Welcome to this week's Rendezvous With A Writer OutWest featured book round-up. Find these books, and many more like them, on our separate book website Bookshop.org/shop/OutWestShop.com. We've curated book lists representing the complicated, compelling, and engaging culture, history and diversity of the American West. This week's featured book selections were posted on our OutWest Shop Facebook daily post February 28 - March 6, 2021. Discover titles about Yellowstone National Park, the National Anthem, the Alamo and More! Books are added to this blog as the week unfolds.
MARCH 6 ...REMEMBER THE ALAMO! became the cry after the fort fell to Santa Anna’s army on this date in 1836. Six weeks later the Texians prevailed at the Battle of San Jacinto, winning Texas independence from Mexico. Much has been written and filmed and sung about the Alamo; unraveling the facts and the legend is daunting. Here are two books for adults and two for young people that should keep readers turning the pages as the dramatic events and their larger-than-life participants come to life.
ALAMO ALL-STARS: A TEXAS TALE. Nathan Hale. The sixth graphic novel in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series is aimed at readers in grades 4-7. I started my Alamo reading here and learned a lot. “As always, irreverent humor makes a complicated story more accessible. . .” - - Horn Book Guide Reviews
WHAT WAS THE ALAMO?Pam Pollock. As I have written before, children grades 3 and up find the books in this popular series irresistible. Large print, lots of drawings, and a section of photographs add to their appeal.
Our stay at the elegant Menger Hotel in San Antonio, just steps away from the Alamo, was memorable for many reasons. My husband, Jim, enjoys researching historic hotels in unique settings and surprising me with their details upon arrival. Our first evening there, he was eager to get into the Menger Bar, where Teddy Roosevelt recruited many of his Rough Riders. While we enjoyed drinks at the handsome bar the bar tender regaled us with stories of the bar's history including a visit from Carrie Nation.
The morning of March 6th, we arrived for breakfast in the charming Colonial Restaurant and were surprised to find ourselves surrounded by Davy Crocketts, Jim Bowies, and Lieutenant William Travises with a couple of Santa Annas thrown in for good measure. They all participated at an annual sunrise event "Dawn At The Alamo" at the nearby Alamo Plaza, and, now, were enjoying a hearty breakfast.
Our time in San Antonio was magical - we enjoyed the River Walk, visiting the Alamo and other historic sites and museums. If you haven't visited there - get it on your bucket list. 2021 marks the 162nd anniversary of the Menger Hotel and the first year of an long anticipated Alamo restoration project. Check out these websites for more:
NMAH - The Star Spangled Banner MARCH 4 ...12,000 VOICES SOARED INTO THE NIGHT AIR, and one of them was mine. “O say can you see. . .” How thrilling to be part of something that sounded so fantastic! We all wanted copies of the recording made at the Girl Scout Senior Roundup campfires. We sang patriotic songs and all the beloved camp songs, including “Peace I Ask of Thee, O River”.
Audiences attending Buffalo Bill’s Wild West must have been stirred when the Cowboy Band played “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the opening of every performance. Although the song was played for years at public and military events, it didn’t become our NATIONAL ANTHEM until March 4, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover signed Congress’ bill into law.
Read Jon Meacham and Tim McGraw’s insightful SONGS OF AMERICA: PATRIOTISM, PROTEST, AND THE MUSIC THAT MADE A NATION for a unique look at our history. An amazing photograph of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key opens the book. The double-page spread shows the immense banner under restoration in 1914. Another Scouting memory I have is seeing that flag - so enormous, but battered and fragile - on a weekend visit to Washington, D. C. with my troop. It was so inspiring.
Most of the Scouts who attended the 1965 Roundup no longer have equipment to play that old recording. Fortunately, someone turned it into a video with images of Girl Scouting accompanying our singing. We still sound awesome! ---Post by Book Guide WENDY
If you’ve been sending cards and notes to friends and family but haven’t been out much to shop, you may need to freshen up your stationery supply. Bobbi Jean and I were thrilled to find notecards and postcards that we could add to our affiliate page at https://bookshop.org/shop/outwestshop
Because MARCH is NATIONAL READING MONTH, here are some of our favorite choices with literary themes:
THE WOMAN READING is snuggled in a cushy chair, sitting in a window seat, lounging with her cat and dog, cuddling a child on the couch while reading aloud. 20 cards, 5 each of 4 romantic paintings.
The BIBLIOPHILE POSTCARDSbox holds 50 different bright and whimsical images from author/illustrator Jane Mount: Stacks of books, libraries, authors’ pets, bookshops, book jackets, and more.
