cover image Texas Bound: Book II: 22 Texas Stories

Texas Bound: Book II: 22 Texas Stories

. Southern Methodist University Press, $22.5 (280pp) ISBN 978-0-87074-426-6

In a scheme as quintessentially Texan as a can of Lone Star beer, the Dallas Art Museum's celebrity reading series Arts & Letters Live pairs celebrity actors with Texas-themed stories. The results have been three audiocassettes and, now, two print collections. The second of these precisely echoes the faults and virtues of its predecessor: although some stories seem to have been selected more for brevity and authorial notoriety than for quality or variety, none is less than well made, entertaining and heavily flavored with regional types. The best among them is Tom Doyle's ""Sick Day,"" followed closely by Lisa Sandlin's ""The Old Folks Wish Them Well."" Others by Matt Clark, Barbara Hudson, Annette Sanford and Donna Trussell stand out for their wit and craft. Perhaps the most literary offerings are by dead authors: Texas expatriate Katherine Anne Porter's ""The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"" and Donald Barthelme's ""The School,"" each familiar from many other anthologies. With its broad view of what makes a writer Texan, this collection may rankle state chauvinists; others may wish to skip the books, pleasant as they are, in favor of the cassettes. But as a continuing introduction to Texan short fiction, generously defined, the series does Cattarulla (and her home state) proud. (July) FYI: SMU is releasing the third Texas Bound audiocassette to coincide with the publication of Texas Bound Book II.