Bookish Frog – who lives at TCU Press – answers your questions about Texas and the Southwest. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll add your name to his pad-to-pad e-mail list.
B-Frog: This is a serious question. How big is Texas? –Geography Guy
I’m glad you asked. The answer is: Texas is seriously big. The Lone Star State contains 267,339 square miles. That’s 7.4% of the total area of the United States.
Dear B-Frog: We hear that this state keeps growing. How many people currently live here? – Student
The Texas population estimate in 2011 was 25,674,681. On a side note: about 16 million cattle live here too!
Dear B-Frog: Can you talk a little about the life of Katherine Anne Porter? I think she is one of the greatest Texas authors of all time. -- Bookworm
Katherine Porter was born Callie Porter in Indian Creek, Texas, in the early 1890’s, and grew up with her grandmother, Catherine, who told stories about life during the Civil War. Her grandmother died when Porter was only 11, but her writing draws heavily from her grandmother and their poverty.
Callie had her name officially changed to Katherine in honor of her grandmother. She had no education beyond elementary school, but she started writing for newspapers in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and later wrote in Denver and New York.
A prolific children’s author and ghostwriter, Katherine eventually published her first short story in 1922. For much of her life she wrote short stories, eventually compiling an anthology for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1965.
She wrote only one novel, Ship of Fools, when she was 72, and many debate whether it exemplifies her literary prowess. Nonetheless, Porter left a mark on the literary world, and many consider her the greatest woman author from Texas.
To find out more about Texas women, read Extraordinary Texas Women published by the TCU Press.
We want to hear from you! Send your questions to email@example.com. Find the books discussed in this column at your local bookstore or call 1-800-826-8911 to order.