Sunday, February 19, 2012

Utopia in Texas

The effervescent Karen Valby

When I left Random House a year ago, they made me give back my American Express and my Jeep Liberty. What I took with me, however, was better: Karen Valby’s Welcome to Utopia.

Karen Valby is a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, where she was originally given the assignment to find a town in America that had not been influenced by popular culture.

She found Utopia.

We’ve written about this book several times on the blog, but now that it is available from University of Texas Press in paperback I thought we should give it another mention.
Valby’s Welcome to Utopia  has been compared to Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, Thorton Wilder’s Our Town, and the mother load… Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Augusten Burroughs also called it a “masterpiece of narrative nonfiction,” so you  know…if you like that sort of thing you may want to pick this up.

The paperback includes (in addition to the fabulous new cover) a new afterword that I asked Karen to write, and a reading guide that will keep your book group talking long into the evening. And you know the longer your book group talks, the more you get to drink. 

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