UPDATED WITH WINNER -- Little Punk on the Prairie: Win A Copy of 'Ghost Dances' by Josh Garrett-Davis
And the lucky recipient as chosen by the gods of randomness is: WERUS! A Teacher, cleaner, consoler from Portland, OR, [who] is reading '1493, A Clash of Kings, King Solomon's Mines, With Liberty and Justice For Some, The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes'.
PM me your address so I can send you your prize. Enjoy the book, and definitely come back and let us know what you think. Everyone else, go out and buy that shit!
Are you a veteran bemoaner of the lack of originality exhibited by publishing's Big Six? Looking to give your complain box a rest and read something wholly unique? Then have I got the book for you: Josh Garrett-Davis' historical punk rock plains memoir, Ghost Dances: Proving Up on the Great Plains.
Full disclosure: I used to be in a band that played/shared a drummer with Josh's band (although, I had no idea he was an Ivy-Leager, so shame on me), but that's not why I'm promoting his book. In fact, when he first offered to send me a copy, I was well wary. You want to help your friends out, but you don't want to promote crap out of obligation, either. You also want to avoid the awkwardness a less than stellar review might bring.
Luckily, Ghost Dances is great. Josh's book is interesting, insightful, and superbly researched. (A perfect example would be the chapter in which Josh juxtaposes the battle over Sue The Dinosaur's bones and his parents' own custody battle over his younger self.) It is also a tough book to encapsulate, so I'll let Josh do the honors:
I spent most of my twenties living in New York City, trying to figure out what I wanted to do, playing bass in a punk band, and writing acoustic folk-punk songs about the American West (there's still a MySpace page out there somewhere). I kept wanting to make sense of where and how I grew up: South Dakota, only child, divorced parents, left-wing dad, summers with lesbian mom in Portland, Oregon, etc. By writing some journalism about the Great Plains, reading history books and novels, and going back to visit, I gradually began to assemble a personal mythology of the Plains region as it is and as I wanted it to be. (I was quite taken with the ways the indie band Calexico had re-imagined the Southwest borderlands in a similar way.) The more I delved into the Plains, the more I realized I had to tell my own story as well, to show why all these pieces might fit together. So that's how I wound up with a book that's part memoir, part journalism, part history, and part essay—which I hope all adds up to a strange but interesting picture of an important and huge swath of the North American continent and the people who live(d) there. Among those people were me and my weird family.
Has your interest been sufficiently piqued? Sound off in the comments for a chance to win a copy. I'll pick one person at random to be the lucky recipient of a nice, shiny hardback. Winner announced Monday, September 17th.
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