Cowboys Are My Weakness
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Cowboys Are My Weakness

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4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  3,042 ratings  ·  333 reviews
The common motif in these 12 agonizing and often hilarious stories is each heroine's quest for the love of a cowboy, that mythic American icon.
Audio, Abridged, 2 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by Publishing Mills (first published 1980)
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Erin
The writing here is whip-smart and I would pay a hundred dollars for the reaction I have in my gut when I read this book. Pam Houston helps me locate the memories I forget I carry: the glittering world inside a trout, the mystery and excitement of peeling a deer’s skin from its body, the satisfaction of sewing bait fish onto sturdy, sturgeon-catching hooks—my earliest arts and crafts, mostly forgotten.

I grew up plucking ducks and geese in the West with a complicated outdoorsman father who is no...more
Nicole
Oh wow. I never knew I had a deeply closeted obsession with cowboys and outdoorsmen until I read this collection of short stories. Houston's writing makes me want to trade my corolla for a horse, my books for guns, and my nerdy love interests for roguish deer hunters. Seriously. This is great stuff. Fast, smart, witty, and undeniably unique. A treasure.
Emily
This is the first book my then-boyfriend, now husband gave to me...and he turned me into a life-long Pam Houston fan. He LOANED ME One Hundred Years of Solitude first but he bought me this one...
This is probably my favorite book but everything she's written is fantastic - and while I count the days until her next book, once it's out, I SLOWLY read it...kind of like I did with John Irving when I first read World According to Garp or Widow for One Year...every page is satisfying...and although she...more
Johnny
I gave this collection to a girl once who I was trying to woo. I truly felt as though Houston had captured the "essence" of modern femininity and that by giving this young lady such a relevant and symbolic short story book, I was on my way to...well, you know. The young woman's reaction, however, was laughter and not the kind of laughter I was seeking. It was sardonic, "you thought I would like these stories??" kind of laughter. But I kind of enjoyed the stories. Houston doesn't play games with...more
Sara Foster
Before reading any of Pam Houston's books I attended her reading of Sight Hound because my roommate absolutely loved the book. Seeing Pam in real life, and hearing her book in her voice really added to my experience when I then read the book myself. I followed that up with Waltzing the Cat which I also enjoyed.

And then I found this book on my friend's shelf. It turns out that my lack of interest in short stories trumped my level of enjoyment in reading Pam Houston. The format just doesn't appea...more
Amanda Nelson
Pam Houston is a bad ass. She is a female Hemingway. Tight writing, declarative sentences, more being not said than being said. She's just REALLY GOOD AT SENTENCES.
Crystal Beran
Replace the cowboys with broody musicians and the series of protagonists, all in their late 20's, distill down into one woman who is me. I asked this book, in the margin on page 26, if it was a mirror when it said, "I saw a series of men--wild in their own way--who thought because I said I wanted security and commitment, I did. Sometimes it seems this simple: I tamed them and made them dull as fence posts..." Advice for future love interests: listen to my history, not to my words because I'll on...more
Grace
I'll admit it, I picked this up based on the title. I mean, what a great title, right? Unlike most books chosen based on title, though, this one paid off. It's a great book of short stories, mostly centered around women's relationships with men who are unsuitable for one reason or another, generally due to being one kind or another of "cowboy."

Which I realize doesn't make it sound very good. In fact, it makes it sound pretty fucking trite. But it's mostly not. Houston's female characters are str...more
Erin
After reading several raving reviews of this book, I had high hopes for it. The title made me laugh and piqued my curiosity. Its a book containing ten or so short stories about different women and their cowboys... The first short story was absolutely horrible, I didn't like the style of writing and was so annoyed by it that I almost put the book down. But I gave it a chance, and thankfully the rest of the stories were narrative and I wasn't distracted by the writing style.

