Experts > Attica Locke

Attica Locke's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Attica Locke recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Attica Locke's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Liars' Club

When it was published in 1995, Mary Karr's The Liars Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, as well as bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr's comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger's—a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. Now with a new introduction that discusses her memoir's impact on her family, this unsentimental and profoundly moving... more

Adam Savage[The author's] first memoir. (Source)

Calvin TrillinIt’s one of my favourite memoirs. (Source)

Attica LockeThe book starts with Mary Karr’s recollection of her mother, this tall striking woman who seemed out of place in this small, stinky, chemical-waste town. Her husband worked in a refinery. She was an artist who dreamed of a different life but was locked down by whatever was expected of her at that time in our nation’s history and in this region. There’s a lot of rage, alcohol and guns in this... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


The Last Picture Show

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Lonesome Dove comes a powerful coming-of-age novel set in the American West. In Thalia, Texas, Larry McMurtry epitomizes small-town America and through characters reintroduced in Texasville and Duane’s Depressed, captures the ecstasy and heartbreak of adolescence.

The Last Picture Show is one of Larry McMurtry's most memorable novels, and the basis for the enormously popular movie of the same name. Set in a small, dusty, Texas town, The Last Picture Show introduced the characters of Jacy, Duane, and...
Recommended by Attica Locke, and 1 others.

Attica LockeThe Last Picture Show captures the adolescent energy that epitomised the state in the second half of the 20th century, when Texas was taking off in people’s imaginations. It takes place in 1951, on the eve of a real explosion in car culture and as the state is about to really come into its own. That reckless adolescent energy, which McMurtry wrote into the book, just speaks to the state at that... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

"What's not to enjoy about a book full of monstrous egos, unimaginable sums of money, and the punishment of greed and shortsightedness?"

Phenomenal reviews and sales greeted the hardcover publication of The Big Rich, New York Times bestselling author Bryan Burrough's spellbinding chronicle of Texas oil. Weaving together the multigenerational sagas of the industry's four wealthiest families, Burrough brings to life the men known in their day as the Big Four: Roy Cullen, H. L. Hunt, Clint Murchison, and Sid Richardson, all swaggering Texas oil tycoons who owned...
Recommended by Attica Locke, and 1 others.

Attica LockeThere’s no way to understand the culture and politics of Texas without talking about oil. It’s just not possible. The Big Rich follows four men who used to be called “The Big Four”: Roy Cullen, HL Hunt, Clint Murchison and Sid Richardson. These are the men after whom streets are named in Texas. The book starts all the way back in 1901, when oil was first discovered in Beaumont, Texas and... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


The Wake of the Wind

A dramatic and thought-provoking novel of one family's triumph in the face of the hardships and challenges of the post-Civil War South.

The Wake of the Wind, J. California Cooper's third novel, is her most penetrating look yet at the challenges that generations of African Americans have had to overcome in order to carve out a home for themselves and their families. Set in Texas in the waning years of the Civil War, the novel tells the dramatic story of a remarkable heroine, Lifee, and her husband, Mor. When Emancipation finally comes to Texas, Mor, Lifee, and the extended...
Recommended by Attica Locke, and 1 others.

Attica LockeTo my mind, J California Cooper is one of the most under-read American authors alive. Wake of the Wind is a story about living in the wake of the Civil War and emancipation, a picture of a nation and a state in transition. It’s a beautiful sweeping story about a black family trying to navigate a new landscape – a new cultural, political and physical landscape. And about how a recently emancipated... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...



Recalling the moody violence of the early novels of Cormac McCarthy and Denis Johnson, a dark and visceral debut set along the seedy wastelands of Galveston by a young writer with a hard edge to his potent literary style. On the same day that Roy Cady is diagnosed with a terminal illness, he senses that his boss, a dangerous loan-sharking bar-owner, wants him dead. Known “without affection” to members of the boss’s crew as “Big Country” on account of his long hair, beard, and cowboy boots, Roy is alert to the possibility that a routine assignment could be a deathtrap. Which it is. Yet what... more
Recommended by Ryan Holiday, Attica Locke, and 2 others.

Ryan HolidayThis a novel from the writer of True Detective (from before he was the guy from True Detective). Guess what? It's really really good. It's a dark noir story (surprise!) but it's got a great character and great lines...even a touching ending. Also, and I know this is pretty controversial, but I think the second season of True Detective was pretty damn good. (Source)

Attica LockeIt’s just a great piece of fiction, lean and literary. The book starts out in New Orleans and ends up in Galveston. Those cities, to me, share the same soul.  A lot of people don’t realise how French Galveston is – Galveston’s town centre looks very much like the French Quarter in New Orleans and there are a lot of Creole folk there. There’s symmetry between the two cities. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read Attica Locke's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.