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Best Books Set in Texas

Every state is known for something. As you work your way through the list, don't miss the best books set in Texas.

Texas is a state in the South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles, and with more than 30 million residents in 2023, it is the second-largest U.S. state by both area and population.

What themes are in Books Set in Texas?

Texas is a diverse and culturally rich state, and its literature reflects a wide range of themes. Some common themes in the best books set in Texas include:

1. Identity and Belonging: Many books set in Texas explore the concept of identity and the search for belonging, particularly in a state with a complex history and diverse population. This can involve themes related to race, ethnicity, and cultural heritage.

2. Land and Landscape: Texas is known for its vast and varied landscapes, from deserts to forests to prairies. Many books set in Texas emphasize the importance of the land and the connection between people and their environment.

3. History and Heritage: Given Texas's rich history, books often delve into historical themes, including the Alamo, the Texas Revolution, and the state's cowboy and ranching culture.

4. Social Issues: Books set in Texas may address contemporary social issues such as immigration, border politics, racial tensions, and economic disparities.

5. Family and Relationships: Family is an important theme in many Texas novels, often exploring the dynamics of families, relationships, and the role of tradition in shaping people's lives.

6. Cultural Diversity: Texas is a melting pot of cultures, and this diversity is often depicted in books, exploring the interactions and clashes between different cultural groups.

7. Individualism and Independence: Texas has a reputation for its strong spirit of individualism and independence, and this theme often appears in literature, exploring the character of the “Texan” and the pursuit of personal freedom.

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8. Myth and Legend: Texas has its own mythology and legends, including stories of larger-than-life figures like Davy Crockett and Sam Houston. These stories and their impact on the state's identity are often explored in literature.

9. Economic Struggles: Some books set in Texas address economic challenges and the pursuit of the American Dream, particularly in the context of industries like oil, agriculture, and the challenges faced by the working class.

10. Coming of Age: Many novels set in Texas focus on the coming-of-age experiences of young protagonists as they navigate the challenges and opportunities the state offers.

It's important to note that the themes in books set in Texas can vary widely depending on the genre, time period, and cultural perspective of the author. Texas literature includes a diverse array of voices and narratives, making it a rich source of storytelling and exploration of these themes.

Best Books Set in Texas

The Last Picture Show
  • McMurtry, Larry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Last Picture Show

Author: Larry McMurtry

The Last Picture Show (1966) is both a rambunctious coming-of-age story and an elegy to a forlorn Texas town trying to keep its one movie house alive. Adapted into the Oscar-winning film, this masterpiece immortalizes the lives of the hardscrabble residents who are threatened by the inexorable forces of the modern world.

All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, Book 1)
  • Great product!
  • McCarthy, Cormac (Author)

All the Pretty Horses 

Author: Cormac McCarthy

All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood.

Texas: A Novel
  • Michener, James A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)


Author: James Michener

Spanning four and a half centuries, James A. Michener’s monumental saga chronicles the epic history of Texas, from its Spanish roots in the age of the conquistadors to its current reputation as one of America’s most affluent, diverse, and provocative states.

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Among his finely drawn cast of characters, emotional and political alliances are made and broken, as the loyalties established over the course of each turbulent age inevitably collapse under the weight of wealth and industry.

With Michener as our guide, Texas is a tale of patriotism and statesmanship, growth and development, violence and betrayal—a stunning achievement by a literary master.

The Liars' Club: A Memoir
  • Karr, Mary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Liars’ Club

Author: Mary Karr

The Liars’ Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, bringing about a dramatic revival of the form.

Karr’s comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger’s—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at age twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all.

This unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as “funny, lively, and un-put-downable” (USA Today) today as it ever was.

The Gates of the Alamo
  • Harrigan, Stephen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Gates of the Alamo

Author: Stephen Harrigan

It’s 1836, and the Mexican province of Texas is in revolt.

As General Santa Anna’s forces move closer to the small fort that will soon be legend, three people’s fates will become intrinsically tied to the coming battle: Edmund McGowan, a proud and gifted naturalist; the widowed innkeeper Mary Mott; and her sixteen-year-old son, Terrell, whose first shattering experience with love has led him into the line of fire.

Filled with dramatic scenes, and abounding in fictional and historical personalities—among them James Bowie, David Crockett, William Travis, and Stephen Austin—The Gates of the Alamo is a faithful and compelling look at a riveting chapter in American history.

Now that you've completed the list of best books set in this state, why not check out some others? Here are the Best Books Set in All 50 States.

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Click here to download the printable. It has a list of books in all 50 states including the Best Books Set in Texas.

Want to keep learning about the States? Traveling the States offers a comprehensive educational journey through all 50 American states, making it suitable for individuals of all ages!

The program encompasses each of the fifty states and provides the flexibility to explore them in any preferred sequence, whether alphabetically, in the order of statehood, or in accordance with your travel route. You can even involve your children in the decision-making process by allowing them to select a state, granting them a sense of involvement in their learning experience.

For each state you choose to explore, your family will engage in various enriching activities. These activities involve identifying the state's location on a map, delving into its history, creatively coloring a unique artwork page, gaining insights into the state flag's history and creating your own representation, stamping a passport to mark your journey, accessing a curated YouTube playlist, and immersing yourself in the state's history and its natural world, which includes details about the state's designated animal, bird, flower, and tree. Additionally, you'll partake in enjoyable and educational games and even prepare a traditional recipe unique to that state.

Further Reading About the State:

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