Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nothing Holds a Candle to the Texas Panhandle

I am still reading The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl, which gets even better as I read. It's full of phrases like "the height of sloth", which I love. Since I'm still reading that and don't have more to write about it at the moment, I wanted to talk about a book I read before I started my Read Through the Centuries Project. I loved it (and think you should read it too). 

That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx.

This is not a book I would pick up on my own. The only reason I started reading it at all is that I had read most of the books on the shelves and wasn't in the mood for the others- and it was the only one left.  I'm almost positive that I didn't up pick this book and bring it home, it was most likely a free book picked up by my husband at The Book Thing in Baltimore (which is the best idea ever by the way, every city should have one of these!). I don't think I would ever look twice at this book if conditions weren't completely perfect for me to do so- conditions like having nothing else to read.


Was I wrong. I loved this book. I even used the word delicious to describe it and I don't throw that word around willy nilly when it comes to books. A book can't just be 'good' or even 'really good' to be called delicious. I have to relish reading it and not want it to end. This was one of those books. I won't do a plot summary, I don't do them well and I find them boring to write- it's easier and less painful for both of us for you to find the summary online- but briefly:

That Old Ace in the Hole is about young man named Bob Dollar who travels from Colorado to take up residence and scout for hog farm sites in the Texas panhandle town of Woolybucket. (Woolybucket!)

That doesn't sound like a book that would be called delicious, I know!  but the characters that fill the pages and the quietly witty observations made by the main character make it so. I would read 50 pages and feel that both nothing and everything had happened. Proulx did her research and beyond the plot and quirky characters, there is an obvious appreciation of an under appreciated area and the people living there. There is also a subtle environmental message I enjoyed, but mostly it's the characters.  I will definitely read this book again. There are very few books I reread, but this is one of them.


  1. Sounds pretty delicious to me! I'm adding it to my queue!