Monday, October 20, 2014

Texas Book Festival: Cynthia Bond and Bill Cotter

If there's one book that has lingered in my head this year, it's Ruby by Cynthia Bond. Bond is a talented writer in the vein of Toni Morrison, but she's also managed to write a harrowing novel set in my old stomping ground in Southeast Texas. Seriously, she sets Ruby in towns of several hundred people that only the locals could pinpoint on a map. And if you grew up in the Piney Woods, you know that beyond the natural beauty of the Big Thicket there's a potential for sinister acts. Ruby is about, well, Ruby, a woman who returns to East Texas after years away in New York. She's back, but she's also sleeping with all of the men in her small community and not attending church...or bathing. Ruby is a damaged woman, a haunted woman, a point of obsession for the community that created her. Parts of Ruby reminded me of Sula, one of my favorite books ever, and author Cynthia Bond has a huge literary future before her.

And then there's Bill. Bill Cotter quite possibly is the real life version of the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World." He's smart. He's funny. He's lived an unconventional life. And he's a talented writer. I worked with Bill for a couple of years at BookPeople and he was the one who kept me from going postal on occasion. Fresh out of college and uncertain of my life trajectory, Bill was an example of someone willing to live on his own terms. When he left the job I was pretty distraught (far more so than when Gianna left Random House; I never really liked her). That Bill has found success as a writer with the super cool McSweeney's Press is pretty phenomenal, his last book called The Parallel Apartments, which Texas Monthly called "Funny and profane and more than slightly unhinged." Hell yes. 

Go to this event.

Cynthia Bond and Bill Cotter will be appearing at 2 pm on Saturday, October 25, in Capitol Extension Room E1.026. 

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