"You remember Ann Richards, right?" This is how a gracious library-goer recently jostled my memory into gear. I'd just sent in her interlibrary loan request for an Edwin Shrake book, and my expression must have signaled that Mr. Shrake's precise literary context was momentarily eluding me.
"Edwin (Bud) Shrake was Governor Richards' frequent escort and part of that wonderful group of Texas literary characters,", she concluded, having offered the ideal hint. No wonder a neat, caption-worthy phrase didn't present itself. Pressed to invent a brief tagline, you could say that Edwin Shrake co-authored one of the best-selling golfing books of all time, or that he knew Jack Ruby, or that he hobnobbed with Dan Jenkins and Willie Nelson, and you'd still fail to credit the influence of this novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and sportswriter.
If you're seeking intriguing characters, you can take your pick: fictional personas created by Texas authors, or the writers themselves. This summer, one of the upstairs book towers at the library features novels set in Texas, and keeping that display stocked presents a challenge. When I collect and slot in titles from the fiction stacks, alert readers are apt to spot a choice item and empty that space before I can admire the nicely stocked result.