If you are nostalgic for analog days, treat yourself to the CARD CATALOG. Each card reproduces the record of a famous work from the Library of Congress. Dash off your note on the back of the card; then tuck it into an envelope that looks like an old date due slip. 30 cards.
CLASSIC PAPERBACKS offers one notecard each of twelve paintings of vintage books. How to decide which to give away? Hmmm.
Where is your favorite place to read? Favorite place to write a personal note or card? We want to know!
---Post by Book Guide WENDY
Additional Note From BOBBI JEAN:
I love to receive personal notes and cards...how they stand out in our mail delivery! I enjoy shopping for notecards with the "good intention" they will be written and mailed. Notecards call to me, suggesting the friend or family member they'll be ideal for. Cards adorned with musical notes, Western designs, landscapes - flora-and fauna, all are the "perfect" card for someone on my heart and mind. If only I would carve out the time to send them!! LOL!
In this day of electronic greetings, texts, Face Time, Zoom, and all the ways we are staying "in touch" there's still no substitute for the handwritten note. A few years ago we moved...and I discovered 10 big boxes of cards, notes, and letters received over the last 50 years. There are envelopes with exotic stamps, with handwriting of loved ones no longer with us, letters and cards that speak of events long forgotten and now revisited.
Pick a design, get cozy in your favorite writing/reading spot, maybe pour through those digital photos on your phone - and pick a "special someone" to address. Start with one-a-day! You'll enjoy this special time thinking of those you love AND they'll be delighted to find your unexpected note in their mail.
MARCH 1... OLD FAITHFUL! MORNING GLORY POOL! l wasn’t in Connecticut any more! With hundreds of other girls I was taking a train from New Haven to Idaho for the Girl Scout Senior Roundup. We had an amazing day trip before arriving at our destination. First stop? A small town at the foot of a real mountain. It looked just like the set of a TV Western. Buses then drove us into Yellowstone National Park, where we toured the classic sites, including Old Faithful Lodge. I still have the doll I purchased there, a Navajo weaver.
What an amazing place with an incredible history and geography! No wonder Buffalo Bill established the new town of Cody, Wyoming nearby. Yellowstone became our first National Park on MARCH 1, 1872. Until the park reopens, settle into your armchair with a stack of books. My recommendations:
I like YELLOWSTONE RANGER because the author’s voice reminds me of our dad’s. They were both great storytellers. Jerry Mernin grew up in Yosemite National Park, and became a ranger like his father, working most of his career in Yellowstone. You’ll feel that he is across the campfire from you, spinning one tale after another.
In 1871 an expedition of scientists, photographers and artists studied the fantastic landscape and geology of Yellowstone. Erin Peabody, a park ranger herself, writes in A WEIRD AND WILD BEAUTY that their findings helped convince Congress to preserve the area as the first national park.
That beauty can be perilous, as Yellowstone historian Lee H. Whittlesey documents in DEATH IN YELLOWSTONE Hot springs, bison, and bears - oh, my! Yes, you’ll gasp your way through, but the book is hard to put down.
Disclosure: OutWest Shop is an affiliate ofBookshop.organd earns a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Who are we to be your guides? We are two sisters who grew up in a family that valued reading and encouraged an interest in history and the arts. Wendy spent her career with books. She worked as a children's librarian and as the buyer and manager of the children's department of an independent bookstore. A college major in literature introduced her to the classics of the American West.
Bobbi Jean and her husband, Jim, own OutWest Shop. She was the manager and buyer for a museum store before they started their own business. Bobbi Jean co-hosts The Writer's Block on LA Talk Radio, where she interviews authors of all types. The three other radio shows she hosts involve Western music and horses. Find podcasts of all her shows at OutWest Live!
We love sharing our book knowledge. You are not limited to the titles you find on our lists, though. Use the search box to rustle up any books that you want, and put them in your OutWest Book Shop cart!
Happy Reading! Remember, it's always a Great Day OutWest!
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START YOUR ENGINES! Warm weather returns and so do car shows, car races, working under the hood, and road trips! Morgan's and Phillip's Speed Shop cool T-Shirts, Thermals and Caps are inspired by vintage cars, motorcycles, classic designs and Officially Licensed GULF products. Authenticity, is what sets M&P Speed Shop apart from the competition. The brand strives to tell a story with each garment. Made in the USA. OutWest Shop offers the full line, we're highlighting a few of our favorites. Shop the collection here: https://www.outwestshop.com/collections/m-p-speed-shop
PACK YOUR BAG! Are you heading out? Where are you going? Errands, to work, to the playground or ball field? What goes with you where ever you go? Are there extras like sun protection, water bottle, tablet, or change of shoes you don't want to forget? Here are five woven generous sized handbags with roomy interiors and fashionable good looks. All from the Scully Leather Co.