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Holiday Gift Guide

Smart coffee table books with a Texas connection

Just as the selections on your tablet clue people in to what kind of reader you are, the books displayed on your coffee table shout personal style. Currently, there is a plethora of new oversized books that demand attention: The Big Book of Chic, Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, Love Looks Not With the Eyes and Abbey Road.

But going local has become a priority, so we put together a list of five newly released smart and beautiful books with a Texas connection. These are must-haves for your home (or someone else’s). 

Dan Winters’s America: Icons and Ingenuity

By Dan Winters

Think of an American celebrity. Odds are Dan Winters has photographed him or her. Winters, who lives outside Austin and whose work has appeared in Esquire, Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine, uses flawless lighting and thoughtful postures to create unforgettable portraits.

In this book, images of personalities such as Jay Z, Colin Firth, Will Ferrell and Christina Ricci are followed by remarkable photographs from NASA space shuttle launches. Winters, a science fanatic (he has documented honeybees), closes on a personal note with images of life around him, including shots of his wife and son.

A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove

By John Spong

Lonesome Dove captures the essence of Texas — its history, grandeur, myth. Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, which was published in 1985, spawned one of the greatest Westerns ever made, a miniseries watched by millions that garnered numerous awards, including seven Emmys.

This book, by Texas Monthly senior editor John Spong, takes you behind the scenes via interviews with 40 key people including McMurtry and actors Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Anjelica Huston and Danny Glover.

Vignettes from the filming are interspersed with recollections and quotes, photographs of the cast and crew, Polaroid snapshots, maps and drawings.

The Sound of Austin

Portraits by Mathew Sturtevant

In this big book of colorful photographs — and people — Mathew Sturtevant’s adept eye is evident. More than 20,000 images of Austin musicians were taken for this project, but only 100 made the final cut.

Sturtevant, who was born in LA and moved to Austin when he was 15, made a phony press pass for his first Capital City concert — Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble — so he could get better access to take photos.

The Sound of Austin is the product of his lifelong admiration of the local music scene and its many players, including Alejandro Escovedo, Carrie Rodriguez, Fastball, Lyle Lovett and Kat Edmonson.

DKR: The Royal Scrapbook

By Jenna Hays McEachern, with Edith Royal

Never-before-published photographs; letters; memories from family members, friends, and former players; and more commemorate the life of the most beloved UT legend.

Darrell Royal, the man behind 11 Southwest Conference and three national championships, remains “The Coach” — revered by all Longhorns as a testament to true character. He changed the way people played the game (ever heard of the wishbone offense?) — and he transformed lives.

Royal passed away at the age of 88 in November 2012.

Andy Coolquitt

By Rachel Hooper

For more than a decade, Andy Coolquitt has been living in an experiment — or has been experimenting with living.

His house/ studio/artist colony/community space in East Austin constantly evolves as Coolquitt continues to build sculptures from the things he has scavenged from the streets around him — metal pipes, plastic lighters, straws, paper bags.

He gained a national and international following after a solo exhibition in New York in 2008. This book, which covers the artist’s work over the past 25 years, includes images of installations that no longer exist and attempts to explain Coolquitt’s concepts, which were controversial when he initially started his project.