Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Freebie: John McPhee's "Silk Parachute"

Congratulations to Jennifer Lauture, winner of last week's Friday Freebie.  Jennifer gets to pick one of 75 Penguin paperbacks as the prize.

This week's giveaway is a new hardcover copy of John McPhee's latest collection of essays, Silk Parachute.

I've been a fan of McPhee for nearly my entire adult reading life.  I've paddled along the Yukon River with him, chipped away at the geology of Wyoming, and fished for shad in the Delaware River (when you hook one on the line, he writes in The Founding Fish, it feels "as if you are tied to a working trampoline").  In an early review, I raved about McPhee's Rising From the Plains, saying "(he) has the uncanny knack for sidling up to his subject, appearing to look at it from the corner of his eye. With a casual flick of his wrist, he turns geology into something profound."  As I said back then, "Money spent on McPhee is never wasted."

But today, you don't have to spend anything to get a copy of Silk Parachute.  All you have to do is correctly answer this question:

What state provides the setting for McPhee's 1976 masterpiece Coming Into the Country?

Email your answer to

One entry per person, please.  In order to give everyone a fair shake in the contest, please e-mail the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  The contest closes at midnight on Aug. 12, at which time I will place all the correct respondents in a hat and draw the winning name. I'll announce the winner on Aug. 13 (somebody will be having good luck on Friday the 13th).

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