Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
[The post is late today because people are horrible, horrible drivers. You want road rage? Try driving over 160,000 miles in the last five years without so much as a ticket and yet always getting stuck behind you people and your stupid wrecks and rubber-necking. I'm bitter.]
Annie Proulx.... ...needing moisturizer
Close Range: Wyoming Stories is one of my favorite
collections, and I hold even more affection for it than The Shipping News (which
Proulx was awarded the Pulitzer and National Book Award). [Book nerd trivia: Close Range was a finalist for the Pulitzer.]
These stories are written with grace, precision, grittiness,
and an incredibly keen sense of place. You may sit down with this collection
with the intention of dipping in, reading just one story, but you will
continue. You will dive into "Half Skinned Steer," "Job History," then "People in
Hell," and you won’t want to put the book down. A few hours later you will be
rewarded with the final story, one of the most beautiful love stories, most
tragic stories you will ever come across: "Brokeback Mountain."
You can purchase the full collection entitled Close Range,
or you can opt for just "Brokeback Mountain," which Simon and Schuster published
to coincide with the Ang Lee film.
[I don't know how to quit Gianna.]
You know what writer never received enough love from US audiences? Beryl Bainbridge. Never heard of her? I rest my case. The Bottle Factory Outing was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Guardian Fiction Prize and it's...well, let's just say that it's my kind of book.
Inspired by the time that Bainbridge worked in a bottling factory after her divorce, The Bottle Factory Outing tells the story of Brenda and Freda, flatmates who work together at the factory. At the company picnic, Freda--the more outgoing of the two--hopes to make a love connection with her coworker Vittorio. She even had a dream about their future relationship. Brenda, on the other hand, is hoping just to avoid the company perv. The short novel takes place over the course of the afternoon of the picnic, and Freda's premonitions hold weight, but not in the way she hopes.