Review: How to Be a Texan: The Manual by Andrea Valdez

HOW TO BE A TEXAN: THE MANUAL
by
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.
 
Review
Let me begin by saying that I love these kinds of books. Tongue in cheek lifestyle manuals with fun illustrations and quirky takes on how-to’s and history are totally my bag. Daniel’s black and white illustrations are a tip off that this is book is not supposed to be the gospel truth on all things Texan. If you’re looking for historically accurate information, read a Texas history book. But if you’re like me and prefer a book that’s fast and entertaining to read (but interests you enough to research certain subjects in depth), then you can’t do any better than Valdez’s manual. She even provides bibliographical information for further reading. So considerate!
I hate to admit this, but I don’t read Texas Monthly often. I have tons of respect for anyone who is published in it (my favorite professor at UT was a regular contributor) because I know how prestigious it is. Valdez’s writing style, beautiful but not flowery, funny but not cheap, makes me want to read the magazine. And the subjects covered in this book  inspire me to read more about our great state and the people who make it so.
Although I’m that disgraceful Texan who’s lived here all her life but has never been to the rodeo (don’t worry! I will go! I promise!), I still know a thing or two about farm life, firearms, and Texan cooking. I know how to two step and Cumbia (the latter not so well), but I have yet to buy my first pair of authentic cowboy boots. This manual has opened my eyes to some lifestyle tips and historical events that I haven’t put too much thought into. Also places in Texas to visit that weren’t even on my radar. And I plan on learning more about these things and places.
I highly recommend this book, especially as a cutesy gift to give to either a new Texan or perhaps a homesick Texan. Me, I would proudly showcase this beauty as a coffee table book or put it up on the shelf next to my copy of The Jane Austen Handbook.

A native Houstonian who has worked for Texas Monthly since 2006, Valdez is the editor of texasmonthly.com. 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

 

GIVEAWAY! FOUR SIGNED COPIES!

May 3 – May 17, 2016

 

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5/11     My Book Fix Blog        — Author Interview #2
5/12     Books and Broomsticks           — Review
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5/15     Hall Ways Blog  — Review        
5/16     Byers Editing Reviews & Blog — Promo
5/17     Missus Gonzo               — Review
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