Reading Recommendations: River of Contrasts, The Texas Colorado, Margie CrispWriter and artist Margie Crisp has traveled the length of Texas' Colorado River, which rises in Dawson County, south of Lubbock, and flows 860 miles southeast across the state to its mouth on the Gulf of Mexico at Matagorda Bay. Echoing the truth of Heraclitus' ancient dictum, the river's character changes dramatically from its headwaters on the high plains to its meandering presence on the coastal prairie. The Colorado is the longest river with both its source and its mouth in Texas; and its water, from beginning to end, provides for the state's agricultural, municipal, and recreational needs.As Crisp notes, the Colorado River is perhaps most frequently associated with its middle reaches in the Hill Country, where it has been dammed to create the six reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes. Following Crisp as she explores the river, sometimes with her fisherman husband, readers meet the river's denizens, animal, plant and human, and learn something about the natural history, the politics, and those who influence the fate of the river and the water it carries.Those who live intimately with the natural landscape, inevitably formulate emotional responses to their surroundings, and people living on or near the Colorado River are no exception. Indeed, Crisp states in the book's preface, "Along the banks of the Colorado, people welcomed me (some here in our own area), shared their stories, their passions, regrets, and concerns." Crisps' own loving tribute to the river and its inhabitants is enhanced by the exquisite hand-colored prints she has created for this book. Her photographs and maps round out the useful and beautiful accomplishments to this thoughtful portrait to one of Texas' most beloved rivers. This book will have wide appeal to anyone who lives, plays, floats, boats, fishes, birds, hikes, or jogs along the Colorado River, and indeed for those who care about rivers, water, natural history or regional art in Texas.And Tumbleweeds, a novel, Leila MeachumRecently orphaned, eleven year old Cathy Benson feels she has been dropped into a cultural and intellectual wasteland when she is forced to move from her academically privileged life in California, to the small town of Kersey. Here in the Texas Panhandle, where the sport of football reigns supreme, she is quickly taken under the unlikely wings of up-and-coming gridiron stars and classmates John Caldwell and Trey Don Hall. Like herself, they are orphans, with whom she forms a friendship and an eventual love triangle that will determine the course of the rest of their lives.Taking the three friends through their growing-up years until their high school graduations, when several tragic events uproot and break them apart, the novel expands to follow their careers and futures until they reunite in Kersey at forty years of age. Told with all of Meachums' signature drama and unforgettable characters, the plot twists. Tumbleweeds will have readers turning the pages, desperate to discover how it all plays out. And, one other book I'd like to mention, The Amateur, Barack Obama in the White House, Edward KleinA reporter's book, buttressed by nearly 200 interviews, many with the insiders who knew Obama best. The most important political book of the year.See you at Rylander!