Village Readers

January 22: The Strange Career of William Ellis: The Texas Slave Who Became a Mexican Millionaire by Karl Jacoby
To his contemporaries in Gilded Age Manhattan, Guillermo Eliseo was a fantastically wealthy Mexican. But for all his obvious riches and his elegant appearance, Eliseo was also the possessor of a devastating secret: he was not, in fact, from Mexico at all. Rather, he had begun life as a slave named William Ellis, born on a cotton plantation in southern Texas during the waning years of King Cotton. 


March 26: Log of a Cowboy by Andy Adams
A classic fictional chronicle of life on the open trail, THE LOG OF A COWBOY has long been considered the best and most reliable account of real cowboy life ever written. In the years following the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Andy Adams left his home in the San Antonio Valley and took to the range. Here he charts his first journey as a bona fide cowboy, from south Texas to Montana along the western trail. 


May 28: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
Though born into bondage on a “miserable tobacco farm” in Little Dixie, Missouri, Cathy Williams was never allowed to consider herself a slave. Her means of deliverance is Union general Phillip Henry “Smash ‘em Up” Sheridan. At war’s end, having tasted freedom, Cathy refuses to return to servitude and makes the monumental decision to disguise herself as a man and join the Army’s legendary Buffalo Soldiers. Inspired by the stunning, true story of Private Williams.


July 23: The Glovemaker by Ann Weisgarber
In the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.


September 24: The Man Who Walked Backward: An American Dreamer’s Search for Meaning in the Great Depression by Ben Montgomery
Like most Americans at the time, Plennie Wingo was hit hard by the effects of the Great Depression. After months of struggling to feed his family on wages he earned digging ditches in the Texas sun, Plennie decided it was time to do something extraordinary -- something to resurrect the spirit of adventure and optimism he felt he'd lost. He decided to walk around the world -- backwards. With the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as a backdrop, Montgomery follows Plennie across the Atlantic through Germany, Turkey, and beyond, and details the daring physical feats, grueling hardships, comical misadventures, and hostile foreign police he encountered along the way. 


 

Previous Favorite Reads

  • The Promise by Ann Weisgarber
  • The Time It Never Rained by Elmer Kelton
  • The Promised Land by Mary Antin
  • Goodbye to a River by John Graves
  • Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden
  • Sleuthing the Alamo: Davy Crockett’s Last Stand and Other Mysteries of the Texas Revolution by James Crisp
  • Hill Country by Janice Woods Windle
  • Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz
  • Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong by James W. Loewen.
  • Revolution in Texas: How a Forgotten Rebellion and Its Bloody Suppression turned Mexicans into Americans by Ben Johnson.
  • A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
  • Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt and Sue Armitage