Here at the Texas Book Festival offices, we’re constantly scouring the latest and greatest books publishers have to offer to discover the most interesting new work by the most engaging authors. Our goal is to put together an unforgettable Festival for you in the Fall, but who wants to wait that long to talk about books we love? Not us. Our book love is too big.
Each month, from now until eternity (give or take), we’re going to highlight one new book we, your friendly Festival staff, recommend. It will be like Oprah’s book club, only without Oprah or a live studio audience. But you’ll have us! And books! Same deal in the end, really.
Our inaugural pick is a book about Texas culture, written by a Texas author, published by the University of Texas Press (you might notice a theme here): A Love Letter to Texas Women by Sarah Bird, bestselling author of several novels, including Above the East China Sea and The Yokota Officers Club.
This slim, giftable book with the beautiful jacket is a heartfelt rumination on the strength, humor, tenacity, courage and kindness of Texas women. It’s full of hilarious gems, such as Bird’s friends’ response to the news that she was moving to Texas in 1973:
“…they threw a farewell party and presented me with what they considered to be the essentials for my new life as a Texas woman: three cans of AquaNet hairspray; a pair of red plastic Kmart cowgirl boots; a toy six-shooter; and a Gideon’s Bible, recently purloined on my behalf.”
In addition to recounting her own experiences with Texas women, Bird celebrates many notable Lone Star ladies, including Lady Bird Johnson, Laura Bush, Molly Ivins and Ann Richards. On Laura Bush founding our own dear Texas Book Festival:
“As First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush, holder of a master’s degree in library science, proved herself to be a truly genuine and truly bipartisan lover of both books and their authors.”
As a staff comprised of Texas women, we appreciate this celebration of the unique perspective and pride of the Yellow Rose. We also really enjoyed the peek into Bird’s early years here in Austin, when she was studying to be a photojournalist and trained her camera’s eye on the patrons of the Hyde Park Beauty Salon and unofficial rodeos across the state. We also highly recommend checking out the photo on page 66 and the fine lookin’ pair of literary cowboy boots the author is sporting in a certain House chamber during a certain book-ish type festival.
Bird wonders whether or not she, herself, is a true Texas Woman, having been born outside our state’s borders. We’ll go ahead affirm it here: Texas most certainly wants you anyway, Sarah.