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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - A Love Letter To Texas Women



Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading.  This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of A Love Letter To Texas Women by Sarah Bird. This is a very short little book, a tribute to the women of Texas.  Sarah Bird is a local author for me and I've discussed more than one of her books at book groups.  When I heard about this book, I knew I'd need to have it.  See what you think:




Me and the Texas Woman, it was not love at first sight.  In fact, my match with her was a bit of an arranged marriage.  One with a rocky start, potholed by cultural misunderstandings and distrust.  It took decades of observation to fully appreciate the Yellow Rose in all her glories.  All her contradictions.  All her glorious contradictions.
Was she Southern?  All belles and balls?  Or was she Western?  Ready to rope and ride and shoot the head off a rattler?  You already know the answer.  You know, that like sulfur, charcoal, and bat guano, the ingredients don't really pop until they're mixed up together into gunpowder.  The Texas Woman is a hybrid with all the vigor that comes from the perfect pairing of the best of two species.  She is Southern but with the Western grit handed down by her foremothers, who could give birth during a Comanche attack, help out when it came time to turn the bulls into steers, and still end up producing more Miss USAs than any other state in the union.
     
Blurb:  

What is it that distinguishes Texas women—the famous Yellow Rose and her descendants? Is it that combination of graciousness and grit that Lady Bird Johnson displayed in beautifying highways and facing down hecklers on the campaign trail? The rapier-sharp wit that Ann Richards and Molly Ivins used to skewer the good ole boy establishment? The moral righteousness with which Barbara Jordan defended the US constitution? An unnatural fondness for Dr Pepper and queso?

In her inimitable style, Sarah Bird pays tribute to the Texas Woman in all her glory and all her contradictions. She humorously recalls her own early bewildered attempts to understand Rosa xanthina, from the big-haired, perfectly made-up ladies at the Hyde Park Beauty Salon to her intellectual, quinoa-eating roommates at Seneca House Co-op for Graduate Women. After decades of observing Texas women, Bird knows the species as few others do. A Love Letter to Texas Women is a must-have field guide for newcomers to the state and the ideal gift to tell any Rosa xanthina how special she is.

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Yes, she had me at the Dr. Pepper and queso.  Ha!  And no, I've never been in a beauty pageant or turned a bull into a steer.  However, I am a native Texan and so definitely a 'Texas Woman'.

33 comments:

  1. This sounds like it might be a fun read - though I may be at a disadvantage as I've never been to Texas

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    1. Oh you'd enjoy it anyway I suspect. LOL

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  2. Sounds like a good book. And now I'm curious about the author's other work too.

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    1. Sarah Bird is a pretty big favorite in this area. A lot of her books are set elsewhere because she comes from a military family and has lived all over the world.

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  3. I MUST read this! I'm a native Texan, too. Like you, I've never been in a beauty pageant and my closest association with livestock has been as a spectator at rodeos. But this sounds like a book I'd adore. Thanks for introducing me to this author.
    My Tuesday post features THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY.

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    1. Sandra, it's a short little book - under 100 pages. You'd like it I bet.

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  4. This sounds wonderful, and I've never even been to Texas! I have read Sarah Bird though (The Gap Year) and would happily pick up another one of her books. Enjoy, Kay :)

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    1. I read The Gap Year too, JoAnn. It definitely gives a flavor for the Austin area. Also have discussed The Yokota Officer's Club, which harks back to this author's time as a kid in a military family.

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  5. I am a big fan of TV shows and movies that are set in Texas, (like Dallas, etc.). I like how the excerpt revealed the mix of Southern and Western, as Texans would not be just one of those.

    Sounds delightful. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Yes, Dallas is something else - the TV show. That area is a bit different from my part of the state. Austin is really different from all other parts of the state. LOL

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  6. Sounds like a must read for Texas women. The only time I wend to Texas was Houston on business in August - it was horribly hot hot hot.

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    1. We went twice, once in March and the other in April and it wasn't hot. I think spring may be the glorious season down there.

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    2. Oh wow, Diane! Houston in August would be quite a challenge. So much humidity and the heat. We get a lot of humidity too, but we are further from the Gulf. Nan is right - spring is great here. My favorite season.

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  7. I'm probably odd but I wince at books like this - books or magazine articles which purport to describe any particular kinds of people. I think there may be broad strokes which are true, and maybe that's what she is trying to do with the great variety she talks about. I know a few Texas women, and you, by far, are the most like this NH woman.

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    1. Well, thanks. I understand what you're saying though and I think she's trying to have a bit of humor and also 'speak' to the idea that a lot of people pre-judge Texas and the people who live here. Of course, we all do that for people everywhere or we have a tendency to do that. I never realized quite what so many others thought about TX until we moved to Oregon. That was eye-opening. For me, Texas is just home - warts and all. LOL

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    2. As you may know, we have a young friend who has moved to Austin, and I asked her if she thinks her son will have a Texas accent. She said she doesn't know anyone in A. who is from there!

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    3. Well, I'm not a complete native - moved here when I was 12, but I think that's close. The hubby was maybe 7 or 8 when they came here. As to her son, I imagine he will have something of an accent. That's if you think we have accents. LOL

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    1. It's very short, Monica. Wouldn't take long.

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  9. I like those first two paragraphs a lot, especially the concept "of glorious contradictions." Without reading anything but what you have here, I'm going to order and send this to my nephew's wife. They were transferred, along with their three kids, to a town south of Dallas earlier this year. They are all life-long southern Californians. So far they have been both charmed and puzzled by their new surroundings. I think the book might help her. Thanks Kay.

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    1. Bet that is a bit of a culture shock, Margot, though there are a lot of former CA people in TX, especially in Central TX. It's a short book - only 80 pages or so. And I haven't read all of it yet - really just begun. I have liked other things by this author though.

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  10. Not my usual type of read, but I think I'd keep reading.

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  11. I loved Dallas-the TV show and since then I've loved reading everything set in Texas.

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    1. This is a short little non-fiction book. You might enjoy it!

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  12. A Texas friend put me onto Sarah Bird many, many years ago. Thanks for sharing this book with us.

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    1. I've liked her books that I've read so far. She's got a way with a story.

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  13. Dr Pepper and queso sound perfect to me :)

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    1. A Texas tradition. And I haven't actually had Dr. Pepper in years, but queso - that's another story. LOL

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!