This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
“Brokeback Mountain” from Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Annie Proulx
I must admit, this short story about two homosexual cowboys took me out of my comfort zone a bit, but isn’t that what we should be seeking out sometimes? If nothing else, it puts us in another person’s shoes and allows us a glimpse into what life might be like for them (even if that person is a fictional character). I actually listened to this on audiobook, and with any tale of forbidden love, there were moments of tenderness, frustration that the lovers’ love could not be public, and the sense that they are living a lie to the rest of the world. Some of those things would be so hard to deal with! As a heterosexual, I’ve never had to worry about persecution for my sexual orientation or felt like I had to hide my affections, and reading this book reminded me that there are a lot of people who do feel that way.
To be honest, I probably should have read more of the Wyoming Stories to see if the book fit the 50Nifty list well, but since “Brokeback Mountain” was the only one actually on the list, it’s the only one I read from the collection, and even still I’d say it’s an apt choice. The rugged countryside and the cowboy culture were specific to that region of the country, so I felt like it made sense as a choice for the 50Nifty list.