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Each October since 2011, Harris County Public Library has teamed with dozens of public and academic libraries, as well as other public and private partners for Gulf Coast Reads: On the Same PageGulf Coast Reads is a regional reading initiative focused on promoting the simultaneous reading or listening to a selected title by those living along the upper Texas Gulf Coast. 

Each year, a representative committee of librarians selects a title that has a broad appeal to adults in our communities, is recognized in authoritative and professional journals, is available in multiple formats from print to downloadable content, and preferably, is available in multiple languages. The title should also lend itself to related programming about the themes or subjects within.

Gulf Coast Read's goal is to encourage our communities to read the same title during the month of October in order to encourage readers to come together in discussions about it with neighbors, co-workers, friends and their families, as well as in classrooms and in libraries throughout the region. 

Previous Gulf Coast Reads Selections

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
2018

Cover: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules--a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger, knows all too well. Deeply ambivalent about growing up black in the lone star state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him home. A rural noir suffused with the unique music, color, and nuance of East Texas, Bluebird, Bluebird is an exhilarating, timely novel about the collision of race and justice in America.

Check out Bluebird, Bluebird 

The News of the World by Paulette Jiles
2017

 

Cover: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly widower and itinerant news reader, is offered fifty dollars to bring an orphan girl, who was kidnapped and raised by Kiowa raiders, from Wichita Falls back to her family in San Antonio.

Check out The News of the World

 

The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell
2016

Cover: The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell

From 1942 to 1945, secret government trains delivered United States civilians regularly to Crystal City, a small desert town at the southern tip of Texas. The Train to Crystal City reveals the wartime hysteria against the Japanese and Germans in America, FDR's secret tactics to rescue prisoners of war in Germany and Japan, how the definition of American citizenship changed under the pressure of war, and, above all, a tale of resilience and patriotism against overwhelming odds. 

Check out The Train to Crystal City

 

The Promise by Ann Weisgarber
2015

Cover: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber

1900. Young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio in the wake of a terrible scandal. Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up a correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams. In desperation, she agrees to marry him, but when Catherine travels to Oscar's farm on Galveston Island, Texas -- a thousand miles from home -- she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her.

Check out The Promise

 

Remember Ben Clayton by Stephen Harrigan
2014

Cover: Remember Ben Clayton

Francis "Gil" Gilheaney is a sculptor of boundless ambition. But bad fortune and his own prideful spirit have driven him from New York into artistic exile in Texas just after World War I. His adult daughter, Maureen, serves as his assistant, although she has artistic ambitions of her own and is beginning to understand how her own career--perhaps even her life--has become hostage to her driven father's "wild pursuit of glory." When Lamar Clayton, an aging, heartbroken rancher, offers Gil a commission to create a memorial statue of his son Ben, who was killed in the war. The creation of the statue leads to a chain of dramatic encounters, through which Maureen will test the boundaries of her independence and Gil and Lamar, each in his own painful way, will confront their worth as fathers.

Check out Remember Ben Clayton

 

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
2013

Cover: The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog--his only neighbor, a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life--something like his old life--exists beyond the airport.

Check out The Dog Stars

 

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
2012

Cover: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The nine-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center bombing searches the city for a lock that fits a black key his father left behind. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.

Check out Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

 

One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
2011
Cover: One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

An acclaimed novel by the author of The Mistress of Spices, and Before We Visit the Goddess. Jhumpa Lahiri praises: "One Amazing Thing collapses the walls dividing characters and cultures; what endures is a chorus of voices in one single room."Late afternoon sun sneaks through the windows of a passport and visa office in an unnamed American city. Most customers and even most office workers have come and gone, but nine people remain.

Check out One Amazing Thing