Some of My Favorite Books

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx

I love reading Annie Proulx's novels, but this memoir, not so much. Bird Cloud. It's the name of the book and the ranch she built. First she bought some land in Wyoming. The day she first saw the land, there was a cloud in the sky shaped like a bird. The book details her travails of building her "dream house" on the land, a section south of I-80 in Wyoming. This memoir was interesting, in some places interesting like reading an instruction manual is interesting--you know you're learning something as you go but how long will you retain it or care to remember it? Some of it not that long for me.

Maybe the reason I couldn't get into Bird Cloud was because while I read her book, I was also reading/copy editing a science book, and her memoir read a lot like a science book in places. She talked about the Wyoming wind, the soil, Falling Cow (a cliff, named as a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright, where a cow met his demise), snow, blowing snow, the wind, snow drifts from the wind, being snowed in, the short, dark days of a Wyoming winter, the general pain in the ass-ness of the place at times.

And the birds. I like birds just fine, as long as they're outside (long story). But she adores them. She watches them and studies them. She takes notes about the birds' habits, their nests, what they eat, when they come and go, and it all just got to be a little much. Like I said, if my days hadn't been spent reading this science book, I probably would have cottoned to snuggling up to this book each night a little more.

If you've read any of Annie Proulx's novels, you'll know she's a talented storyteller and writer. I love The Shipping News and That Old Ace in the Hole. She also wrote the short story, Brokeback Mountain, that the movie was based on. I wonder if she just needed the cash and wrote this book to recoup some of the money from "Annie's Folly," what I read online that her house is called. Turns out the house didn't meet her expectations. It's not livable in the winter since the drive gets snowed in from the constant blowing snow. She now winters in Santa Fe and returns to Bird Cloud when the weather improves, about March each year. I think the place is for sale, if anyone has a few million sitting around and needs a summer place.

Book Read:  Bird Cloud
Author:  Annie Proulx
ISBN:  978-0-7432-8880-4

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