Historian Dr. Abbie Grubb on the "Enemy Alien" Experience During WWII

It is a coincidence, or, perhaps, a happy accident for Gulf Coast readers, that Dr. Abbie Grubb, who wrote her doctoral dissertation on the Japanese American experience during World War II happens to be a Gulf coast resident herself.

Gulf Coast Reads at the MFAH

mfahDon’t miss the opportunity to trace the story of a secret American internment camp in Texas during WWII, through the galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  On a Docent led tour, discuss the stories of day-to-day life at the camp through the lens of artworks and artists living and working during that era.

Thursday, October 13 – 6:30pm
Thursday, October 20 – 10am
Thursday, October 27 – 6:30pm

Online Exhibit: Remembering Through Archives: Images from Local Archives

Thanks to the work and enthusiasm of local archivists, we are pleased again this year to offer an online exhibit we hope will broaden and deepen your reading experience. For Remembering Through Archives: Images from Local Archives, archivists from Harris County Archives, Houston Public Library's Houston Metropolitan Research Center, The Kincaid School Libraries, Sam Houston Regional Libary & Research Center, Texas State Library & Archives Commission, San Jacinto Museum of History, University of Houston, Special Collections and Rice University Fondren Library's Woodson Research Center have selected photographs, documents and artifacts to give you both historical context for the events you read about in The Train to Crystal City and a feel for what everyday life was like for Texans at the time. 

Houston Community College history professor, Dr. Nicholas Cox will give a talk entitled Crystal City Internment Camp: Internment & Security in Texas During World War II at Fort Bend County Library - Sienna Branch this evening, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Start Your Gulf Coast Reading!

gcr book stackIf you haven't had a chance yet to read The Train to Crystal City, now's the time to start!  Your local library is stocked up on the reading format of your choice -  print book, eBook, or audiobook. If you want a copy of your very own, Brazos Bookstore is assisting with book sales at many of Jan Jarboe Russell's appearances and also offering a 15% discount if you purchase your copy from them in their store, online or at one of the Gulf Coast Reads events during October.  

After you read the book, we hope that you will take part in discussing it with your neighbors.  We have many book discussion opportunites to choose from - check the events calendar for programs near you.  You can take part in Montgomery County's online book club or start a discussion on Facebook @gulfcoastreads.  We're even part of the Houston Great Books Celebration of Literary Discussion on October 15th at Bayou Bend.  If you are participating and want us to share your book club information, let us know!


Gulf Coast Reads 2016 Begins Tomorrow!

After nearly a year of preparation and more phone calls and emails than we care to think about, as well as a lot of behind the scenes work by libraries, colleges and partner organizations across nine southeast Texas counties, Gulf Coast Reads 2016 is finally upon us.

As we have done in years past, we have chosen a book we believe will be of special interest to people of the region. This year's selection, The Train to Crystal City by Beaumont-born, Texas Monthly senior editor, Jan Jarboe Russell, tells of a little-known chapter in our country's and our state's history. While it is neither's finest hour, the book will leave you with clearer insight into the big picture history you may think you already know, as well as admiration for the strength and perseverance of the German- and Japanese-American families who are the book’s focus.

As it has been since its beginning six years ago, Gulf Coast Reads is not just about reading and raising awareness of libraries, it's about community and interaction. To that end, you will have plenty of opportunity to discuss the book with other Gulf Coast readers both in person and online all month long. Not to mention all the special events and programs to deepen your understanding and spark your curiosity:

  • Author Jan Jarboe Russell will visit ten libraries spanning the breadth of the region from Wharton County Central Library to Lamar University in Beaumont.
  • Gulf Coast Reads at Museum of Fine Arts Houston allow you to trace the story of the Crystal City camp through the MFAH's galleries and to discuss the stories of life at the camp through the lens of artworks and artists of the era.
  • Area archives and archivists have contributed to an online exhibit of photos, documents and other memorabilia that adds other perspectives to the book's story,
  • And lots more! See the events calendar for full-listings, and keep an eye on this for special features, follow us @gulfcoastreads on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about the author at 

Thanks for Being a Part of Gulf Coast Reads 2015!

ann at lamar universityThanks to all of you who participated in this year's Gulf Coast Reads programs - reading, discussing, traveling and attending lectures and events!  It has been a record-setting year for GCR, and we've enjoyed meeting and learning with people from across the eight county areas.  Thanks also go out to all of the people in libraries, schools, universities and colleges, museums, and arts organizations who worked so hard to make these programs a success. Bravo, everyone!  

Most of all, we'd like to thank Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise.  Not only were we inspired by your book, but also your kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm.  Thank you for being the busiest woman in the region this October!

We won't be checking in with you every day now, but stay tuned for announcements about Gulf Coast Reads 2016.

Saturday: Cypress at the Turn of the Century and Trains!

The month just flew by. It is hard to believe that Saturday's events are the last ones for Gulf Coast Reads 2015. There are only a few, but they reflect, I think, the diversity of programming that participating institutions have presented throughout the month.

At 1:00 p.m., you can get a look at Cypress, Texas before it became the hustling, bustling place it is today. The Cypress Historical Society will present Cypress at the Turn of the Century, an informative and entertaining look at a vanished world in your neck of the woods that hasn't entirely vanished at Harris County - Northwest Branch Library.