In general, I couldn't...more
Erik
A friend of mine is on a quest to find the female Bukowski. And while I don't think Houston qualifies that, she certainly found the Carver of my heart. I love stories about people, not events because the most changing events occur when we don't expect them to, over a period of unforseable time. It could be a moment, it could be days, it could be the length of an illness, or a night in the snow with your dogs. Houston does a great job with this. It's a little too gender stereotypical at times and...more
Daniel Perry
The author is quite in tune with the natural world about which she writes - that of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, primarily - but I struggled with the similarity from story to story; the author never quite committed to a common protagonist, but never stopped hinting that the characters might be recurring, either. As a group, they go together thematically, but when so similar I have to wonder why the stories weren't at least arranged chronologically, to allow a narrative from one to the ne...more
Holly
This is a collection of short stories about women, relationships, independence, travel, and the outdoors. The stories are brief and interesting. Kind of on the cheezy, touch-feely side, but I tend to like that. Also, I think from the very start I just kind of liked the author,... her voice and approach and outlook, and consequently had a greater appreciation for her accounts. A quick read, and a good one to just pick up briefly or at intervals.
Tara
I truly enjoyed Houston's prose and her adventure stories, but admit that near the end of the book, they seemed to sort of all meld together into one long story. And seemed to verge on creative nonfiction. Other people obviously enjoyed this effect, however, as it was a huge bestseller. I think her best quality is in her narration--simple, yet profound.
Hollie
Jan 15, 2009 Hollie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Recommended to Hollie by: Rice Univ workshop
This book made me wish I was more outdoorsy---it's a collection short stories by Pam Houston, who heads the UC Davis creative writing program. It's not too literary where you feel like you're in over your head, just very strong women who can and cannot remove themselves from sometimes abusive sometimes boring relationships.
Allison Daily
Pam Houston knows how to write a book! She is an amazingly clear, funny, honest writer who can make you laugh as hard as she can make you cry. This book is for all of you who are looking for a fun book to read that it's own way will make you think about your own life and how you are living it!
Leesa
i'm so in love w/this book and her stories. i LOVE reading abt camping and hunting and campers and hunters and horses and cowboys and men and women in love. so i do believe this book will be in my list of favorites, indeed.
Nikki Duvall
The title says it all. I don't care whether they can construct a coherent sentence, they make we weak at the knees. This is an educated intelligent woman talking. What is there about these guys?
Deirdre
Feb 11, 2008 Deirdre rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deirdre by: Amy Hamilton & the Jackson Hole Wyoming Women!
Reading Pam Houston is like having my mind read. "How to talk to a Hunter," is funny and poignant. I enjoyed "Waltzing the Cat," better- but both 5 stars!
Holly
Pam Houston writes about Western women who are adventureous and take great risk w/ their lives, often in the name of mighty love...and this begs the question: What is too much sacrifice for love/romance? These characters lead their own Romeo and Juliet stories in their relationships, often at great physical and emotional peril.

Are these girls tough? Definitely. Do they allow themselves to be manipulated by selfish, sometimes abusive men? Yes. Ten of the 12 stories have nameless protagonists w/ s...more
Angie
Cowboys Are My Weakness is a collection of short stories by Pam Houston. This book was my weakness. Once I started, I couldn't stop thinking about it, and consequently, couldn't put it down. I fell in love with it as instantly as the narrators of the stories fell in love with all of their jerk-face boyfriends. My feeling for the book was love at first sight.

