-99. A few others: Aggies on Bataan and Corregidor, 1941-42; Aggie Fighter Aces; Corps Commanders and Their Hometowns; and even one on Mess Hall Slang.

Sixty-four lists in all (Texas A&M University Press, $35 hardcover).


            Julie Goodenough: Anticipating that 2018-19 was going to be a special season, Abilene Christian University women’s basketball coach Julie Goodenough was encouraged by Dr. Gary McCaleb to keep a journal recording her thoughts as the season progressed.

What a season it turned out to be, with ACU winning the Southland Conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA Division1 tournament for the first time in school history.

“Team First Wins is our mantra and philosophy,” Goodenough told her players at the beginning of the season, so it is fitting that that is the title of her book.

Goodenough’s enthusiasm, faith, discipline, encouragement, respect, and love come through clearly in her candid first-hand account of a remarkable year, on and off the court ($14.95 paperback, published by the Center for Building Community, ACU).

Team First Wins is inspiring and honest. You can get autographed copies of the book exclusively from Texas Star Trading. The book came out while we were closed to the public, but Julie came by twice and signed copies for us. We’ll probably have a public book signing for her sometime this fall.


Book Sale: All books at Texas Star are discounted 20 percent during June. Even our bargain books are 20 percent off their already low, low price. Good time to stock up on some summer reading or do a little early Christmas shopping. SALE APPLIES TO IN-STORE SALES ONLY.



Texas Star will be closed Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day.

Regular hours resume Tuesday — 10-4 weekdays and Saturday. We’re always closed on Sunday.

  By Glenn Dromgoole
    Abilene elementary School teacher and author Matt Roemisch wrote a children’s book while stuck at home during the pandemic, Ask Someone Grumpy to Read You This Book ($7.99 paperback).ask someone grumpy
           It’s a rhyming children’s book, but he tells children not to read it by themselves. “You must ask someone grumpy to read you this book. If you can’t find someone grumpy, just take a second look. Trust me, grumpy people are all around, so jump up and find one, then come sit back down.”
           So the grumpy adult begins to explain his (or her) grumpiness, and in the process of reading the book together, of course, the frowns turn upside down.
           Roemisch says the book is not only for kids with grumpy adults in their lives, but also perhaps for adults with grumpy kids in their lives.

By Glenn Dromgoole

             Here are some Texas books I’ve been reading while sheltering at home during the  pandemic.book of lost friends

Lisa Wingate: In The Book of Lost Friends, Lisa Wingate weaves the stories of two young women more than a century apart: a teen-age former slave searching for her family in 1875, and a first-year teacher struggling to find a way to connect with her students in an impoverished rural school in Louisiana in 1987.

Nearly three years after the publication of her best-selling novel Before We Were Yours, Wingate returns with another gripping human drama, this one revolving around families torn apart by slavery (Ballantine Books, $28 hardcover – 20 percent off at Texas Star Trading).

James Patterson teams up with Andrew Bourelle in another murder mystery featuring Texas Ranger Rory Yates – Texas Outlaw (Little, Brown, $28 hardcover – 20 percent off at Texas Star).

If you’ve read anything by mega-best-seller Patterson, you know to expect the action to flow with short chapters that grab your attention and won’t let go. I zipped through this one in a couple of days.

This is the second Rory Yates novel. The first one is now in paperback.

New Western: Texas Literary Hall of Famer Carlton Stowers is making a name for himself (although in fine print) as an author of western novels. His third one, under the name of Ralph Compton (“a Ralph Compton western by Carlton Stowers,” reads the subtitle), is Reunion in Hell (Berkley, $7.99 paperback).

The action jumps off the page as the reader follows the saga of brothers Clay and Cal Breckenridge, featuring a cattle thieving gang, a fine young man whose parents have been murdered, some courageous citizens of Tascosa, and a band of Indians seeking revenge.

Stowers, whose main claim to fame is non-fiction crime and sports books, has now turned out three “Ralph Compton” novels, with two or three more in the works. Good stuff.

