And the Winner Is...

The Fishermen and the Dragon by Kirk Wallace Johnson!

The Gulf Coast Reads Committee is excited to announce the 2023 Gulf Coast Reads selection is The Fishermen & the Dragon: Fear, Greed, and a Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast by Kirk Wallace Johnson. 

Welcome to Gulf Coast Reads 2019!

To say we are excited about Gulf Coast Reads 2019 is an understatement. We are positively geeking at the seams. It's not just because Susan Orlean's The Library Book is the selection and a lot of us are librarians.

Gulf Coast Reads The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Cover: The Library Book by Susan OrleanGulf Coast Reads is delighted to announce that The Library Book, Susan Orlean’s bestseller about the mysterious 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire, is the 2019 selection for our annual regional read-along.  Gulf Coast Reads may best be described as a friendly neighborhood book club on steroids. This October, public and academic libraries along with private and public community partners will encourage everyone across southeast Texas to read and discuss The Library Book, attend special events and generally engage with the region's vast community of readers.

In The Library Book, Orlean chronicles the Los Angeles Public Library fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives. The author delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity. Orlean brings each department of the library to vivid life through on-the-ground reportingstudies arson, and reexamines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL more than thirty years ago. 

This October, along with book discussions, libraries and partner organizations will host a wide variety of special programs and events drawing on The Library Book’s subject and themes. Stay tuned here for more details about Gulf Coast Reads events in your neck of the woods and across southeast Texas.

Follow Gulf Coast Reads on Facebook & Twitter @GulfCoastReads

Attica Locke on Family, Hwy 59, and Becoming a Writer

Excerpt from Attica Locke's visit to Clear Lake City - County Freeman Branch Library

The Flavors of Southern Cooking Lead GCR Programming This Week

Lots of readers have told us that reading Bluebird, Bluebird really builds up an appetite--not because it's hard work, but because Attica Locke does such a good job of evoking East Texas culture through its food. This week, several libraries are hosting events that let you learn more about--and taste!--the cuisine that you've read about in the book. 

Making Connections: GCR2018 Archives Exhibit

Texas Rangers Escort Prisoner from Courthouse courtesy of Harris County ArchivesEvery year for Gulf Coast Reads, local archivists scour their collections for photos, documents and other artifacts that relate to the GCR selection. The idea is to add historical context to the reading experience and to show in a tangible way that reading is never done in a vaccuum, amd that it never a strictly solitary act. We all bring our lived experiences to our reading. That's why discussion is such a big part of Gulf Coast Reads. Your view of the book, when shared, shapes and informs others' reading of it, and that builds community in a very real way. Gulf Coast Reads is all about making connections--between readers and with the world at large. In this year's Online Archive Exhibit, you'll find items from the world of music, the Civil Rights Movement from the 1960s to Black Lives Matter, the logging industry in East Texas, the Texas Rangers, and ranching, as well as beautiful historic photographs of Texans leading their workaday lives. Enjoy!

We want to thank the archivists and their institutions for sharing their time and resources:
Harris County Archives
Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
Lamar University Archives
San Jacinto Museum of History
Rothko Chapel Archives & Library
Sam Houston Regional Library & Research Center, Texas State Library & Archives Commission
University of Houston, Special Collections
Woodson Research Center, Rice University


GCR2018 Week 2: Upcoming Events

Gulf Coast Reads churns into week two and here are a few of the events in story. 

East Texas Memories - Jean Gordon and Freddye Kelly talk about growing up in East Texas
LSC - CyFair Branch Library - HCPL 
Wednesday Oct. 10, 10 - 11 AM

Coffee with Cops
R.F. Meador - MCMLS
Thursday Oct 11, 10 - 11:30 AM

I am Annie Mae: The Story of a Black Texas Woman - Based on the award winning musical detailing the life of Washington County-born Annie Mae Hunt and 120 years of her family’s history. Presented by Young Audiences of Houston and Texas Center for African American Living History
Maud Marks Branch Library
Saturday Oct 13, 1 PM

Houston blues museum logoHouston Blues Museum Presentation and Music Performance - Sandy Hickey, co-founder and Director of Museum Collections of the Houston Blues Museum will talk about the history of blues in Houston and references to blues in Bluebird, Bluebird. She will also bring artifacts from the museum. She will be followed by a live blues performance by a local musician.
La Porte Branch Library - HCPL
Saturday Oct 13, 2 - 3 PM

Be It Ever So Humble: A History of Humble Texas - learn about the beginnings and early settlers of Humble
Octavia Fields Branch Library - HCPL
Saturday, Oct 13, 2 - 4 PM

And, of course, Book Diuscussions galore! Check Events for full listings

Blues, It's History and More

The soundtrack of Bluebird, Bluebird is undoubtedly a long, slow blues in 12 bars. This weekend, you have two chances to learn a little more about this underrated art form. 
A History of the Blues: trace the evolution of the form through live and recorded music with expert commentary by musician William Hunn. Stick around and sample some southern-style desserts and sweet tea. HCPL - Crosby Branch Library, Saturday, 2 - 3PM

GCR 2018 Kicks Off with Author Appearances, Blues, Bourbon & More

It's finally here! Gulf Coast Reads 2018 is off and running--or off and reading, if you prefer, and there is a lot going on at libraries across Southeast Texas. Here are just a few highlights: 

Coffee with your Cops
Milam St. Coffee Shop in Wharton TX - WCL
Wednesday, Oct 3, 7:30 - 9 AM

Bluebird, Bluebird Pie Tasting
Stratford Branch Library - HCPL
Wednesday, Oct 3. 5 - 5:30 PM

Meet the Texas Rangers
R.F. Meador Branch Library - MCMLS
Thursday, 6 - 7 PM

Here's a little Texas blues from Lightnin' Hopkins to get you in the spirit.