Needless to say, all my big plans to work this weekend fell through. Instead, I curled up and got intimate with the book on my couch and fi...more
Jenna
The cover of my copy of this book includes a blurb from the LA Times review: "Houston claims for women the terrain staked out by male writers from Hemingway to Richard Ford." I wouldn't go that far. Houston's protagonists are usually women for whom wild spaces are simply substitutions for good men: If they could find true love, they'd leave it in a second--with regret, but leave it they certainly would. In other words, these women have found themselves in wild, savage spaces, but only by chance-...more
Sharon
Voice in each short story is sharp and clips along with plot. I loved descriptions of outdoors except for a few false notes when mother bear beckons heroine to follow her and her cubs into wilderness. One of Houston's characters asks "Is sex ever love?" This seems to be the question behind each story, which tends to make for repetitive plot lines even if the scenery is constantly changing. And, as far as I can tell, Houston's answer is no. Go ahead and have as many lovers as you want, but they'l...more
Andrea
These compact stories are well-written, with vivid imagery and interesting explorations of attraction to wildness, whether in the form of rugged men, raging rivers, snow-camping in sub-zero temperatures, or wounded animals. I found some of the stories much more compelling than others, especially "How to Talk to a Hunter," "Selway," and "Dall." Even though those particular stories featured protagonists who are superficially dissimilar to me, in situations that I can never imagine myself toleratin...more
Leslie Mesmer
A friend recommended this book to me. Not being a fan of short stories I would not have picked it up.
That said, it's kinda hard to say I loved this book but Iam above it was ok.
The book is short stories of women who fall for diff guys. From thrill seekers, hunters, nature lovers to insecure, sneaky low-lifes. Although the book is really more about the women and their ontrospections into why they end up with the same type guys and why they are willing to settle for less than they need to be h...more
Shair
May 07, 2008 Shair rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wendy, Julie, Buckles, Gay, Jane--Smart, independent, adventurous, and caring women
Recommended to Shair by: David Stevenson
One of my creative writing professors in grad school recommended this one to me. It is, quite possibly, my favorite collection of short stories ever. I put it right up there with my beloved Raymond Carver--possibly above him--and that's saying a lot. The women in these stories are smart and adventurous. They have a lot of heart, but the writing is too "smart," if you will, too painfully real, to qualify as chick lit. I've never gone rafting in the mountains, but this book makes me feel as if I h...more
Jeffrey
Although it's been awhile since I last read this, I'm glad I picked it up again.

I know I will never figure out women completely - come to think of it - I don't think I'd ever want to. The women in my life (past and present) have always been an enigma to me and that's why they are so darn interesting. :)

While it's more of a woman's book, I enjoy how she describes her 'Cowboy' characters and more importantly what she sees in men - good and bad.

I have been a fan of Pam Houston since I first read...more
Brittany
This book hovers between three and four stars for me. I started reading it on a plane and then stopped because it seemed to be all about men who disappoint women and women who disappoint themselves. My mom told me to go back and finish it because there are some good stories in there, particularly about a dog, so I did. I enjoyed the stories near the back better than the ones in front, but I'm still a little bit relieved it's over. The sharpness of her writing, the clarity of her images, and the...more
Danna Ridge
Read this book for a class. I love all of the short stories in it. The author (she confesses the stories are mainly autobiographical) is searching for heterosexual love and fulfillment through romantic relationships with men who embody the myth of the American western cowboy--at least that is what I argued in my paper for this class. But some of the men challenge the myth of the Western cowboy, and are seen more as "modern" cowboys in a sense. Regardless of the men in the stories though, the nar...more
Jamie
If you like stories about women and their romantic entanglements with men, if cowboys are *your* weakness too, then this is the story collection for you! Houston somehow manages to expose women at their most vulnerable with a respectful clarity and tenderness in very, very few pages. I liked all the stories, but my favorite was "In My Next Life:"

"This is a love story. Although Abby and I were never lovers. That's an odd thing for me to have to say about another woman, because I've never had a wo...more
Tracy
Writing this a few months after the actual read... um, I remember overall liking it, yet there was a sort of negative, self-deprecating feel to most of the stories. Interesting though... most of them (if I remember correctly, maybe all?) had a female main character and many of the stories took place outdoors, out west, in the wild, hunting, fishing, kayaking white rapids, etc., i.e. not stereotypical female activities/settings... and, very adventurous, exciting stories. Lot about her relationshi...more
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Houston is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis. 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. She lives in Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
More about Pam Houston...
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