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Pam Houston
Cowboys Are My Weakness

Original Airdate: July 10, 1996


About the Author

Pam Houston is the author of two collections of linked short stories: Cowboys Are My Weakness (W. W. Norton), which was the winner of the 1993 Western States Book Award and has been translated into nine languages, and Waltzing the Cat (W. W. Norton), which won the Willa Award for Contemporary Fiction.

Her stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. A collection of essays, A Little More about Me, was published by W.W. Norton in the fall of 1999.

In 2001 she completed a stage play called Tracking the Pleiades, which was produced by the Creede Repertory Theater. Houston has edited a collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry for Ecco Press called Women on Hunting and written the text for a book of photographs called Men before Ten A.M. (Beyond Words, 1996).

Her first novel, Sighthound, was published by W.W. Norton in January, 2005. Houston is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis, and she teaches at many summer writers’conferences and festivals in the US and abroad.

She has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning from time to time, doing literary essays on the wilderness, as well as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She lives in Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.


About this Book

A good man is hard to find, but a good cowboy--practically impossible. At least that's what the women in this accomplished, witty and engrossing debut short-story collection discover when they fall 10-gallon-hat-over-spurs for the kind of men who go in for roping cattle, not for romance. In "Selway", among the most gripping of these 12 tales, an intrepid young woman rafts through treacherous white water to keep up with her boyfriend, who is as untamed as the river that nearly kills them. Accompanying Boone ("a hunter of the everything-has-to-be-hard-and-painful-to-be-good variety") through the Alaskan wilderness during sheep hunting season, the unnamed narrator of "Dall" learns about male camaraderie, violence and herself. The cowboy enthusiast in the title story, listening to country music, observes, "The men in the songs were all either brutal or inexpressive. . . . The women were victims, every one." But the women featured here aren't victims: they are smart, funny and likeable. A gifted storyteller and a fine writer, Houston brings insight and an original perspective to the heavily trafficked gender divide.


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