             Diane Kelly: Texas fans who love Diane Kelly’s breezy mystery/romance novels will be glad to know she has a new one out in her new series featuring house flipper Whitney Whitaker, cousin Buck, her cat Sawdust, detective Collin Flynn, and of course the requisite dead body blocking the doorway to the house that Whitney and Buck are trying to flip.

“Dead in the Doorway” is $7.99 paperback.

                       Coming Up: A couple of books I haven’t read yet, but plan to:

— Lawrence Wright of Austin, formerly of Abilene, has penned a novel, The End of October, about a pandemic that threatens the world. Pretty timely, huh? It was written a year ago but just came out at the end of April. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve read about it, and we’re ordering copies for our store ($27.95 hardcover — 20 percent off at Texas Star).

— One of my favorite Texas novelists, Jodi Thomas, has a new small town fiction series that begins later this month with the publication of “Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café” ($15.95 paperback).

Coleman Springs: Speaking of small towns, while you’re cooped up you might pick up my one fiction title, Coleman Springs USA, a collection of stories about a little town with a big heart. It’s clean and easy to read, and it’s just five bucks on our bargain table.

Stay safe. Read a lot. Check out our web site – www.texasstartrading.com – for more books as well as jigsaw puzzles, Texas candles, Texas gourmet, and Texas gift items.

Texas Star is now open for in-store shopping with a modified schedule. We’re open 10-4 Monday-Saturday. We encourage phone orders and curbside pickup or local delivery. For in-store shopping, we offer hand sanitizer at the door for all customers. We also encourage face masks, but do not require them.

Texas Star employees will wear face coverings when customers are in the store.  Although we are not required to wear them, we do so out of respect for our customers and their well being. We regularly sanitizer our counter area, as well as credit card pin pad device. We also clean door handles and other surfaces touched frequently.

Please avoid large groups, and if the customer count becomes too great, we might ask shoppers to wait outside until others leave. That has not been a problem, so far.

Please be patient with us as we navigate new waters! We love our customers and want you to return and shop with us when you feel comfortable.


Texas CooksBy Glenn Dromgoole

The prolific cookbook publisher, Gooseberry Patch, has included recipes from three Abilene residents in its All-Time-Favorite Recipes from Texas Cooks, a very approachable and affordable hardback, spiral-bound cookbook for just $13.95.

Many of the 175 recipes are covered in a half page or one page and seem pretty easy to produce.

I was thumbing through the book when a recipe titled “Easy Taco Soup” caught my eye. My kind of thing, with ground beef, several cans of veggies, and a few other ingredients. And then I noticed it was credited to Carie VanCleave of Abilene.

I found two other recipes from Abilene cooks – Lisa Herold’s “Ham & Olive Roll-Ups” and Pauline Raens’s “German Chocolate Pie.” Great!

The book includes 20 appetizers, 22 breakfast and bread recipes, 48 main courses, 21 soups, and 29 desserts, plus others. Thirty-five of the dishes are featured in color photographs in the middle of the book.

Come by Texas Star Trading Company and take a look. Might make a nice birthday or wedding gift.

For example, one cook wrote about her enchilada casserole, “This was one of the first dishes I learned to make as a newlywed. My husband said he’s like to kiss the person who taught it to me.” Hopefully, he kissed the cook instead!

We’ve had a huge response to our jigsaw puzzles … so much, in fact, that we are almost out! However, we expect more to arrive within a few days. So please check back with us!

Texas Star’s physical store is closed, although we are still fulfilling online and phone orders. Please let us know if we can help you. We check our phone and email messages several times each day, and will respond to your questions quickly! In most cases, we are shipping same day and next day on orders received on weekdays (before noon Friday). Orders received over the weekend will usually ship the following Monday.

Y’all take care and we hope to see you soon!

Book signings scheduled for Saturday, March 21, have been postponed indefinitely.

Rick Meyers, author of five tennis manuals, and Les Hammond, author of “The Arms of God,” will be at Texas Star at a later date to sign copies of their books.

Autographed copies of their books are now available at Texas Star, as well as on our website.

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