Oscar Casares Celebrates Dr. Seuss’s Legacy with Special H-E-B Reading

2Reading@HEB3.5.12To celebrate the legacy of children’s author Dr. Seuss, a Brownsville H-E-B hosted a special in-store reading on Monday, March 5 with Oscar Casares, University of Texas at Austin associate professor in the Department of English. The Brownsville native and writer treated 30 first graders from Robert L. Martin Elementary—his alma mater— to a reading of “And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street!” and “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut.”

The children gave a shout out by helping him read the first book by adding the story’s refrain of “…ON MULBERRY STREET!” And Casares actually read “My Eyes Shut” twice, the second time so they could all read it together with one of their eyes shut.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street!” The event is part of H-E-B’s Read 3, an early childhood literacy initiative encouraging parents to read to their children three times a week and making books accessible and affordable for Texas families. The reading also kicked off a six-week long book drive to help H-E-B reach a 1 million-book goal.

Oscar Casares is the author of two critically acclaimed books of fiction, “Brownsville” and “Amigoland,” which have earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America and the Texas Institute of Letters. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In 2011, The University of Texas at Brownsville presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award. He now teaches and directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at The University of Texas at Austin.

Do Your Holiday Shopping this Saturday at the Humanities Texas Book Fair

flyer_email-copyBooks make great gifts, especially for those “hard to buy for” people on your list. So take a break from the mall and head on over to the Humanities Texas annual Holiday Book Fair this Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic Byrne-Reed House.

Twenty-one authors will be available to visit with the public and sign copies of their latest books, which Humanities Texas will offer for purchase at a discounted price. Proceeds will go to the Bastrop Public Library, which suffered losses to its collection during the September wildfires.

The lineup includes:

H.W. Brands, the Raymond Dickson, Alton C. Allen and Dillon Anderson Centennial Professor

1Brands_GreenbackPlanetIn “Greenback Planet,” Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. In The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield, Brands traces the downfall of a notorious New York City figure and brings to life New York’s Gilded Age. More…

Oscar Casares, associate professor of English

1Casares_Amigoland“Amigoland,” set on the South Texas border with Mexico, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio Rosales—querulous, nearly 92 years old, and living in a nursing home—and Don Celestino, twenty years his junior and newly widowed, who finds himself somewhat ambivalently involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro. The housekeeper is a catalyst for the brothers reconnecting, and the improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the siblings hope to settle a long-standing dispute about how their grandfather arrived in the U.S. and Socorro hopes to find clarity in her unlikely romance. The trip stirs up powerful issues of family and pride and about how we care for the people we love. More…

Don Graham, the J. Frank Dobie Regents Professor of American and English Literature

1Graham_StateofMindsIn “State of Minds,” Graham brings together and updates essays he published between 1999 and 2009 to paint a unique picture of Texas culture. In a strong personal voice—wry, humorous, and ironic—Graham offers his take on Texas literary giants ranging from J. Frank Dobie to Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy and on films such as “The Alamo,” “The Last Picture Show,” and “Brokeback Mountain.” More…


James Pennebaker, the Regents Centennial Liberal Arts Professor and chair of the Department of Psychology

1pennebaker_james“The Secret Life of Pronouns” examines how and why pronouns and other forgettable words reveal so much about us. Partly a research journey, the book traces the discovery of the links between function words and social and psychological states. Written for a general audience, the book takes the reader on a remarkable and often unexpected journey into the minds of authors, poets, lyricists, politicians, and everyday people through their use of words. More…

Jeremi Suri, the Mack Brown Distinguished Professor for Global Leadership, History, and Public Policy

1Suri_JeremyNation-building is in America’s DNA. It dates back to the days of the American Revolution, when the founding fathers invented the concept of popular sovereignty—the idea that you cannot have a national government without a collective will. The framers of the Constitution initiated a policy of cautious nation-building, hoping not to conquer other countries, but to build a world of stable, self-governed societies that would support America’s way of life. In “Liberty’s Surest Guardian,” Suri looks to America’s history to see both what it has to offer to failed states around the world and what the nation should avoid. More…

L. Michael White, the Ronald Nelson Smith Chair in Classics and Christian Origins and the director of the Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins

1White_ScriptingJesusIn “Scripting Jesus,” White challenges us to read the gospels as they were originally intended—as performed stories of faith rather than factual histories. White demonstrates that each of the four gospel writers had a specific audience in mind and a specific theological agenda to push, and consequently wrote and rewrote their lives of Jesus accordingly—in effect, scripting Jesus to get a particular point across and to achieve the desired audience reaction. More…

Park for free in the St. Martin’s Evangelical Lutheran Church’s large lot on the northwest corner of 15th and Rio Grande Streets, and enjoy coffee and a bake sale of donated and homemade treats. Go to this website for more information about the authors and their books!

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Oscar Casares’ “Amigoland” Selected As 2010 Mayor’s Book Club Pick

thumbamigoCasares, Oscar 2009Oscar Casares’ novel, “Amigoland,” (2009, Little, Brown) is the ninth annual official selection of the Mayor’s Book Club. The selection was announced at a press conference held by Mayor Lee Leffingwell on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at City Hall in downtown Austin.

Casares was in attendance during the announcement. His novel, set on the South Texas-Mexico border, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio Rosales, nearly 92 years old, and Don Celestino, 20 years his junior. Celestino finds himself involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro, who becomes a catalyst for the two brothers to reconnect. The improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the brothers hope to settle a longstanding dispute about how their grandfather arrived in the United States. The trip stirs up powerful issues of family, pride and how we care for the people we love.

The Library, in conjunction with the Mayor’s office, Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, and the University of Texas Humanities Institute, launches its annual citywide reading campaign to develop a community experience through reading and discussion of a shared book. All of Austin is invited to read the book and then join together in special events and programs during January through April.

