Sunday, May 15, 2016

How to Be a Texan ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Book Tour Promo*, Review, & Giveaway!

Andrea Valdez
Illustrated by Abi Daniel

Genre: Texas Customs / Social Life / Humor
Date of Publication: May 3, 2016
# of pages: 208, 58 B&W Illustrations

Scroll down for Giveaway!

There are certain things every Texan should know how to do and say, whether your Lone Star roots reach all the way back to the 1836 Republic or you were just transplanted here yesterday. Some of these may be second nature to you, but others . . . well, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to have a few handy hints if, say, branding the herd or hosting a tamalada aren’t your usual pastimes. That’s where How to Be a Texan can help.

In a friendly, lighthearted style, Andrea Valdez offers illustrated, easy-to-follow steps for dozens of authentic Texas activities and sayings. In no time, you’ll be talking like a Texan and dressing the part; hunting, fishing, and ranching; cooking your favorite Texas dishes; and dancing cumbia and two-step. You’ll learn how to take a proper bluebonnet photo and build a Día de los Muertos altar, and you’ll have a bucket list of all the places Texans should visit in their lifetime. Not only will you know how to do all these things, you’ll finish the book with a whole new appreciation for what it means to be a Texan and even more pride in saying “I’m from Texas” anywhere you wander in the world.

I love this book.

As author Andrea Valdez says in the introduction, she deliberately curates "what some might consider a Texas experience that kowtows to the clichés of our state." Yes! Yes she does! Valdez goes on to say, "just as there’s more than one way to skin a deer, there’s more than one way to be Texan." Yes! Yes there is! And that is the crux of this book.

"Becoming a Texan is a lifelong process and 
isn’t simply a matter of checking off items on a list . . ."

This reader is Texas born and has spent 42 of her 49 years in the state. Reading How to Be a Texan: The Manual gave me lots of reminders from my childhood and growing up in Texas. Valdez reminded me that even as a city girl, I have a pretty full Texan experience under my belt (and buckle that during some phases of life was indeed the size of a small dinner plate). We had family friends with ranches and dove hunting leases; Dad and some buddies bought-in on an oil pumpjack (there was a reason it was for sale --it might have pumped a half a barrel in 1972) and he had a cow (Snowball, who ended up in portions in our freezer). My sister had a horse that, like Snowball, was kept just out of city limits, and she barrel raced. I never missed the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo; I went to Billy Bob's where I wore my boots; I ate (eat) black-eyed peas on New Year's Day, and I desperately wanted Big Texas Hair and to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader (never achieved either).  The point is that despite my decidedly Texan experiences thus far, mine are just one version of what it is to be Texan.

How to Be a Texan had me nodding in agreement, laughing out loud (steer head in the fridge much?), and calling down the hall (to my Texan husband) "Hey, listen to this . . ." on numerous occasions. The section on Texas phrasology is great, and we both had heard and used all of them except the one about the weather "being drier than a popcorn fart," which may just get added in to the rotation.

There is also plenty to learn in the book. I have a new appreciation for what is involved in making tamales and will be certain to ask whether barbacoa is authentic before I order it again (and will pass if I'm told yes - ick). I passed the town pronunciation test with flying colors, (disagree with ending of Nacogdoches being 'chess, though), and would add the town of Alief (pronounced 'A-Leaf' with 'A' rhyming with bay) to the list. I didn't know that:
- there's no period in Dr Pepper,
- there is an American Society of Dowsers,
- Rattlesnakes control their venom release when they bite, or
- there are new alcohol regulations for floating on the river (no jello shots?)

Valdez has included some "further reading" recommendations at the end of each section, more than a few of which I noted for the TBR pile. In matters where there are disputing opinions, unclear origins, or evolving interpretations, Valdez is unbiased and presents all sides evenly.  That, along with her exceptionally good writing and thorough research, seal the deal on why I LOVE THIS BOOK.

The icing on the cake is the illustrations, created by Abi Daniel. The simple pencil sketches are a great enhancement to the text. I enjoyed that many of the sketches depicted females doing everything from shooting a .22 to field dressing a deer, which allowed me to live vicariously, as I have never done either.

How to Be a Texan is a whole lot of fun and my only suggestion would be that it be titled "A Manual" instead of "THE Manual" since there's no way there will ever be agreement on any one way to be a Texan.

A native Houstonian who has worked for Texas Monthly since 2006, Valdez is the editor of She has written on a wide range of subjects, including more than forty columns on activities every Texan should be able to do, which provided the inspiration for this book. She also helped Texas Monthly launch The Daily Post and TMBBQ.comFOLLOW ON TWITTER

May 3 - May 17, 2016
Congratulations to WINNERS Daria, Phyllis F., Liz D., and Dianne C. 
Check out these other great stops on the tour!

5/3       Country Girl Bookaholic          -- Promo
5/4       It's a Jenn World         -- Review
5/5       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books -- Author Interview #1
5/6       Forgotten Winds         -- Review
5/7       StoreyBook Reviews    -- Excerpt #1
5/8       All for the Love of the WordPage Preview #1
5/9       Book Chase     -- Review
5/10     Margie's Must Reads  -- Guest Post
5/11     My Book Fix Blog        -- Author Interview #2
5/12     Books and Broomsticks           -- Review
5/13     The Crazy Booksellers -- Page Preview #2                 
5/14     The Page Unbound      -- Excerpt #2  
5/15     Hall Ways Blog  -- Review        
5/16     Byers Editing Reviews & Blog -- Promo
5/17     Missus Gonzo               -- Review

   blog tour services provided by


NOTE FROM KRISTINE at HALL WAYS: With the exception of the Hall Ways Review, the content of this promo post was provided by Lone Star Book Blog Tours.  If you're a Texas blogger interested in joining the ranks of Lone Star Book Blog Tours, in support of Lone Star Literary Life newspaper, contact Kristine via the Contact Form found at the bottom of the Hall Ways blog. 

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