6 Beautiful New Books from Texas Creatives
Guest-friendly finds from local authors that are just as design-worthy as they are useful
By Holly Cowart
Several Texas authors and artists have recently released compelling and picturesque books that are great for decorating your space, sharing with loved ones or learning something new. Readers can find dreamy images of decadent dishes, unbelievable landscapes and dazzling works of art brilliantly displayed across the pages of the following books, which are compiled by artists who share an endless love and admiration for the great state of Texas. Now, go get inspired and support our state’s talented community of creatives by shopping locally for these stunning books.
The Big Texas Cookbook: The Food That Defines the Lone Star State
By Editors of Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly is here to remind us that everything is bigger in Texas — and thank goodness for that. Whether proudly displayed in the living room or used as a staple in the kitchen, this gorgeous and gigantic cookbook is an essential collection of food and drinks that embody the best of the Lone Star State. Published last November, readers are invited to explore incredible plates by renowned local chefs, plus personal family recipes from the Texas Monthly staff. Spectacularly photographed by Austin’s own Jody Horton and complete with time-honored traditions, newer trends and intriguing cultural fusions, you’ll have a blast getting acquainted with the book’s versatile yet recognizable food and ingredients.
Koko’s Guide to Fredericksburg
By Jane Ko
When in doubt, trust in A Taste of Koko. Considered one of Austin’s most respected voices in food, travel and design recommendations, Jane Ko has released a follow up to her first book, Koko’s Guide to Austin, and this time, she’s focusing on our charming neighbor to the west, Fredericksburg. This compact guidebook is bursting with beautiful images and hand-drawn illustrations of Koko-approved destinations worth putting on your radar. The book also comes with a helpful calendar of yearly happenings held throughout the historic region, which carries its own distinct culture and culinary scene. It’s a perfect addition to a well-curated bookshelf or for taking on-the-go. Plus, sales from each purchase benefit the Wine & Food Foundation. Austinites planning weekend trips can pick up copies online and in local retailers like BookPeople, Atown, Noah Marion and Hearth & Soul.
DIG: Notes on Field and Family
By Sarah Wilson
Released in December, this body of work represents a decade of paleontological research and family history at Big Bend from author, cinematographer and photographer Sarah Wilson. The series is a thoughtful tribute to Wilson’s grandfather, who organized the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections at UT Austin, where he was also a professor of geology and paleontology. The idea for the memoir came to Wilson after she was given three boxes of 35-millimeter Kodachrome slides that her grandfather had captured on annual trips and used in his teaching. She discovered that many of the locations and imagery were the very same she had photographed herself years later.
At first glance, it’s simply an appealing book to add to your collection, but after flipping through its pages, it’s fascinating to see how Wilson merges art and science to create a captivating view of the deep connections between people and place. You’ll uncover majestic shots of the sprawling West Texas landscape and scientific finds, intertwined with thought-provoking notes on the nature of time and memories from Willson and her grandfather, chronicling not only their rich family history, but that of Big Bend as well. Wilson has added “amateur paleontologist” to her list of titles, as she now conducts her own digs around the vast countryside. A second edition is set to be released this March, and viewers can also take in permanent collections of Wilson’s work at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
The Siete Table
The Garza Family
To absolutely no one’s surprise, we’re big Siete Foods fans. The Garza family has made it their mission to bring delicious, accessible Mexican-American food to Austin and beyond with a growing line of grain-free tortillas, cookies, chips, sauces and more. In October, they released their first-ever cookbook, sharing over 100 delicious and health-conscious recipes gathered over the years that will help you see your pantry in a whole new light. From tasty Enchiladas Suizas to decadent Churros, most of the entries can easily be adjusted to become vegan or vegetarian-friendly. As eye-catching as it is mouthwatering, this book makes a vibrant addition to any space and is sure to be a hit with both family members and guests.
ATX Urban Art
By J Muzacz
After a successful Indiegogo campaign, ATX Urban Art finally hit the shelves, spotlighting Austin’s unmatched public art scene throughout nearly 700 pages of graffiti, street art, murals and mosaics. While readers will spot the iconic and recognizable masterpieces that Austin is known for, the book also doubles as a comprehensive history lesson. From never before seen images to the untold stories behind them, it’s a celebration of the passionate artists that beautify this city and keep things a little funky. There’s no one better to tell this story than J Muzacz, a prominent public artist and co-founder of The Mosaic Workshop. Muzacz created lifesize works around the world before settling in Austin, always finding ways to give back to the community through his craft.
When you’re finished enjoying the gallery of more than 2,000 photos from the comfort of your home, check out their online map and hop in the car to see some of the stops in-person. Copies can be purchased from the organization’s pop-up at 2324 Studios, online and throughout Austin, with one percent of proceeds going towards nonprofit Stripe Climate.
Coming Soon: Young Riders
By Travis Hallmark
An established Austin-based photographer with a talent for documenting the impactful moments within everyday lives, Travis Hallmark is gearing up to launch the first book of his career, Young Riders. After the pandemic disrupted his professional work, Hallmark turned his attention to growing his personal portfolio. Ignited by his fascination with western culture and a childhood spent on a 600-acre ranch an hour outside of town, Hallmark’s initial idea was to immerse himself in the world of rodeo. As the project evolved into a more specific focus on the subculture of young bull riders, the photographer’s one-man show turned into a team of people working together to help capture every detail.
The series highlights everything from the styles and equipment donned by the riders, down to the expressions of the bulls as they’re unleashed into the arena, all contributing to a striking and heartfelt portrayal of these Texas communities. “Living and spending most of my time in a fast-paced, progressive city, you can sometimes lose sight of the unending diversity the world brings,” says Hallmark. “This project slowed me down and allowed me to see life outside of my own little world.” Set to be published this August, sign up for his newsletter for updates and look out for this exquisite photo book celebrating the spirited community of young Texas bull riders.