Casares joined the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers in 2004 after his debut of “Brownsville’s” publication to critical acclaim.

Texas Book Festival Begins this Weekend

1197052_texas_gov_house_at_austinUniversity of Texas at Austin faculty and alumni authors will share their expertise on topics ranging from the fate of Savannah during the Civil War, to mapping a career path, to the culture of Texas barbecue at the 2009 Texas Book Festival Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at the Texas Capitol and surrounding areas.

More than 200 writers will showcase their books, including a host of authors from our university. Some of the presenters include:

Author: Jeffrey Abramson, professor of law and government
Book: “Minerva’s Owl: The Tradition of Western Political Thought”
When: Saturday, Oct. 31
Where: Texas State Capitol: Capitol Extension Room E2.028

Author: Oscar Casares, assistant professor of English
Book: “Amigoland”
When: Saturday, Oct. 31
Where: Texas State Capitol: Capitol Extension Room E2.016

Author: Jacqueline Jones, the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas and Mastin Gentry White Professor in Southern History
Book: “Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War”
When: Saturday, Oct. 31
Where: Texas State Capitol Extension Room E2.028

Author: Kate Brooks, director of Liberal Arts Career Services
Book: “You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career”
When: Sunday, Nov. 1
Where: Lifestyle Tent (10th and Congress)

Author: Lucas A. Powe, Jr., professor of law and government
Book: “The Supreme Court and the American Elite”
When: Sunday, Nov. 1
Where: Texas State Capitol: Capitol Extension Room E2.016

Author: Elizabeth Engelhardt, associate professor of American Studies
Book: “Republic of Barbecue: Stories Beyond the Brisket”
When: Sunday, Nov. 1
Where: Cooking Tent

Author: Mark Weston, UT Law alumnus (moderated by ShelfLife@Texas contributor Laura Castro)
Book: “Prophets & Princes: Saudi Arabia from Muhammad to the Present
When: Sunday, Nov. 1
Where: Texas State Capitol: Capitol Extension Room E2.014

The Texas Book Festival was founded in 1995 by former first lady Laura Bush to promote reading and honor Texas authors. Sessions are free and open to the public. Proceeds from books purchased at the festival benefit the state’s public libraries.

Visit this site for a full list of festival authors.

Oscar Casares' "AMIGOLAND" releases August 10

Even before its official release on August 10th, Oscar Casares’ novel, “Amigoland,” is following in the footsteps of his acclaimed 2003 debut, “Brownsville.” Both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly gave the novel starred reviews, and USA Today and Time Out New York included it on their recommended summer reading lists even before it was in print. Harper’s and The Wall Street Journal, among others, have upcoming reviews and Texas Monthly has excerpted the novel in its August issue.  A state-wide tour is scheduled in bookstores, on campuses, and at literary festivals throughout the fall.

Austin’s BookPeople will host a reading by Casares and a book signing at 7 p.m., Thursday, August 13.

Casares joined fiction faculty of the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers in 2004 after “Brownsville’s” publication to critical acclaim.  Reviewers agreed that his collected stories had captured the unique Tex Mex culture of his hometown and the ordinary joys and sorrows of his characters without reducing them to socioeconomic stereotypes or writing “message” fiction. The New York Times said “with quiet mastery of the smallest detail, Casares puts us on neighborly terms with the locals.”

“Amigoland,” set on the South Texas border with Mexico, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio Rosales—querulous, nearly 92 years old, and living in a nursing home—and Don Celestino, twenty years his junior and newly widowed, who finds himself somewhat ambivalently involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro. The housekeeper is a catalyst for the brothers reconnecting, and the improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the siblings hope to settle a long-standing dispute about how their grandfather arrived in the U.S. and Socorro hopes to find clarity in her unlikely romance. The trip stirs up powerful issues of family and pride and about how we care for the people we love.

BookPeople is on the corner of West 6th Street and North Lamar Blvd.

Oscar Casares’ “AMIGOLAND” releases August 10

Even before its official release on August 10th, Oscar Casares’ novel, “Amigoland,” is following in the footsteps of his acclaimed 2003 debut, “Brownsville.” Both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly gave the novel starred reviews, and USA Today and Time Out New York included it on their recommended summer reading lists even before it was in print. Harper’s and The Wall Street Journal, among others, have upcoming reviews and Texas Monthly has excerpted the novel in its August issue.  A state-wide tour is scheduled in bookstores, on campuses, and at literary festivals throughout the fall.

Austin’s BookPeople will host a reading by Casares and a book signing at 7 p.m., Thursday, August 13.

Casares joined fiction faculty of the Department of English and the Michener Center for Writers in 2004 after “Brownsville’s” publication to critical acclaim.  Reviewers agreed that his collected stories had captured the unique Tex Mex culture of his hometown and the ordinary joys and sorrows of his characters without reducing them to socioeconomic stereotypes or writing “message” fiction. The New York Times said “with quiet mastery of the smallest detail, Casares puts us on neighborly terms with the locals.”

“Amigoland,” set on the South Texas border with Mexico, is the story of estranged brothers Don Fidencio Rosales—querulous, nearly 92 years old, and living in a nursing home—and Don Celestino, twenty years his junior and newly widowed, who finds himself somewhat ambivalently involved with his young cleaning woman, Socorro. The housekeeper is a catalyst for the brothers reconnecting, and the improbable trio takes off on a bus trip into Mexico, where the siblings hope to settle a long-standing dispute about how their grandfather arrived in the U.S. and Socorro hopes to find clarity in her unlikely romance. The trip stirs up powerful issues of family and pride and about how we care for the people we love.

BookPeople is on the corner of West 6th Street and North Lamar Blvd.