The man behind the voice: meet the creator of Stories from Texas - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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The man behind the voice: meet the creator of Stories from Texas

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Posted: Sunday, July 7, 2019 10:00 pm

To many, W.F. Strong is the radio host and book author of Amazon bestseller “Stories from Texas: Some of Them Are True,” and to others, he is the communication professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with the distinctive matchless voice.

Strong, or Dr. Strong as his colleagues and students call him, has been a professor for more than 40 years. Raised in Falfurrias, Strong has traveled the world and even lived in Africa where he was teaching English before settling in the Rio Grande Valley, especially Brownsville, where he has lived for 30 years.

He currently teaches at the UTRGV and was recognized by the Texas House of Representatives for his “Stories from Texas” series at the Texas Capital in May.

An avid voracious reader himself, Strong started writing his book to survey the rich cultural heritage of Texas in a way that is truthful without diminishing the beautiful legends that made them memorable.

“I wrote stories from Texas as a love letter to Texas,” he said. “I wanted all Texans, and those who wished they were, to have a primer on what makes us special as a world-renowned culture, including our foods, our music, our literature, our humor, our tumultuous history, our styles of dress and our beautiful dialects.”

More than 20,000 copies of the book have been sold and it has been reprinted seven times. Even though he primarily made the book for Texans, the book has been sold in places such as Florida, California, New York and England.

“When I started writing the book, I wanted to seduce people into reading our great Texas literature,” Strong said. “I wanted them to read the short commentaries in my book and then maybe they’d go out and read the literature, the beautiful books, I had mentioned there.”

Strong reads at least 2 books per week and owns more than 4,000 books, ranging from Latino authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez to English classical novels such as “Jane Eyre.” He has read more than 3,500 books in his life time and his favorite Texas novel is “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry. To him, reading is one of the most important things in life and he hopes future generations take advantage of technology without forgetting the joys of holding a book and reading it from cover to cover.

“To me, reading is life itself; I hope there are libraries in heaven,” he said. “There is nothing more enjoyable than a good book and a quiet place to read it.”

He is one of the leaders of a group who are trying to bring back NPR radio station to the Rio Grande Valley. A GoFundMe page he created to recruit funds in support of bringing NPR back has received more than $8,000 as of press time. The Valley’s two NPR stations, KJJF 88.9 and KHID 88.1 went off the air May 30, after the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville won FCC approval earlier this year to sell the stations to Immaculate Heart Media Inc., a broadcaster of Catholic talk radio.

“Right now, we are the largest market in the U.S. without an NPR station and we don’t want this unfortunate situation to last long,” Strong said.

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com

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