Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Freebie: Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston

Congratulations to Fran Chennells, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, Sweet Talk, the short story collection by Stephanie Vaughn.

This week's book giveaway is Contents May Have Shifted, the new novel from Pam Houston.  I've already buzzed about Contents here at The Quivering Pen, but I still haven't had the chance to read the book.  So, I'll let Rebecca Barry step in to be our guide.  Here's how her review at the San Francisco Chronicle begins:
One of my favorite things about Pam Houston's work has always been that her characters are such romantics. I mean that in the best possible way: Even as they sleep with the wrong people, even as they understand their complicity in their own heartache, even as they are gritty and broken, they believe in love. It's just that they don't expect, or even want, to get it in the same package that everyone else does. Contents May Have Shifted, Houston's new novel, is no exception to this. Told in a series of first-person vignettes, the book revisits some of the themes Houston wrestled with in earlier works, including Cowboys Are My Weakness the conflicts that surge between men and women as they try to love each other, a woman's quest for self-knowledge and personal freedom--but its narrator is older and arguably more comfortable. Her eye on the world, while still keen, has softened, and it's becoming clear to her that some unavailable mavericks (alas!) might just be narcissists. The story follows a writing teacher and ranch owner named Pam as she survives numerous near plane crashes, travels the world (Bhutan, Laos, Turkey, Australia, Tunisia, etc.) falls in and out of love, and tries, through numerous New Age healers, to release herself from the psychic and physical damage done by an abusive father. Houston is a wonderful writer, and her graceful vignettes are by turns beautiful, slyly funny and heart-stopping.
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of Contents May Have Shifted, all you have to do is answer this question:

Which two of Houston's previous books have featured animals in the title?  (Fans of Houston will find this a ridiculously-easy question, but if you really need help with the answer, you can find it at her website.)

Email your answer to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on March 15--at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on March 16.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

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