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If you follow the media, or politics, or the Web, you may be forgiven for concluding that we Texans are a bunch of inbred pistol-packing sociopathic illiterates.

I should like to point out that this is not altogether true. We have a well-established literary world here, and every once in a while a reasonable chunk of it gets together and talks books. And publishing, and writing, and selling.. anything to do with books…

Being a lifelong book junkie*, I tend to like to sneak up and listen. In spring there’s a book festival in San Antonio; in fall it’s in Austin. This being spring, I spent last Saturday on the grounds of the San Antonio Public Library Central, walking and talking with book sellers, writers, publishers, and even a stray bookbinder or two.

And as always I shot a few pictures, just because I could.

Library External

I LOVE the color of the San Antonio Library. Reminds me I’m not at home. Houston doesn’t DO that.

typewriter rodeo

This is the “Typewriter Rodeo.” Poets with vintage typewriters, creating poetry on the spot. Some of it’s surprisingly good. Some of it’s unsurprisingly not.

notebook jewelry

She’s a nice lady who sells jewelry, including postage-stamp size notebooks on neck chains. Maybe they’re “I are a writer” badges?


“Tortuga” (that’s his nickname) binds blank journals. They’re a little low on pages but look nice. I’ll keep doing my own.


There were costumed “superheroes” for photographs at the other end of the street, and real ones for answers at THIS end. Guess where I stayed… (I kept my smartass tendencies in check and asked about a couple of old books I’m looking for. She found one of them but the price was absurd. I was somewhat shocked she’d ever heard of it.)

panel dialog

I ducked inside to catch one of the panel discussions that looked like it might be of interest for another thing I’m toying with. (Probably won’t go anywhere….) Robert Jackson Bennett and Lila Bowen were the two panelists for Joe McKinney’s Panel Discussion on WorldBuilding for Science Fiction and Fantasy authors. Short version: Do as much as you have to but talk as little about it as possible.


And then I visited the bookstore in the basement, and then back outside to the market, where of course there were books to buy

courtyard reading

And places to sit down and read them


And, eventually, a bus to catch.

So back to camp I went, and then off in the dawn to Goliad, where The Other Texas had a story to cover. Sort of. That’s coming in a day or so.

* Nobody really remembers when or how I learned to read. I think it was about the time I learned to walk, give or take a few days. Books have just always been there. Both my parents were heavy readers, and reading to the kids was part of the everyday routine until we learned to read ourselves to sleep. We talked books over dinner and frequently wound up with several scattered around the dining-room table when it was over. Dad, for all his flaws, was a magnificent storyteller as long as you didn’t care how true to the book the stories were – my SCUBA-frogman stories included Batman cameos from time to time. Pretty sure that wasn’t exactly in the author’s intent, but it sure made the stories more fun. Mom tended to stick to books as written, but she’d drive me to the library at the drop of a hat and help me carry my stacks to the car, and she’d argue with the librarians when they wanted me to leave at least a couple of books for the other kids. Never underestimate what parents teach, even when they’re not trying.


    • Lisa Muscarella
    • Posted 13 Apr 16 at 1132
    • Permalink

    I’ve been a book junkie since the age of four, when my mother realized I was reading without having ever being taught. But being the youngest member of an intellectual, book craving family, I just got it by osmosis. From the age of four on, I’ve had my nose in one book or another, and will probably die with my face in one. No nooks or tablets for me. I like the feel and smell of musty old book!

    • I KNEW there was a reason I liked you…

      I’ve always been an ink on paper guy, too, but having gotten my hands on a little 7″ tablet a while back I’m in the process of becoming a convert. I’m seriously wanting to downsize to the “life on the road” thing again, and that’s going to be difficult with a few thousand books in the deal. I can tow a camper or a library, but not both. And shipping is a couple of dollars a pound, at an absolute minimum. That’s just prohibitive. I can get hundreds if not thousands of electronic books on a hard drive that fits in a pocket and a fair number on a computer chip the size of a fingernail, which has a logic all its own under the circumstances…

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